Ministry, Newsletters, Travels

Africa 2013 – trip report

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The first three weeks I have spent in DR Congo, after flying into the country from Uganda by a MAF Cessna plane. The first place was Bunia, where I preached during morning meetings and spend a few hours every evening for specific training of intercessors. I really believe that praying churches are the only thing that still keep Congo together in all the wars and corruption. Once some men on a motorbike tried to steal my bag at night, but they failed. We fell with our motorbike, but had hardly any scratches. Apart from that minor incident everything has gone very well.

IMG_0388-001IMG_0279-001I travelled with Don Foster, missionary among the Pygmees, from Bunia to various other places, to finish in Beni. We put an old boat in a river to reach more villages, bought beans and corn seed for Pygmee villages to plant and learn how to do agriculture; got involved in fights over lies and accusations with a chief and various people that said they were helping Don; looked at different projects, shared in churches etc. The weather was very well-suited for travelling and we didn’t even get one flat tire – thank you for your prayers! Because of rebel groups occupying parts of the road I took a flight from Beni to Goma, where I stayed with Andrew and Amethyst Roth (www.sendtheroths.com). I had other contacts as well, but really felt months earlier that I should mostly connect with the Roths. Then later it became clear that the other people wouldn’t even be present when I was there.

IMG_0741-002IMG_0436-001Goma, like Beni, is in an area with many rebel groups. It is a bit surreal to live in a city where certain background noises are not from fireworks, but from fights between the combined forces of the army and the new UN battallion against M23 rebels, just a few kilometres outside of the city. Yet life in the city continues ‘as usual’. The Roths have started a training centre with the vision to strengthen and encourage the Congolese to rise up and become the future leaders and changers of their nation. I have been very encouraged by the quality of what I have seen growing there. Deep friendships and long-term discipelship. Change is possible by prayer and love lived out! I joined in a number of activities, including teaching for a few days and ministry in a refugee camp. We spend much time talking about the vision and experience of Andrew and Amethyst.

IMG_1310IMG_1055The time I spend in Goma further solidified the idea to move to Goma (DRC) after my studies in 2014 to join Andrew and Amethyst Roth. It was incredible to see this being confirmed in the following weeks, as I followed the trail that I believed God had shown me (without understanding it) through Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Uganda. I literally met daily with someone who had a certain specific experience or resources that could greatly help me with the work that I may be doing in Congo.  Especially for the area of development work I have become aware that I have ideas, but not much experience.  But the people and ministries that I have met each have a particular part that I can learn and draw from once I have been more established in Congo. Some of these people I met last year, when I felt I should go on an exploring trip to Africa. At that time I didn’t see why we had met, but now it became clear.

In hindsight the order or my travels makes so much sense. Beforehand it was a bit odd. For example, the place where I left South Sudan is the nearest exit border to Bunia in Congo, where I started my journey. It would have saved me two flights and a lot of money to change the order of this trip, but the Lord clearly led me to Congo first, where He confirmed my calling there and then in the following weeks gave me much more tools and contacts for that work while travelling through the surrounding nations.

After staying with a family in Kigali (Rwanda) I traveled to YwaM Bujumbura, in Burundi. I could rest and relax at the beautiful beach of lake Tanganyika and had some encouraging conversations and times of prayer and worship with two DTS outreach teams and the base leader. He told me about YwaM in Yei and Arua, two places where I was going to travel through later on this trip. By that time I still had not much of an idea what I would be doing in South Sudan and Arua (Uganda), and contacts kept falling through here and there. Once I flew to Juba (South Sudan) from Burundi I was picked up by some people who put me in their guest house where the only two other people were an Indian and Dutch man. It turned out that the Indian man was from the neighborhood where I lived in India, worked as a director at the same Bible college where I studied, and knows all my good friends in India!!! He left before I came. He lived in Orissa during the 2008 persecutions and was one of the key Christians they came after first to kill him. He lost everything, but is now encouraging other believers from that experience. He moved to South Sudan and is working with development work, like he used to do with the tribal people in Orissa. His heart is to (help) start similar work in Congo and he wants to help me there with advice and possibly finances. We talked and prayed several times. He even gave me a good amount of money for traveling, which helped offset the high costs of staying in Juba.

In Yei (South Sudan) there were a number of divine appointments, basically resulting in the plan that I will probably come back for a few months to learn from Across Sudan, as well as impart more about prayer and praying communities to their ministry, that has been in Sudan for 40 years. A similar thing happened with Jenga in Mbale (Uganda), a second place where there is much to learn for me. The amazing thing is that all the people in all the different places also seem to be connected somehow or have a similar vision. I feel the Lord truly is highlighting the best people and ministries for me to know in these six countries.

One afternoon I decided to take a boda (motor taxi) to the YwaM Yei base, as I had not much else to do. I didn’t really know what I would do there. When I arrived my brain blanked, and all I could remember to ask was ‘is Bosco from YwaM Arua here?’. This man had e-mailed that he would not be in Arua when I would be there, but that he was going to be in Yei while I was there. I didn’t even meet anyone else from the YwaM Yei base itself, but we immediately had a good connect and feel we will be partnering more in the future regarding Congo. He told me that a whole team is being formed in Arua to start a base in Congo. So a few days later I could meet these people in person and talk and pray with them. They are hoping to move to Isiro, the one city I felt I should visit some day, but not yet on this trip. It will be much better now if I get to come to Isiro on a next trip and they will be there!

As the Lord told me beforehand, this trip truly is about establishing a ‘power grid’ of connections between ministries, missionaries and intercessors across this regions to strengthen one another and move in unity to see the huge strongholds, wars and poverty broken and hundreds of thousands of souls being set free to hear and receive the good news and walk in the Kingdom!

One more story out of the many others that have occurred. Once I had a day off in Uganda and I went to visit the Sipi waterfalls to relax. I decided to pre-order lunch at a restaurant – something I rarely do – before hiking up to one of the falls. But then my walk brought me further down the road and I had to walk back up the road to eat lunch, and then back the same road again after that. But at lunch I met a fellow missionary that I really connected with. We prayed, he gave me money, and we both went our own way. So encouraging!

There is no space to describe all that happened in these countries. But it certainly was good. I have met many people with a heart for DR Congo. I have been encouraged myself. Vision has increased. And at the end I had a good time of prayer and friendship with Will and Etta Shehee and Trisha Koppit (among others!) in Uganda, before a short stay in Istanbul (Turkey) with some friends who are doing a great work there. I got pretty sick as I was leaving Uganda, but we prayed through it. Every time when I was about to throw up it would subside after some time of praying, until it finally broke on the way to Turkey. With each trip that I make I notice how different regions and principalities try to influence what is happening. But God is always greater than that!

I praise God for His good care in these past weeks. I have much peace most of the time, except for disturbed sleep every now and then as I wake up under a layer of fear or heaviness that I have to pray through before I can sleep again. But that’s about it. This has been one of the most enjoyable trips of the past years. I feel relaxed, like I’m having a bit of a vacation. Also, except for one long day of 14 hours of traveling due to all kinds of delays and vehicle break downs I have not experienced any real trouble at all with vehicles and bad roads, and that in the middle of rainy season!

Now it’s back to my studies for another year, and then I have my hands free to fully step into the next things that the Lord is sending me into.

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