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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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!
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/
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!
Desert after lunch was a very nice chocolate birthday cake baked by Caroline and presented by Badaru and herself.
I am grateful to my heavenly Father who has brought me thus far.