General Assembly of CECA, part 2

It has been quite an adventure to go to Bunia with all the delegates of the two church districts of Adi and Aru. They had hired a bus only for us. And yes, I was the only woman. And no, it didn’t bother me. I was well looked after. The first start we had on Easter Sunday, when we went by motorbike to Ariwara, where a youth concert took place and the place of CECA 20 Ariwara was packed.

Youth concert in Ariwara on Easter Sunday

Easter Monday we had an early start at 6am and a stop was made in Aru where we picked up more delegates (and had a meal). Until around 4.15pm we had smooth going, but then we got stuck behind trucks. And were not able to make any more progress. A truck packed with wood (planks and the like) had capsized and had touched two trucks in its fall. All three wouldn’t move. A fourth truck was blocking the only part of the road that was kind of okay, but too muddy for the truck to go on. And we had to pass the night there, together with about forty or fifty other trucks. That is called ‘Congo roads hazards’.

Four trucks are blocking the road

The next day it took another two hours before we finally got on the way, and got stuck again about 10 km further down the road. That took all morning. It was the middle of the afternoon that we finally arrived in Bunia and were welcomed with a meal at the church.

Delegates of the General Assembly, we were totalling 165 voting members

General Assembly took four days and were intens and hard work. But also, revisiting with old friends and making new friends. It was an Assembly in which we were to vote for another church president, and we did that on Saturday, April 27. And all the candidates that were chosen in leadership were chosen with unanimous votes. It was great to see that the Lord brought unity among so many voting members.

Agupio, Amanio, on the left, is the new church president for CECA. Pilo Guna, on the right, has another term as vice-president. They will make a good team.

It has been a good time to make new friends, as I mentioned earlier. One new friend works as a pastor in Uganda, and with him I have made plans to organise the workshop ‘Channels of Hope’ in Uganda after they have had their board meetings in Koboko. Because Koboko is not far at all from Adi, we have opted for that time somewhere in June. I started translating the participant syllabus back into English. I will go to teach with Ayila, who helped me in Durba in October. The only thing is that Ayila doesn’t speak English and has to do the teaching in Swahili. It will be another workshop with several languages!

Newsletter/Nieuwsbrief April 2019

It took a while, but I can now post my first newsletter of 2019 for you to read and pray for. Thank you. Here is the link: https://www.annemarieboks.com/from-summer-to-winter-to-summer/

General Assembly of CECA

CECA is the church denomination AIM, and several other mission organisations work with here in the DR Congo. It has its office in Bunia and works in three regions, 11 church districts and around 60 church sections. Adi, where I am based, is the seat of the church district of Adi and of the section of Adi.

Next week CECA organises its General Assembly and as a missionary in Adi District I am one of its delegates. We will leave for Aru after Easter service and continue to Bunia by bus on Easter Monday.

It is an important assembly as we will choose a new Church President. Reverend Kokole Idring’i Jean-Pierre has been president since 2004. He was voted in during the first assembly I attended as a listener (I was one of the people counting the votes then).

Please pray for travel mercies, and that the General Assembly will be led not by men but by God’s Holy Spirit and that the man of God’s choosing will be chosen to succeed Reverend Kokole as church president.

AIMSITES

AIM has decided to gradually remove the blog site called AIM Sites, where I have been blogging more frequent than posting things here. That will change from now on. I will see how to move things from there to this site, but will see first which posts have not been written on the two blogs. So bear with me.
This month I am pretty busy. I will have to finish my report over the year 2018, and quickly at that, as the end of this month I will go to Bunia for the General Assembly of CECA 20. I want my report in well before that so they will be able to read and comment.
Also I will see to get at least a link from AIMsites to this one, so that you who go there will be send to this site instead.

Many greetings,
Annemarie

Our Bethsaida project

Bethsaida is our orphan project. AIDS is still rampant in Congo, and at the hospital at least 450 people living with HIV are being treated with ARV’s. But regularly we hear that one of them dies. Mostly this is because they don’t take these ARV’s every day. When they feel good, they think they don’t need them anymore and they quit the treatment.

Bethsaida helps orphans, who lost their parents because of HIV related illnesses, to go to school. We cannot help everybody, and this school year 2017-2018 we are supporting 25 children to go to school. Fifteen of them are in primary school, ten are in secondary school.

Dhata Yeka is the chairman of our board, and is also the director of the primary school in Adi. He is a man of integrity and a big help for me. Together with Bhayo Leku and Atiye Likiso he is following the children at school.

Dhata Yeka with Esther Anyadru, one of the orphans we support

2018

A whole new year and a whole new start of this blog. At least, that’s what I plan to do.

