With the following link you come to my first newsletter written after return to DR Congo.
We have gone through an intelligent lockdown, a loosening up of restrictions, and now these are tightened again because numbers of covid-19 infections are on the rise another time. Today new infections in The Netherlands rose to 3252.
These 7 months I have stayed with my parents and I have been able to keep an eye on them, and help them in the house and doing the grocery shoppings.
In my home church new exploits have been started. The Sunday morning service is being broadcasted through livestream, we have a new pastor and some new elders and deacons. September 20 was the inauguration of the pastor and his wife, although they have been serving the church since April first.
Meanwhile in Adi
In May we had to cancel two workshops Channels of Hope because in Congo there was a lockdown as well, and I even was not able to return. One of the workshops was destined for the women students at the Adi Bible Institute, and Ayila could organise a workshop together with Margaret the beginning of September. They had two days with the women, and one of the medical doctors of the hospital in Adi could come in to teach about covid-19 as well. It was great to see some photo’s taken during the workshop, although the quality is not optimal.
And did I write last time about some funding for a small covid-19 project to create awareness among the people in the health zone of Adi how to prevent its spread, I can tell you that the same organisation has doubled the amount given. We are very grateful for this and are praising God for His provision.
What is ahead?
Covid-19 here in The Netherlands is again on the rise. However, in DRC the the declared number of COVID-19 cases is now 10.685 with 272 death. In Ituri, the province where we find Bunia and Adi, the number of cases has been declared to be 153. There is no covid-19 yet in Adi, although it has been diagnosed 45 kilometers south of Adi.
However, I have decided in contact with AIM and church leadership, to return to DRC for 6 months. I will leave from Schiphol Airport on October 7 to arrived via Frankfurt and Addis Ababa in Goma (DRC) on Thursday the 8th. From there I will fly to Bunia. I will travel with two people from Wycliffe and meet up with another AIM missionary in Addis. The four of us will continue to Bunia together. I will stay in Bunia for about a week to talk with church and mission leadership.
I have peace with this decision, still need to be tested though (on Monday). The thing that I want to ask you is to accompany me with your prayers, and I would like to ask you to pray for my parents as well. Pray that God will be a shelter to them, keep them safe and in good health. Pray for travel mercies and for wisdom how to deal with the situation I will find in Congo. I know for sure that Margaret, Ayila and the rest of my friends in Adi are thrilled to have me come back.
After I wrote this, I left it and didn’t think about it any more. Information about Covid-19 infections is outdated and will be updated in the next blog. I didn’t want to completely rewrite this one.
Covid-19 in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Until now the Democratic Republic of Congo has more than 9.000 cases of covid-19 as of Monday, with more than 250 deaths but also more than 8.900 people who were healed after being sick with covid-19. Most of the cases are in and around its capital Kinshasa. In the east the cases are fewer, but are present in North and South Kivu. In Ituri the number is rising.
In Adi no cases of Covid-19 have been diagnosed. But the threat is huge. There are many cases in Southern Sudan, where fighting is still going on and that brings about refugees who are entering the north of Congo. And in neighbouring health zones cases have been detected. These positive cases give concern to the medical staff of Adi, as road traffic is frequent on some of the routes.
A small project
The end of last week I received a mail saying that there is a possibility for funding of a small project concerning covid-19 and how to prepare for the possibility of covid-19 in Adi. The people in Adi have written a project and we have applied for this funding. The hospital means to teach the population about covid-19 through the radio and brochures, while also buy personal protection equipement, like masks, gloves and handgel and make sure that patients and their families have also the possibility to wash their hands. And last but not least, they like to train the hospital personnel in the prevention and care of covid-19.
Today and tomorrow a Channels of Hope workshop is organised in Adi for the women students of Adi Bible Institute. Teachers are Ayila and Margaret. Please pray for those two days that the teaching will be clear and that the women understand the importance for them to be involved. May they become channels of hope for people living with HIV.
