Interview

For my Dutch readers. I have been interviewed about my ministry in Congo and it is possible to listen to it.

Life in an upside-down world

CORONA

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.

EBOLA

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.

Our team: Annemarie with Margaret and Ayila

PRAYER REQUEST

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.

Senya (second left) receives a visit from her pastor and his wife, sitting next to her, and nurse Ayila (right). This was in November 2019.

Pray:

  • 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.

Financial assistance

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.

Annemarie

Newsletter February 2020

Here is the link to my latest newsletter. Enjoy reading.

Workshops

After coming back from Uganda it was straight back to work. In three months we organised four workshops. One in October, in Adi for school chaplains and the school directors.

A friend gave her testimony about HIV

The second one, in November, was for the pastors in the church district of Aru. Here I found an old woman friend, Asero, now director of the Women of the Good News of the district.

Asero on the left during the ice-breaker
Margaret Badaru was with us as a facilitator for the first time

The third one, end of November, was for the Bible School Students from Adi. This was a huge group, really too big, but we did it.

We started with an introduction during their time of prayer Thursday afternoon
And ended with a commitment to teach about HIV and to assist people living with HIV

For World AIDS Day, that was just following the workshop, we had asked the students to teach about HIV in the church of their Christian Service and preach about Mark 1:40-45. One of the students who serves in the local church in Adi leads a small women’s choir and they sang about AIDS in the Bangala service. I wanted to upload it here, but it doesn’t work. Sorry. But as you can see, I tried, and while it doesn’t work for me, it might for you, so I’ll leave it here.

The last workshop in the series was for the pastors in the church section of Adi, beginning of December. Too close to the other one, but also a good one. I really like to give those workshops. The only problem is that the pastors sometimes don’t even have a knowledge of French and the teaching has to be done in Bangala. And when I am tired, French is the language that I start to speak. I had to be reminded sometimes that translation was needed 😉 and what a blessing it is to have two colleagues next to you who can do just that.

From left to right: me, Margaret Badaru, Ayila Bay
As always, we ended this workshop with a commitment to be involved.

Are you involved in warning people about HIV infection? In proclaiming that Christ has made room for them in his heaven when they believe in Him and place their faith in Him? That is the message we share and live.

Long time no see

I’ve just been too busy to write and let you know how and what I am doing. As my last post was in the beginning of September, announcing the visit of friends from my home church, I will start there with a brief report and many pictures.

Visit Wiebe and Heleen

Although they didn’t make it to Adi, we had a wonderful time together. First at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and in Murchison Falls National Park. And then, after my week in Adi, to Sipi Falls and Kidepo Valley National Park. Here some pictures.

Rhino’s walking away from us
From left to right: Wiebe, Nico (our guide), a guard of the Rhino Sanctuary, Heleen. Watching and taking pictures of the rhino’s
On top of the Falls in Murchison
Who is watching who? An Uganda Kob.
Waiting for the ferry and showing the whereabouts of Adi
Elephants crossing
At the Congo border: meeting with Reverend Aduwe and Dr Claude.

After this short meeting, I left to go to Adi and Wiebe and Heleen went back to Kampala. I was in meetings, wrote a report, and my cat had four babies that very week.

After a busy week, I went back to Kampala and the next day to Jinja where I met up with Wiebe and Heleen again. The next day we left first for Sipi and then to Kidepo where we had a wonderful time again. We got to know each other better.

One of the falls at Sipi
Zebra young at Kidepo
Up close
We got stuck
Even with a binoculars we couldn’t find leopards
Wiebe, a teacher, enjoyed his time with the kids in a Karamojong village

Newsletter No. 3, 2019

Yes, it is time again to post a newsletter. A lot has happened and I am sure you’d want to read it. You can do so here:

Visit of Wiebe and Heleen

I am definitely looking forward of welcoming them at Entebbe Airport Monday evening and to spend time with them. This time includes a visit to Murchison Falls National Park before I will go to Adi for a week.

Murchison Falls, here we come…!

Yes, I will go back to Adi. My home church doesn’t permit Wiebe and Heleen to come because of security concerns. I was very disappointed, because I know that Adi is safe. However, my disappointment may be great, I plan to give it all to give them a good time and even while not being able to share my ministry in person, I will try to share it every way I can.