This blog will be about the AIDS Awareness Program and about Bethsaida. It will also mention the treatment program that is organised in the hospital of Adi, in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Adi Hospital: view of the maternity

Time out

No, it doesn’t mean time out of everything, but time out of Congo. Last Monday I left Adi for Uganda where I have been for a week and a half. AIM Central Region had its conference and it was probably the best since the start of CR. We were just north of Kampala, and the venue was perfect. Nice rooms, good food, TV with National Geographic Wild that I could snatch glimpses of, and of course good fellowship with other missionaries and visitors. One of those visitors was Eddie Larkman, a pastor from the UK, who shared the Word of God with us. He spoke about trust, sacrifice, prayer, satisfaction and service (not necessarily in that order). I took notes and like to go through them again and see where I need to commit to apply God’s Words in my life. Another visitor was Kokole Idring’i, our church president, who took the stage together with a representative of the church of South Sudan and one of Uganda. What they shared was thought provoking, and I have to go through my notes here again, but one thing I retain was that it is important to listen to them and to share our vision with them so that they can have an impact, an important impact in our ministry.

I said a bittersweet goodbye to Caroline. We had to do the debrief and talked a lot. There were things that needed to be discussed and prayed about and we separated as friends and sisters. She is now in north Uganda visiting with missionaries who work among the Karamajong.

I am on my way home now, at the moment I am in Arua, and waiting to hear from the people in Adi. They will come to the border to pick me up – on motorbike. The hospital car broke down Tuesday when it hit a rock and has not been repaired so far. From the border to Adi will be about a 2-hour ride. It has been raining here this morning, so I have to see how to protect my backpack, in which I have my computer. However, I think it will be okay.

It will be great if I’ll make it today. Tomorrow is the ‘graduation’ of the nursery school in Adi and one of the students who will say goodbye to kindergarten is Esther Anyadru, an orphan girl supported by the AIDS Program. I visited the school just before going to Kampala and she was just about to do her exam. I stayed and took pictures. She did well!!! Next school year she will go to primary school. I think she will do well there also.
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Oops

Now that I succeed to arrive on my website, I notice that it has been more than two months that I was here. A lot has happened. The event that revived all the people in Adi was the wedding of the pastor leading the church section of Adi, Charles Balonge. His wife had died almost two years ago and in Azonye he found another partner. They were married on May 20 (civil wedding) and May 21 (church wedding).

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Birthday

Yesterday I celebrated my birthday. And although I was in a meeting of the health zone part of the day, I had a great day with lots of surprises.

Breakfast was grilled cheese sandwiches with a strong cup of coffee. My cat Mapendo was hoping for a piece of bread with cheese.

birthday breakfast

Birthday breakfast

I attended the meeting from 10am until 1pm. Then I went home for lunch. It was a ‘surprise’ lunch (of which I knew a lot already) but in spite of that, I enjoyed it thoroughly. Chicken with several side dishes and great company. Caroline had invited Badaru and her mom and had asked Anite, my house help, to join us at the table!

From left to right: Annemarie, Anite, Anisi (mother of Badaru) and Badaru

From left to right: Annemarie, Anite, Anisi (mother of Badaru) and Badaru

Desert after lunch was a very nice chocolate birthday cake baked by Caroline and presented by Badaru and herself.

presentation of the delicious birthday cake

Presentation of the delicious birthday cake

I am grateful to my heavenly Father who has brought me thus far.

Training church leaders

The training is finished. It were hectic, busy days but all went well. Monday morning 16 March, was for the last preparations but not all worked out, like to have the statistics about the treatment program in the health zone of Adi. The people of the health zone were still working on their reports.

Several church leaders came with their wives. This made that the language used was Bangala, although at the end I noticed that I started using French more because I was tired (this because bedtime for me was around midnight for three nights in a row).

Badaru gives her testimony

Badaru gives her testimony

There were many really positive points during the training. For me that was Badaru’s testimony. She is living with HIV and I knew her story as she told it before. But the fact that she stood before these church leaders and had the courage to tell them, making herself vulnerable, touched my heart. And my eyes, I must confess, didn’t stay dry. After her testimony I asked all to stand around her in a circle and one pastor to pray for her.

Participation was great. From the icebreaker on the participants were not afraid to speak, ask questions and give their opinion. There was a big discussion about condom use. Also during explanations the participants were all attention.

Full attention (chief of Adi in pink shirt next to his wife)

Full attention (chief of Adi in pink shirt next to his wife)

On their evaluation form many said that they wanted to have a follow-up, either in training or in visits from the facilitators. And that is exactly what we want to do. They also asked for a syllabus. Also something we like to do. However, we didn’t have enough time to prepare this as I translated a lot from English into French and then we needed on the spot or in our workshop preparation translate it again into Bangala. We will prepare a small syllabus though, we (Badaru, Likambo and I) decided this morning during our evaluation. Of course there were other things as well to improve and we will. One thing to keep though is the testimony of Badaru, as many have expressed it to be one of the important moments of the training.

As I said, several pastor’s wives came also, as did the wife of the chief of the Kakwa. She attended even more sessions than her husband, who was asked to attend several important meetings at the chiefdom.

Kakwa chief

Kakwa chief

Kakwa chief's wife

Kakwa chief’s wife

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