Jeff and Christi Boyd - September 2017 Update

Dem. Rep. of Congo

Building awareness of God’s mission starts at a young age. At a Vacation Bible School in Elko, Nevada, Jeff leads a game in which children follow the paths of students seeking to get an education in Africa. After struggling with ups and downs, including setbacks due to gender bias, two VBS children express disappointment as their path to finish the game and “enter university” is blocked.

Building awareness of God’s mission starts at a young age. At a Vacation Bible School in Elko, Nevada, Jeff leads a game in which children follow the paths of students seeking to get an education in Africa. After struggling with ups and downs, including setbacks due to gender bias, two VBS children express disappointment as their path to finish the game and “enter university” is blocked.

Dear friends,

Aisifuye mvua imemnyea.
One who praises rain has been rained upon.

In much of Africa, where a large portion of the population depends on agriculture for survival, rain is strongly felt as a blessing. Therefore, the Swahili proverb above means that those who count their blessings are able to do so because they have experienced blessings.

We have been rained upon. We are blessed, and this letter is meant to express our thanks to all who in various ways engage in God’s mission with us.

Every three or four years, we leave our area of service to spend half a year visiting congregations in the U.S. to give witness to how God has been at work through the global church. That is what we have been doing for the last couple of months, and we will continue to do so until November. While in the U.S., we are sharing about the work of the Church in Africa. We share about how ministries with vulnerable children help them heal from the trauma of armed conflict. We tell of families finding one another again after abandonment. We describe how education reaches about 220,000 children each year through the nearly 1,000 Presbyterian schools in the Congo. And we explain the instability congregations in the Greater Kasai region encounter because of intensive militia activity in their area.

As we visit churches and describe how Africans are sharing the love of Christ in word and deed, we also see the work of congregations across the U.S.: ministries of hospitality, friendship and support to refugees, many from Africa. These ministries include English and driving instruction; community evangelistic outreach programs such as a week-long summer music camp bringing together children from diverse backgrounds who create a beautiful blend of voices and smiles; and initiatives with vulnerable children such as mentors accompanying at-risk boys from kindergarten through their middle school years. We’ve seen several churches sharing space with immigrant communities that long to worship in a familiar language. In turn, these communities give back to their hosts through their spiritual gifts. We are grateful that through our visits our eyes are opened to how God is at work stateside in communities to which the church ministers.

We are rained upon by the blessings of graciousness from church members who care for us and make special efforts to meet our needs as we itinerate in the U.S. We are grateful for the dedicated women and men who ensure our housing as they maintain the Furlough Home situated on the beautiful campus of the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary that is bordered by an equally delightful park. A block of four fully furnished apartments available to Presbyterian mission co-workers, the Furlough Home has felt like home to us ever since 1998, when we evacuated from Congo. It is now the place to which we return with just our suitcases each time we are back in the U.S. for an extended period.

Transportation is another logistical challenge for mission co-workers when they are on interpretation assignment. This year, that problem was taken care of by a Presbyterian church member who owns a car dealership and graciously made available a reliable, beautiful and comfortable car for our use. While technically we have the car on a lease with extraordinarily generous conditions, we are effectively borrowing it. Such a gift it is to have a reliable source of transportation with which to visit churches.

Numerous people have provided a place for us to sleep one, two or three nights as we pass through. They have welcomed us to their tables. While looking out the windows of our hosts, we’ve been blessed to watch a ground hog meander through a garden, a doe with two of the smallest fawns grazing, foraging turkeys, skittish rabbits and many, many squirrels. In past years, when we itinerated as a family, our children were offered participation in presbytery camps, taken on fishing trips and given the thrill of waterskiing and tubing. Thank you to all for these ministries, in-kind support and gestures of hospitality while we are stateside!

We ask that you join us in prayer:
• for wisdom and courage as the Presbyterian Community of Kinshasa considers structural changes
• for politicians and ruling powers in the Congo to fulfill the aspirations of the population for peaceful and fair elections
• for the Cameroonian government to justly address the civil unrest that is wreaking havoc on the economy and lives in the English-speaking provinces, a population that increasingly feels marginalized in the country’s education and legal systems

By the beginning of next year, we hope to be back in Kinshasa continuing our regular work in and from Africa.

Peace be with you,

Jeff and Christi

Read more about the Boyd's ministry by clicking HERE.

THE NEED
Outreach is seeking $10,000 for support funds for Jeff and Christi Boyd.