Posts tagged Democratic Republic of Congo
Jeff and Christi Boyd - September 2017 Update

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.

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John and Gwenda Fletcher - April 2017 Update

When we first met Idriss, he was 12 years old. He came to our house seeking medical treatment for his friend Jean, who had a sore leg. The two boys had formed a bond when they met at a center for homeless children a few years earlier. Jean was diagnosed with osteomyelitis (an infection of the bone) and admitted to Good Shepherd Hospital where over the next several months of treatment, he slowly recovered. Throughout Jean’s hospitalization, Idriss slept on the floor beside him, brought him food, helped him get to the bathroom, cajoled him into taking his meds, entertained him, and otherwise played the role of patient guardian. That was quite a responsibility for a 12-year-old, but Idriss had grown up fast in the year since his mother died and he was left on his own.

Idriss was born with albinism (a congenital disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes), and his father had abandoned him and his mother shortly after he was born. In Congo, people with albinism are said to be “people without a race” and they are widely discriminated against and ostracized. The biggest medical threat here to people with albinism is skin cancer. 

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Bob and Kristi Rice - February 2017 Update

Some will know that Kristi and I have been in a “holding pattern” for several weeks, waiting word regarding our future and whether we can return to our home and ministry in Congo. The day after Thanksgiving, we received a text message that changed the trajectory of our current life situation and altered the plans made and later confirmed when we left Congo in early 2016. A few days after receiving the fateful text message, a Skype call confirmed this reality. We are not returning to Congo this month as planned. In short, due to the continued political trials faced by the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, coupled with an ongoing church conflict which has lasted four years and longer, our mission leaders have been advised by our partner church, the Congolese Presbyterian Community, that Kristi and I and another colleague should not return to Congo until a more favorable time. When that “favorable time” pokes its head from the clouds of the current political and ecclesiastical impasse remains anyone’s guess. 

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Bob and Kristi Rice (PCUSA) - August 2016 Update

Warm greetings from Bloomington, Illinois! It has been a blessing to be back in the States and to enjoy time with family and friends, and to even witness and experience the changing of the seasons (Bob was taught how to use a snow blower!). This year we are in the United States for our Interpretation Assignment and several months of personal leave. During this time we hope to have a short respite but also make meaningful connections with supporting churches and individuals, helping to interpret the work of the church in Congo so that American Christians feel connected to our sisters and brothers in that part of the world.

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Dr. John and Gwenda Fletcher (PCUSA) - September 2014 Update

Dear Friends,

Orphaned at age 12, Isuku Isuku (nicknamed Socrate) has experienced some tough times in his short life in the far west of Congo. Compared to many other orphaned Congolese children, however, he was fortunate in that a local woman, Mama Micheline Kakene Kikar, agreed to be a foster mother to him and two of his siblings.

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Bob and Kristi Rice (Project DITEKEMENA) - June 2014 Update

Today was the grand opening of the Ditekemena program, an initiative of the Congolese Presbyterian Church (CPC) to address the challenges faced by families as they care for their children. The program intends to rescue 20 children from the streets of Kananga and place them back into their families of origin or find homes that will welcome them. 

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John and Gwenda Fletcher - July 2013 Update

Dear Friends,

With a wavering voice and shaking hands, Kapinga haltingly asked me for the money to pay her secondary school tuition and fees. She was due to begin 11th grade, but her family had experienced a difficult year and there were no funds to pay for her schooling. While the story of hardship leading to lack of money for school fees is a familiar one, Kapinga’s situation was unusual.

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John and Gwenda Fletcher - April 2013 Update

Dear Friends,

Almost everyone has either broken a bone or knows someone who has experienced a broken bone. There are also certain particularly unfortunate individuals (Evel Knievel comes to mind) who have broken many bones, many times.  Motorcycles have become a primary form of transportation in the Congo. One thing that is not much different between the U.S. and DR Congo is that if you crash a motorcycle you will likely get some broken bones! Improperly treated fractures can lead to serious handicaps which may impair a person’s ability to earn a living. In the United States expert medical care is readily available, and even serious fractures can be properly and promptly treated. As you might imagine, things are slightly different in the DR Congo.

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