Much has happened. The Bairds came and have now gone. They got their house cleaned to a point they were happy to move in. So the house population is back down to 4 (6 if you include pets). We were able to have a little get away with some friends we made (Liz, Lewis, Joel, and Holly, all from an NGO called Food for the Hungry). Bonnie, Liz, Lewis and I wanted to go kayaking on Friday, but it didn't work out. So instead, we went to Holly’s house and ate dinner. We had Fajitas, THEY WERE GREAT. Then we went back to the FH house and stayed the night. Joel and I woke up early (4 am!) and watched Kentucky beat Ohio State… totally worth it.
Through Holly we have been put in contact with a guy named Soso Benga, which we haven't been able to get a hold of yet. Soso (not to be confused with Sopo the Choir Director) works with youth here in Bukavu , the first we have heard of. So we are currently trying to hook up with him to see his ministry and possibly jump in with him.
I have seen many places here that would be absolutely fantastic for starting a youth center. It would serve as a place for kids to get discipled, tutored, mentored, play games, hang out, and be a positive alternative to other activities that run rampant here. I talked to Ed and Brenda (keep in mind I am thinking pretty big here) and they said that you could have a youth center up and running in under a year easy here. It would be great for this type of ministry to exist here and be self-supporting, but that would be very difficult, and I would estimate that would take at least another 2 years if at all possible. I am just thinking big and being creative. I am not committing to anything, but just seeing how we might serve God here in the future. It is exciting, daunting, and perplexing to think of the opportunity.
Many take Luke 1:37, “For nothing is impossible with God,” to give them courage and hope in situation. With my long ago promise not to go to Bible College, or my declaration that I would never do foreign missions, I take that verse to mean “Be ready for whatever God has for you, cause it can be anything.”
Been working on playing more soccer with people around, and got a little play time in today, but I will be going back to practice with a local team tomorrow at 4. Hopefully I will learn some African tricks to add to the books. Bonnie has been making leaps and bounds in different areas (trying new things and doing stuff she hasn’t/wouldn’t do before) and loving all of it. She has also been tearin' it up working on helping the Baird’s move in. So much so that she got sick. With the many misquote bites and the wrong medicine we were using for a while all the symptoms were leaning towards Malaria, but be at peace, she doesn’t have it and she is now well. She is done being cooped up and ready to hit the ground running.
Free time here in Africa is spent reading (Bonnie by book, me by audio book), sitting on the outer wall talking to passersby, Mensa sudoku, and working on Paintball skills. As you might know that last one is mostly for me, though Bonnie is a big help as a target many times. As you can see from the picture above, I have fabricated not only digeridoos out of bamboo, but also a paintball marker (a DRC Tac-1, if you will). Working on these skills (MOSTLY in the house) helps me to be ready for the season that awaits when we get home. We have also been running a bit, which at this altitude is saying a little bit.
God has been answering prayers like CRAZY over here. One of the local church leaders has a prison ministry. If it were not for the horrible disease ravaging (and killing) many of the prisoners here we would have been able to go and witness the baptism of 15+ inmates. It is very exciting. It isn’t just a “while in prison commitment” either, one of the guys got out before the baptism was scheduled, and he contacted us to get baptized. It is just awesome. We were able to cover all the expenses for the baptism service (buying water and everything) by the grace of God and his provision.
Yes, God has been answering prayers like CRAZY over here, serious. Though we are distant from family and friends, our prayers have been going out to many in different situations. And God is really working people, it is awesome to see. It is one thing to know and believe, and it is another to hear of it and see it. Praise the Living God who still joins in work with his people. It is tight, I must say.
Though it isn't a requirement from NCC as part of our internship, ACM International internship guidelines states that interns need to spend one full week in a bonding experience. What does that mean? Well, it means we will be spending a week living with a non-English speaking African family in their house. Bonnie is nervous about it but I am pretty pumped. We were working on doing it out at Chanapanzi (the place we had the really good food that is like 1.25 hours away). Lots of prayer was happening for this because of the possible danger. The church leaders were excited to have our interest and happy to say yes to our coming. But before they could tell us yes, there was a shooting in the area (close enough for them to hear) and so that destination was out. Though this is a blow to my desire and heart, I know God has something awesome in store and we are looking at the place where we went to the medical clinic, Mudaka. We will keep you updated.
This week and next will likely prove to be pretty busy and hectic for the Congo Clinch Clan. Please keep your prayers coming people (thoughts don’t help, so just turn that thought to a petition to God for us, lol) it is truly a blessing. We love you and hope that we hear from you soon.
A soldier for Thee, God,
P.S. I am sure many of you have been praying that God would teach us and guide us (Ray, Matt and some other friends will surely have been praying for this specific lesson for a while). Well God has taught me something. So there I am, just walked outside and started to clean up some of my bamboo shavings. The day was a bit overcast but still bright, no rain, just overcast. As I am cleaning up my leftovers, an ant carrying something catches my eye. I glance over at it for less than a second and for some reason it lights up. Quickly I thought, why in the world would an ant be lighting up like that? I didn’t even finish the thought when “CRACK!” One of the loudest noises I have ever heard drove me to be at the door of the house in under a second, with a bit of warning yelling. Come to find out that God was teaching me a lesson. Lightning had stuck about 2 blocks away and when I came back outside I could see the small amount of smoke from the strike drifting away in the slight breeze. What lesson did God teach me? “You scare people a lot Taylor, but let me tell you something, I AM BETTER!”