ear Sisters and Brothers in Christ!
Peace be with you from our Lord Jesus Christ! This year has been a blessing for which we are very grateful. We have been able to visit all our partners in Africa and see the great impact of our work on people’s livelihoods. Apart from the floods that affected parts of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the climate has been surprisingly cooperative. As a result, harvests were good, even in areas which used to experience long droughts or heavy rains.
It was also a time to strengthen how we work together as a team. We attended Integral Mission training in Rwanda, where we were joined by Brenda Halk. Afterwards, we attended the team retreat with our spouses in Mombasa, with Adrian Gardner and Robin Clark from CBM’s head office. It was so relaxing to play games altogether and walk along the shores of the Indian Ocean. Teamwork was also emphasized through joint visits to partners. In June, Laura Muema and I visited South Sudan, and in September, Darrell and I visited Togo together with Jose Da Silva from Canada.
All these achievements are the fruits of your spiritual and practical support, and we are very grateful.
In June, Laura Muema and I conducted a training workshop on leadership and self-reliance for women and youth leaders from some districts of the FEBAC in Juba, South Sudan. It was so encouraging to see young people make commitments to start entrepreneurial initiatives toward self-sufficiency. I was supposed to hold the same training in Malakal and visit the food security and livelihood project, but armed clashes broke out and I had to cancel my trip. However, James, the project coordinator joined mein Juba and reported that the harvest has been better this year and farmers are adopting the conservation agriculture technologies with much enthusiasm. We are grateful that the recent clashes did not affect our project area.
In early September, Darrell and I visited the Togo Baptist Convention, our new partner in Togo. We had the opportunity to meet our partners face to face for the first time, after communicating solely over zoom chats and emails previously. We were able to discuss projects in the framework of our new partnership agreement. We even visited some farmers in their fields, where they applied the technologies that they learned with respect to conservation agriculture. Only the borehole drilling was delayed because of the heavy rains.
I also visited the Bashu/Kimbulu food security and livelihood project, which is run jointly with Tearfund Canada, with the support of CFGB. Despite persistent insecurity in the area, farmers keep working. Both in Bashu and Kimbulu areas, farmers are joyfully adopting conservation agriculture technologies. In Kinyatsi parish of the Baptist Church, the pastor happily reported that they were encouraged by the conservation agriculture project to grow potatoes and cabbages on the church plot, thanks to which they were able to secure the title deed of the church compound after many years of vain attempts to mobilize funds for that purpose. This is facilitated by the training on entrepreneurship which, in addition to the promotion of Village Saving and Loan Associations (VSLA) increases creativity among farmers.
The last visit was to the Diaconal Centre at Katwa and the economic ecological farming project, where people living with trauma and disabilities are provided with vocational training and life skills. How wonderful it is to see smiles back on the faces of children who were considered cursed by their families but who experience the joy of being valued. People who were considered unstable are able to learn a profession which can help them improve their livelihood. Indigenous people gain confidence and express their dreams as they plan coffee and other cash crops.
At the family level, there were moments of joy and moments of sorrow. My last son Victor, now aged 30, has decided to get married before the end of this year. Meanwhile, my nephew and my niece, who have been living with us since their childhood, have decided to give their lives to Christ. They will be baptized next month. We are frantically preparing for those happy events.
But on the other hand, my eldest sister, aged 96, went to be with the Lord last month. We celebrated her life with gratitude for the number of years God has given her as a single mother who lived with hearing and speech impairments. Her life is the motivating factor for my interest in Diakonia advocating for the vulnerable.
- The Democratic Republic of Congo is preparing for general elections at the end of this year. Meanwhile, there are rumours of escalating conflicts between the M23 and the government troops in North Kivu province. Let us pray for sustainable peace in DRC and Africa in general.
- Let us pray also that peace may prevail in South Sudan so that our projects may reach the objective of improving livelihoods.
- Please pray that as we get new partners with different approaches to development, that development facilitators from partner churches will be able to meet face-to-face to develop a common vision.
We are very grateful for your support, which makes all these dreams a life-changing reality. Let us keep up with what we have started according to our calling.