Thursday, October 22, 2009

Back Home but the Journey is Just Beginning

It's been a pretty exciting couple of weeks for Kip and I and here we are back in Round Rock, safe and sound thanks to the prayers of all our friends and the hospitality of Paul and Marty Law. They are incredible people. Have I said that lately? And let's not forget David and LaVeta Law and Dean Jordan who took good care of us while we were in or in transit around Kinshasa. These folks, and Pastor Leon, and Pastor Kitambala, Shaku, Mama Umba, and many others extended a very warm and gracious welcome and took very good care of a couple of wide eyed Texans in a foreign land.

It's all still processing and will be for a while. Who knows, maybe by November 20 we will be able to eloquently express the experience we have had. In the meantime, here is the mile high view:

Kinshasa..... stay tuned, I'm still working on that.

The airports at Kinshasa, Lodja, and Chumbe.... Oh my goodness.

The Diengenga Mission Station at Lodja. I have high hopes.

The work on the dam and hydram system is well on it's way. People are working and by this time next year, provided we raise the remaining funds to complete the project, women and children will no longer have to carry water up a very steep hill on trecherous paths and almost a mile to the village.

This project is providing employment for many of the men in the village. Here are few along with their families that are benefiting from the generous gifts so far. They got all dressed up to get their pictures taken.

On Monday we took a road trip to Katako Kombe. A short 6 1/2 hour drive of 160 kilometers. There is a dam there, built by David Law many years ago. It stands strong but the unrest and other political problems prohibited the completion of the project of installation of the pipe and pumps. Here is a picture of the pond that was created by the dam. The Lodja project will have similarly constructed dam and pond when completed.

After Katako Kombe, we were off on another short 7 hour drive of about 170 kilometers to Wembo Nyama. Wembo Nyama is a special place. This is where missionaries set down in 1914 and established the beginning of bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to the people of the Congo. This is a very large mission station and village that, in spite of a well intentioned attempt many years ago, has never had substantial water. To the South, a very wide valley and the convergence of the river, to the West a a branch of the river, and to the East, a spring that trickles from the mountain, enough to build ponds to capture a few small fish but nowhere near what will be required to produce enough water to sustain the village.
It is a very complicated problem for the mission station that has no electricity or running water but has a hospital, schools, and trying to build a university.

But life goes on, as difficult as it is
Kip and I received a very warm welcome everywhere we went. The hopes of these people to deliver water to the village is clearly beyond the resources they have. We met with village and church leaders and spent time with the Bishop. It is clear that they are willing to participate in the solution.

In our meeting with the District Superintendent, he cited an Otetela proverb that said,

"a man will never starve where there is running water"

True that.

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