For my Dutch readers. I have been interviewed about my ministry in Congo and it is possible to listen to it.
When I left Adi on February 17, the corona virus already ravaged in China, but was not yet an issue elsewhere in the world. How quickly that has changed. In the week after having arrived in The Netherlands the first corona patient was announced in a TV talk with the minister of health on February 27. When I had my medical check-up in the Leiden University Medical Centre the doctors didn’t shake hands anymore, and disinfectant was available at the entrance of the hospital. By the way, my medical check-up was fine, no problems at all.
The situation in The Netherlands deteriorated quickly. And while at the beginning of March I was thinking that my trip to Israel might be cancelled, but I would make it to Uganda by the end of April and that I would be in time for the first workshop of Channels of Hope with the women of the Adi Bible School. But that is not to be. Now all borders are closed, even in Uganda and in the DRC schools have closed down. Please pray for the 29 children that we support with our program Bethsaida. Four of them would sit for their final exams. Church gatherings in Congo are forbidden and only groups of less than 20 people are allowed. Doctors and nurses in Adi hospital are afraid that corona will present itself at the hospital. Cases have been detected in Kinshasa and already also five in North Kivu. North Kivu is the province that has had lots of trouble with ebola, and the last case of ebola left the hospital when I was already in The Netherlands. Also they still struggle with attacks of rebels of the ADF. And now this. Please pray for the hospital workers in Congo, for their protection and for wisdom and that God will help them. I know that the medical staff in Adi fears that corona might reach Adi. In Ituri there are two cases of corona.
Last week the news was published that just before announcing the end of the ebola epidemic a new case was detected in Beni. There have been three cases so far.
So, what am I doing?
I am staying with my parents, and the three of us stay pretty much at home. My dad walks with their dog three times a day and my mom regularly takes a walk outside just to have a ‘fresh nose’, as we say in Dutch. Shopping is done mostly by me together. We buy a bit more, but we don’t ‘hamster’ or stockpile. It was a stupid sight on television to see people leaving the supermarket with a big stock of toilet paper. I listen to sermons, read and I have started a small course of a month about member care. I am already behind but it is a good course (Member Care Foundations) and I definitely plan to finish it.
This afternoon I received a voice mail of Ayila, one of my colleagues in Adi. Ayila is a nurse working in Adi Hospital in the treatment program for people living with HIV. Furthermore he is helping me as a facilitator in the workshops of ‘Channels of Hope’. In this mail he expressed his concerns about the people living with ARV who have to go to Uganda for their ARV. Now with the corona the borders have been closed, and both Uganda and Congo are pretty much in a lockdown. Many cannot cross the border and without ARV their health will deteriorate. Also food is becoming a problem, while people living with HIV who are taking ARV have to eat well. Ayila is asking for prayer and practical help. They could already help people as I left money with the accountant of the hospital to prepare the first of the workshops in Adi, but because of the restrictions this will not take place. I am glad that he felt free to start helping people living with HIV with food with this money. Even today he visited a woman with HIV and could help her and two others with ARV and food.
- That God will facilitate that people living with HIV can go to Uganda for their ARV;
- That others can be assisted at Adi hospital, and that the supply of ARV will not dry up; so pray also for a good collaboration with the medical authorities in Congo;
- For wisdom for me how I can be of help to them.
- Pray if you can assist financially.
If you are in The Netherlands there are two possibilities. You can directly transfer money to the AIM account which is:
IBAN is NL91 RABO 0155 6577 12
Or you can go to the following site to donate your gift. http://dms.vigilantdms.nl:81/AIMInt/adres004.html#steun
If you are not in The Netherlands, you can go to the following website and donate your gift. http://www.aimint.org
Please make a note that the money is destined for the Hospital of Adi (Ziekenhuis Adi) in DR Congo for the assistance of people living with HIV during the corona crisis. After reception, I will make sure that the money will be transferred to the hospital bank account in Aru and will follow the use of the money.
Thank you so much for your prayers and assistance.