In Uganda

I left Adi on Wednesday August 7 to go to Koboko and the next day I had a long bustrip to Kampala on Thursday. But the reception at Matoke Inn was, as usual, warm and friendly. I stayed there for a couple of days until Sunday afternoon the AIM conference for Central Region started. It was about rest. We need time alone with God, to be built up and just rest in His arms. It was a good time, but still with a lot going on.

Abedju and Aru

Ayila is teaching in Abedju

July was busy and sometimes hectic, as in the beginning of the month I was sick. I even had to cancel two workshops that I had planned in the first full week of July. One I could plan in later in the month and it went well. The school chaplains and headmasters of secondary schools in the church districts of Aru and the new church district of Ariwara came to Abedju for a two-and -a-half day workshop of Channels of Hope. I went there with Ayila, with whom I worked in October as well.

Checking on the team work that was organised per church section.

July 30 was a very special day. Graduation day for Margaret Badaru, my friend who I hope will be involved in the treatment program for people living with HIV at the hospital and also in the AIDS Program. She graduated as a registered nurse after three years of intensive study.

Margaret Badaru at her graduation as a registered nurse.

The three days following the graduation, I stayed in Aru to have a rest and time off to connect with God, which was a very good time. Saturday August 3rd a big wedding was organised in Aru and I was invited. I knew the groom, had given him advice and help about his studies (Theology at the University Shalom Bunia) and his wedding. His wife is the daughter to the Bible Institute director in Adi. At the reception I got a big surprise, I was given one of the wedding cakes. After the wedding I went back to Adi again.

Bride and groom during the reception
The wedding cake

Moroto

After conference I went with a former short termer Caroline Bell and her colleagues to Moroto where they are serving with AIM under the Karamojong. Margaret went with me. We hope to see some of the work.

Visit from Wiebe and Heleen, Members of my home church in The Netherlands

I will be going back to Kampala at the end of this month, to wait there for Wiebe and Heleen. I am looking forward to their visit. There are some questions and issues to be solved, so I like to ask your prayers for these.

Facebook

I posted a photo on facebook. A picture that I placed on FB in 2012 and I have fond memories of that month. It was when the daughter of friends visited and she worked in the maternity as in The Netherlands she was studying at that time to be a midwife. The picture then only received positive feed-back. What was on there? A woman on the delivery table, face not really visible, but legs and tummy showed. The midwife and the friend’s daughter were waiting for the woman to deliver her baby. The delivery was approaching.

Facebook popped it up as a memory and I posted it again last week. I was bombarded with remarks, and they were all negative. How could I post a picture like that??? This was not to be done!!! I tried to delete the photo, but apparently I failed. More remarks made the picture pop up again and again. I became angry. Frustrated. Not only with the remarks, that were from good friends, but also because I just could not delete the picture.

That evening when I went to bed, I started thinking. What about all those young girls, young people, who place in their innocence a nude picture of themselves and get bombarded with all kinds of negative remarks, and also threats that if they don’t post more of those kinds of pictures, it will be made public, to parents, other friends, and whoever… Girls even committed suicide because they could not turn it back, because they could not delete the one picture they uploaded in good faith on the internet.

I don’t know if my picture still circulates on FB or not. I don’t care. And I don’t care anymore if I will still get all kinds of negative feed-back. However, that said, I like to ask people to think before they post anything on FB (that one is for me) or before you react to a picture or a post. If it is negative, instead of just being negative, try to be positive as well. Or send a private message.

And maybe someone can help me, and all those young people. How can you delete a post from FB, if the delete button doesn’t seem to work???

Workshops cancelled

Yes, I had to cancel the workshops. No, not because of the situation around ebola. That has not arrived in Adi. But malaria is another disease that reaches out its grabbing arms to all and this time it got me. Friday I woke up after a unrestful night, with lots of crazy dreams, and I had a fever. My blood smear was positive for malaria and I started with medication. That day I really felt terrible and I decided to spend the night at the neighbour’s place. Also because of the medication being intravenous. Saturday I already felt better, though very tired. So, together with Ayila (my co-facilitator), we decided to cancel both workshops. The one in Koboko cannot be organised easily again, as that depends on the meetings of the Uganda church leadership of CECA. However, the other one for the school chaplains in Aru, will probably be near the end of this month.

Designed for London Tube in Collaboration with Keep Calm and Carry On