Christmas Stories and New Year Goals–January 2016

1         Christmas in Kikimi

A couple days before Christmas, we made our way to Kikimi and spent two days and two nights there, camping out in the library. The condition of the road was such that even a 4x4 could not make it all the way, so we had to walk the last 10 km. We carried a minimum with us (air mattress and mosquito net) and were thankful that the weather was not too hot. 

On the way to Kikimi

On the way to Kikimi

We couldn’t help but muse about Joseph and Mary who walked over 100 km from Nazareth to Bethlehem, and the true story about an African disciple who had brought as a present to the missionary a beautiful seashell which could only be found hundreds of miles away and said, “Long walk, part of gift”. Well, we didn’t have to walk that far, but still considered it part of our gift to Jesus this year for Christmas.

Spending a few days there gave us the opportunity to get a better feel of how things are running, appreciate Theo and Florence’s dedication, and interact more with the kids, teachers, patients and helpers.

On the first day, which marked the last day of school before the Christmas holidays, a soccer game between the boys and the girls was organized in the afternoon to inaugurate the newly built soccer goal posts, and the brand-new ball we had brought from France. It was loads of fun (we played the part of the cheerleaders).

The girls' team

The girls' team

The boys' team

The boys' team

The game

The game

Doing activities with the orphaned kids on Christmas Eve was also great fun, using the freshly translated STEPS Program (PAS à PAS in French). They really liked the Christmas crossword puzzle that even taught them some new words. We watched the Christmas Joy Kiddie Viddie and gave each one the matching coloring book and a box of crayons, coached them into performing the nativity skit for everyone, and served them a nice meal prepared by some of the thankful mommies who had delivered their babies a few months ago at our maternity and often come back to volunteer their help to show their gratitude.

Crossword puzzle from the STEPS Program

Crossword puzzle from the STEPS Program

Christmas video

Christmas video

Coloring activity with the orphaned children

Coloring activity with the orphaned children

Fatu coloring

Fatu coloring

Coloring activity

Coloring activity

Rehearsing Christmas play

Rehearsing Christmas play

The wise men

The wise men

Little shepherd praying of his own initiative when coming to see baby Jesus

Little shepherd praying of his own initiative when coming to see baby Jesus

Thankful mommies help to prepare the food for the orphans.

Thankful mommies help to prepare the food for the orphans.

Floorence making sure the kids wash their hands before they eat.

Floorence making sure the kids wash their hands before they eat.

Clotilde and Florence serve out the food

Clotilde and Florence serve out the food

Bon appetit!

Bon appetit!

All the villagers got invited to watch the Jesus movie on Christmas Eve. We ended up having to do two showings in a row, as people kept coming throughout the first showing and didn’t want to miss anything! (We are so thankful for the solar panels!)

Showing Jesus movie to the villagers on Christmas Eve.

Showing Jesus movie to the villagers on Christmas Eve.

2         Medical Care

During our visit, we were able to see with our own eyes how popular our little Medical Center has become, and how urgent it is to build the second storey and have a larger ward with more beds to serve the growing number of patients. Because of the state of the roads, the Toyota RAV we purchased last year can no longer be used to transport emergency patients to the city hospital. So the District Health Department has assigned us a doctor to perform needed surgery right there in Kikimi, even though we are not set up for it. Building a second storey would give us the needed surgery room.

3         Middle School

As mentioned earlier, at the end of the last school year, all of our 6 graders passed their final exam and received their certificate for having completed Elementary Education. When September came around, even though we only have a Primary School, these same students came to enroll. We were faced with a dilemma: refusing them meant the end of their education, because the tuitions fees of the only Middle School in the vicinity are way beyond what these children (or we) can afford. It was then decided to share the tailoring classroom with them, with the girls studying tailoring in the morning and the 7th graders studying in the afternoon. This turn of events has created a new unexpected emergency: the building a Middle School.

4        Another Christmas Highlight: Devotional Booklets and Activated Magazines

As you already know, in response to all your prayers, the Lord did the impossible and all the devotional booklets that were stuck in Uganda made it to Kinshasa. Distributing them has been another highlight of our Christmas. Besides keeping a stock for ourselves to personally give out to potential people, we gave a stock to each of our 12 Foundation Stones teachers who will be giving them to their Bible students. Patrick, who recently got appointed as a medical doctor to another province, took a supply with him.

Devotional booklets to our Bible students

Devotional booklets to our Bible students

Patrick preparing to take booklets to Bas Congo

Patrick preparing to take booklets to Bas Congo

Theo getting his stock for Kikimi

Theo getting his stock for Kikimi

 The Scripture Union (who is helping us to receive and store our Bibles and Activated magazines) has added the Activated mags to the thousands of mailings they send to all the provinces of the DRCongo, as well as Centre Afrique. It’s wonderful to keep spreading the Word far and wide, in places we cannot reach ourselves!

5         Candlelight

On the Sunday between Christmas and New Year, we held an inspiring Candlelight (combined with Christmas celebration) with as many of our Bible students who could make it. About 50 of them came. Cedric chose a beautiful article on Christmas which he read to everyone. Gerse’s team from Massina had formed a little choir and led the singing. It was really moving to hear each one’s praise and prayer request for the New Year, we were impressed by their sincerity and love for Jesus, their desire to grow in faith and their commitment to keep witnessing. We also found it interesting that many of the verses claimed were from Psalm 119.

Candlelight Service

Candlelight Service

Cedric reading Christmas article

Cedric reading Christmas article

Massina Bible students formed a little choir

Massina Bible students formed a little choir

Praise and worship

Praise and worship

Olivier and daughter Marie

Olivier and daughter Marie

Anna, Theo and Florence's daughter

Anna, Theo and Florence's daughter

The girls helped prepare a snack for everyone

The girls helped prepare a snack for everyone

Olivier with some of his Bible students from the university of Kinshasa.

Olivier with some of his Bible students from the university of Kinshasa.

6         Goals for 2016 and Prayers Requests

We are so thankful for the Lord’s supply to keep things running. Each step of progress has been such a miracle and we are so grateful to you as well for your encouragement, support and prayers.

Besides the normal running of things for 2016, we would like to ask for prayer for a number of unexpected pressing needs which are going to require much greater faith from our part.

--Building of a Middle School.

--Building of a second storey to the Medical Center.

--Supply of a proper 4x4 ambulance (Toyota Land Cruiser).

--Upgrading of our own jeep.

--Finalization of the French version of the STEPS Program.

 

“The New Year is set before us like an unwritten volume, all of its pages blank. Let us write upon each day's page things that at the end of the year we will look upon with rejoicing rather than regret.” — Mottos for Success

 

 

 

 

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