Tozongaki na Congo! (We’ve returned to Congo!)

On July 30th we flew by small mission plane from Cameroon to Congo.  We were received warmly by our Church people and our missionary colleagues:  Pete and Cindy Ekstrand and Keith Gustafson.  Ekstrands returned to Congo in April, worked hard to get enough of their new house ready to move into, then spent part of June and July Stateside.  They and Keith got back to Congo a couple weeks before we arrived and had been wonderfully encouraging the workers to get more done on our new house.
Keith stayed on in Congo a couple more weeks helping us all in many ways.  We really benefit from his insights gained through all his work with the Congo Covenant Church before and after the war.
So for the last 3 weeks we’ve been living in 2 rooms of the Church’s Guest House and eating our meals at Ekstrands’.  Our ‘fare’ is mostly African dishes nicely prepared by Zefanu, the Ekstrands’ Cook.  Each day Zefanu passes through the main open market on his way to work and he purchases either beef, goat, or a chicken to feed us.  He buys spinach, manioc leaves, or okra for our vegetable and we have rice or ‘mabenge’, the African version of sweet potato with it.  We’ve also enjoyed the fresh sweet pineapples, papaya, and a couple varieties of bananas.
We are blessed to be able to get nice bread about 3 times a week so we usually have sandwiches in the evenings with locally made peanut butter and honey.  Jam has to be ‘imported’ from Kinshasa or Bangui, C.A.R. for about $3 for a small jar.
The big ‘treats’ since we got here have been cheese brought over from Bangui (a small amount since we don’t have refrigerators yet to keep it) and tuna that Ekstrands’ brought from the U.S.
Our weight and space was limited on the small mission plane so we left most of our stuff in Yaounde, Cameroon waiting (hoping) for passengers East of Yaounde to arrange a ‘back flight’ West.  Then we would only have to ‘rent’ the flight to bring our freight this way.
Work progresses on our house, yeah!  (You can see a picture of it on the Covenant Newswire Website.)  It is made of adobe burnt brick and cement with a tin roof.  Rainy season has made hauling lumber from the forest difficult and locating cement has also been a challenge.  We plan to move in as soon as the bathroom and main bedroom are finished and the bedroom and outer doors have been installed.  Tim is optimistic that we’ll be able to move in by early September.
It has been really good to connect with old friends and to make new acquaintances here too.  Our Lingala is coming back better each day with less and less Spanish words creeping in (smile).  Besides getting to know the many Church leaders who live in this neighborhood, there have been lots of visits from high school, university, and seminary students.  They have all had a hard time paying their school fees this past year.  They cannot take their finals and receive credit for the past year’s studies without completing their school debt and so they ask us to consider helping them. They are very grateful for even a little financial help and for the time we spend talking and praying with them.
The Church has asked Tim be a counselor to the Director of Christian Education and Helen be a counselor to the Director of Primary and Secondary Education.  These departments have newly appointed directors and we look forward to getting to know them and to working alongside them.
Thank you to ALL of you for partnering with us in this new phase of ministry in Congo!  Your support in praying and giving has moved us along and we thank God for you and for answered prayer.

~Spiritual nurturing and growth for Margarita, Teresa, and Maribel in Eq. Guinea
~Healing for Rev. Mbalamoto, the Director of Chr. Education for the Congo Covenant Church (C.E.U.M).  He has been sick with malaria and typhoid.  His family in Kinshasa will fly him there this weekend so they can take care of him.
~God’s provision for:
– godly, healthy relationships with our missionary and Church colleagues
– unconditional love and patience for all whom the Lord brings our way daily
– open hearts and minds to all He wants to teach us in the 3 year term ahead
– so many students who are lacking school funding; for us to know whom and how to help
– more funding and availability of materials to finish the missionary houses and cover other set up costs
– a freight flight from Cameroon, safe and speedy boat delivery of the new truck from Kinshasa, and boat freight from the U.S.

Please enjoy Tim’s “Tales from Africa” (mini-video stories)
Thank you for taking time to read this lengthy update.
There is no reliable regular mail system to Congo.  Cards and letters, as well as support, personal gifts, a donations to FOWM Appeal #191: “Return to the Democratic Republic of Congo” go to:  Dept. of World Mission, 5101 N.
Francisco, Chicago, IL  60625.
Our wonderful staff at HQ will see that it gets to us.
Bolingo MINGI (Much love)~Tim and Helen Smith

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Report This Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *