Yep, I really know that I am back in Adi

19 October I could step on the plane to Entebbe in Uganda. You made it possible for me through your voluntary gifts and promises for my support. A big thanks to all of you.

I have spent three weeks in Uganda in which I have been given a multiple entry visa for Uganda. This makes it much easier and cheaper for me than having to pay $50 for each time I want to enter Uganda. I also have had several talks with the leadership of AIM there. The most important issue of discussion was the new framework of AIM, which focuses more on reaching the unreached and teaching church leaders. Medical work and administration fall outside of the new framework and my ministry will change. And that is exactly what I want. No more administration but to be more involved in the training of church leaders about AIDS and involvement in the treatment program in the hospital.

Around the time that I was expecting my visa, I received a telephone call from Dr. Claude, one of the doctors and medical director of Adi Hospital. He and a pastor from Ingbokolo (who speaks good English) were in Kampala to buy a car for the hospital. They were hoping that I could travel back with them. The visa took longer however, as did the buying and getting ready of the car. We could leave from Kampala on Saturday afternoon November 8. In Kampala a driver from Uganda helped us, but outside of Kampala I took over the steering wheel. It was for me the first time to drive an automat, to be driving on the highway in Uganda (drive left) and with the steering wheel for the Dutch on the wrong side. Everything went well, in spite of the bad road sometimes. We stayed overnight in Pakwach and arrived in Adi on Sunday afternoon.

That week was busy straight away. Tuesday evening the delegates for the Executive Council of CECA arrived in Adi. Kokole Idring’i, our church president, and Toni Stenger, missionary working with CECA in Bunia, came to stay with me. While the council went on, I prepared my plans for the coming term and also the talk with Toni, with whom I would talk it through. Saturday I went with Claude to Arua to get the AIM leader of Central Region. Phil Byler would be sharing the meditations during the General Assembly.

On the left Rev. Kokole Idring'i, church president CECA.

On the left Rev. Kokole Idring’i, church president CECA.

Usually the delegates are divided to attend church services, and also preach, at surrounding churches of CECA. Now they were also sent further away. I was supposed to go to one of the services in Ingbokolo, but had to cancel my visit. One of the doctors who helped train our staff in January was in Adi since Saturday and wanted to talk with all people who followed the training and who were available to come. So I had to be there on Sunday morning. It was a good meeting however, in which I learned a lot how the treatment program was going on and what needed improvement. Monday was the start of the General Assembly and I attended as a member of the assembly. Three-and-a-half days we talked about important issues in CECA, also in smaller groups. I was blessed with another visitor, Thorsten from DIGUNA-Aru. A house full, but fun. Thorsten and Phil already left on Wednesday afternoon. Kokole left Thursday afternoon. Toni stayed and with her I discussed my plans that I now have to discuss with the hospital people. This didn’t take place yet because of other things that need to be done. The hospital has had several visitors, had to prepare meetings and also one important visit (that is going on right now).

I have been busy writing a message for World AIDS Day that was read on Sunday in the surrounding local CECA churches (I have read it in Adi).

Also I did go to Arua again last week (November 26) with the car, this time with Dr. Claude and David (the hospital administrator) to get Laura Hickman. Laura is an American short-term missionary who will be in Adi for three months to help the AIDS Program with the production of a documentary about the program that will picture what we do. We have other ideas as well for other short videos.

At one of the schools during World AIDS Day.

At one of the schools during World AIDS Day.

Laura started filming on Sunday when I read the World AIDS Day message and yesterday we organized, together with others involved in the fight against AIDS, a motorized caravan and we visited several schools to give a short message about the importance of being tested. We gave the same message at the market and the parking place where trucks leave for Arua or Ariwara. There were a lot of people listening everywhere, and we have reached more than 5000 people. I even heard that first graders understood the message. The daughter of Dr. Simon told the whole lesson to her mom. On the way to the Bible Institute in Adi, where we also wanted to go, we met with the important visitors of the hospital.

These important visitors came all the way from Kinshasa to evaluate the treatment program of people living with AIDS in the health zone of Adi. The doctors from Adi had asked me as a partner to be in the meeting. There the visitors explained what they really wanted and how. One of them is connected to an organization that is thinking to support the treatment program (YES, then we will no longer have a problem with shortage of ARV or tests). In the afternoon they went to visit some health centers, and I left for Ingbokolo to help Likambo and two people living with AIDS with the radio broadcast. They had started already and I could jump in. I could tell something as well and my story confirmed the story of the others, without me having heard all that was said.

So yesterday was a busy day. And another busy day will follow with the Kinshasa delegation still here. In how much I will be involved I do not know. One of them has mentioned already that he wanted to talk with me.

Please pray with me that the treatment program will be funded? I will be involved as a consultant to help the hospital team. Pray that we will continue to work together well and that we will learn from each other?

Please pray for wisdom how to fill in my ministry to inform church leaders about AIDS through workshops?

Thank you very much.

 

Annemarie Boks

1 December 2014

World AIDS Day

16 december 2014: The visiting team from Kinshase said before they left Adi that the health zone of Adi would be one of the health zones that would receive support for the treatment program. Thank You Heavenly Father!

Odds and ends in Kampala

Wow, I’ve been here already for 2 weeks and still waiting for the approval of my multiple entry visa. I had to go to Interpol twice for my certificate of good behavior, and I can confess that i have received that paper. My visa application has been enered with immigration but can take again at leat this week.

I like to be back in Adi at the latest next Monday, November 10, as that will give me at least one day to get even a bit organized before CECA delegates arrive in Adi. Their Executive Meetings will start November 13 while General Assembly will start November 17.

These two weeks I have been thinking about how CECA (the church with which I am involved) can be move involved in the AIDS Awareness Program. When I heard last week that the Medical Department had its meetings, I sent it there so they can at least go over it. It is one of the things I like to discuss with the CECA leaders when they are in Adi.

The two short termers who are coming to Adi are preparing their arrival. For Laura it is pretty soon. She will arrive in Kampala the middle of this month. Last week we heard that she was still short of funding, and we prayed for her during office prayer time, which is every day before lunch. Two days later we heard that she had been given promises for the total of the amount that she needs to come out. Praise the Lord. Caroline is doing tropical medicine at the moment.

AIM US has contacts with three more people who are interested in DR Congo. Yeah! However, with the change in policy of AIM to focus more on unreached people groups and training and discipling church leaders, it will be more difficult to find placements for them, but we still are thinking about Adi as a possiblity. Thus their arrival is not at all sure. I have been looking at a strategy paper though for one of them (who would be a great asset to help us with administration and finances).

I also am enjoying fellowship with friends. This time I’m not staying at the Inn, that is Matoke Inn, but with a friend of old Oicha times. Regularly on the news we hear horrible reports about that area about attocities happening, people getting killed and fleeing to safer places. Please pray for the people in Eringeti, Oicha, Beni and surrounding areas. Thanks.

Yesterday Laura and I visited one of the staff working at Matoke. His wife gave birth two weeks ago (tomorrow) and we went to see the baby and her mother. It was a very nice visit.

Godfrey and Anna are the proud parents of Hope Patricia

Godfrey and Anna are the proud parents of Hope Patricia

Mother and daughter

Mother and daughter

In Kampala

YES! Yesterday was my flight from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport via Kigali (Rwanda) to Entebbe (in Uganda). Today I am relaxing before starting the process of obtaining a multiple entry visa for Uganda tomorrow. The visa will make it a lot easier to travel to Uganda from DRC as otherwise I will have to pay $50 for a visa (even for a day) when traveling to Uganda.

Uganda map

Uganda map

It has been a hectic last month. Many meetings with the missions committee of my home church and with my home support group. This because my support was still low, too low to return to DRC. I had to delay my flight of September 20 to October 19. And I could catch that flight because support has abundantly come in following appeals for financial support. Many thanks to the people who agreed to support me!

So, now I am looking forward to a new term in DR Congo, with the AIDS Awareness Program of CECA. Backed up by the missions committee I will be able to say that I do not want to fully work in administration anymore, although some will not be possible to avoid. Plans are that I will hand over a lot of the financial administration and reporting to others and be more involved in the training of church and community leaders about AIDS and how to approach the whole issue. I am looking forward to that part.
So, what are my plans the coming weeks? After obtaining my multiple entry visa, I will go back to Adi where I will discuss my plans with the board of the AIDS Awareness Program, the health and the hospital staff. Then in November there will be a General Assembly of CECA taking place in Adi. I want to use that occasion to discuss my plans with the church leadership and see how together we can plan the AIDS Awareness Program. Please pray with me that we will come up with a plan to forward the program so that it even can extend to other church districts.

Lubowa

Kampala seen from Lubowa, the part of town where I am accomodated.

Newsletter October available

Yes, I’m still in The Netherlands and looking forward to a warmer climate. However, financial support still need to grow a bit more, as you can read in my October newsletter.

 

Newsletter October2014CHART

 

English speakers who want to support either me or the AIDS Awareness Program can contact the AIM Finance Department in Nottingham, UK.  supporterfinance.eu@aimint.net.

Dutch speakers can go to aimeurope.nl/ondersteunen-zendeling

 

Thank you very much.

Departure delayed

Yes, I am still in the Netherlands. My financial support is still not a 100% and my home church did decide to ask me to postpone my departure back to DRC. It is set now for October 19 and I can tell that my support starts to rise. I like to go back next month because of activities planned for November and people are coming.

In November the CECA church has its General Assembly in Adi and church leaders from all over the region of CECA are coming for these meetings. I like to talk then with the church president, the medical coordinator and an AIM missionary serving in church leadership about my role in the AIDS Awareness Program. Apart from that I will attend the meetings and welcome the visitors.

Two other visitors plan to come to Adi as well. Two short term missionaries are preparing to come to Adi. Laura will come the end of November for media work. She will help film and produce a documentary about the AIDS Awareness Program. Caroline is a medical doctor and will serve at the hospital of Adi and join us in the program as well.

Please pray that I will be able to be there so that they both can come to Adi and learn to know the work on the mission field.

In the local newspaper of Zoetermeer a small article has been published today about me that might be of interest for the Dutch speakers among you. You can go to:

http://www.deweekkrant.nl/pages.php?page=3039851

SONY DSC

A huge challenge

Being on home assignment in the Netherlands I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. I could give presentations about my ministry in DRC in several churches and also in some cell groups in my home church. But it being summer holidays as well, I couldn’t visit them all. Instead, I went sailing with friends for almost a week. A very nice time with sunny weather.

Talking about my work is a joy for me, as I see in everything that God is a faithful God and Father. He has surrounded me with his care and protection for already over 25 years in Congo. Even when in situations that were, to say the least, insecure.

Also now He is at work. For years I have been saying that I would love to see more missionaries to come to Congo, and even more specifically, to come to Adi, where I am based now. But when you talk about Congo, people think about rebels, insecurity, fighting, travel restrictions, and now also ebola. Congo knows all of them. It is also one of the reasons that aid organizations work in those regions in Congo that are insecure.

Doing so they forget the other regions of Congo.

Adi is in the northeast of Congo, pretty close to the borders with Uganda and South Sudan. True, sometimes we are bothered with insecurity but overall it is fine. Work is going on as usual, schools did start last week and patients come to the hospital. The treatment program with ARV is still continuing at the hospital. Likambo gets a lot of people coming to him when he works at our program office at the hospital asking questions about AIDS.

All five staff, together with some volunteers, continue to work with the little means they have. And that is almost nothing. They only have their enthusiasm to work and to serve and they are faithful.

We do not have funding for the program. However, to continue ministering to the people we need financial support. In a paper I have mentioned what we are doing and how, and also how much money we would need for the rest of this year and for 2015. You can read it here: AIDS Awareness Program CECA 20 COR. If you’d want to know more, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Another huge challenge is my personal support. To be able to return to Adi, I need more people who want to support me financially. The gifts that I receive now don’t allow me to go back and I have a return ticket for 20 September, in two weeks time. If you want to help me to return, you can contact AIM International in The Netherlands, www.aimeurope.nl.

My home is in Congo. My life is in Congo. My ministry is in Congo. And God is doing great works in Congo. In November this year the church I’m serving will organize her General Assembly in Adi and I am a participant in this assembly. Also, AIM will send two short term missionaries to Adi. One will come in November until end February and she will be working with me to produce a documentary about the AIDS Program, and maybe a movie that we can show when teaching about AIDS. The other will come in January for six months to work as a doctor at the hospital and with the AIDS Program.

Then I am thinking, God will not send people to Adi, having AIM arrange everything for their arrival, and then cancel it at the last minute because I don’t have my supprt. He will do miracles. He is a faithful God and He has a plan for me for good (Jer.29:11).

Newsletter available

This summer was great with nice weather. However, now I am aware that the weather in Holland can change quickly and I was caught in a heavy rain/hail storm yesterday. Cold.

This newsletter though is not about the weather but mainly about a missionary career of 25 years in DR Congo. Pleasant reading.

Newsletter juli2014E

In the Netherlands

It is cold, raining and very windy. So, I know I have arrived. Yesterday morning the plane landed at Schiphol Airport. And I got asked when leaving if I had something to declare??? No. However, the customs guy wanted to see my suitcase. Their dog had indicated that something was in my suitcase. Coffee!!! I did take a lot of coffee from Rethy with me to give away to supporters and sell for my support or that of the AIDS Program.

umoja coffee

My parents were waiting already to pick me up. It was great to see them again!!! And to be in my home church this morning.

Now for four months home assignment. I will not have a holiday. I have to raise my own personal support plus the funding of the AIDS Awareness Program that is continuing while I am here. Each health zone has been given $200 for three months and the staff will continue the ministry. Administration will be done by the hospital people – David Apamba, administrator; Claude Idringhi, medical director of the hospital; Simon Ozimati, medical officer of Adi health zone. It is our hope that I will find financial support, and if not for the whole program, then for projects that the program is developing.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Children of the kindergarten prepared a song to sing for the movie

I also will finish the production of our movie, a sequel to the movie we produced in 2010, ‘Along’hase’. This one is called: ‘Along’hase, mpasi to esengo’ (Along’hase, suffering or joy). We follow Along’hase and his wife Iyete when she is hospitalized with malaria (and is pregnant as well) and will need to go to be tested as well for HIV. Will she also be HIV positive? The problem that I am facing is that when I want to put audio behind the video, the audio becomes mute. Why??? I will ask one of the young people of my home church here to help me with that. I am sure they will be able to help.

I will be giving talks about the work and ministry of the AIDS Program in my home church and beyond. So when you read this and are interested to hear more and live in The Netherlands, Belgium, or the UK … don’t hesitate to contact me.

Active in many things – reporting and planning

The meeting with the staff of the AIDS Awareness Program went fine. Two days were spent in evaluation and two days, with the presence of the two doctors Simon and Claude, Reverend Langa (district of Adi and the local church of Adi), one volunteer from Adi and one from Leiku-Rumu. The decision for their presence was made because all of them followed the training, Simon and Claude could have a big contribution, and we like to use the two others more in working in the program. Also, Reverend Langa is a member of our board and it is good that he knows the program plus he is counseling a lot of people who either come to him or are sent to see him.

Dr. Simon Ozimati, medical doctor responsible for the health zone

Dr. Simon Ozimati, medical doctor responsible for the health zone

Dr. Claude Idringhi, medical director of Adi Hospital

Dr. Claude Idringhi, medical director of Adi Hospital

In the evaluation the staff workers expressed their difficulties taking care of their families because they do not receive a salary but only a bonus for the work done. They have children at school, children who need clothes and food and medical care. They asked for more money than only the bonus they receive.

Two of them expressed the need for administrative people beside them. Both are weak in administration and recognize that. Even I need an administrator next to me.

Transport is another problem. Ayikoyo (Adja) doesn’t even have access to the motorbike of his father anymore because his parents moved to Aru. For him it is very difficult to move around and visit other villages to follow the work there. The motorbikes the staff uses, small Senke motorbikes, are not really made for the Congo roads, and costs for repairs are sometimes high. All four health zones need Yamaha or Honda bikes of 100cc. Beside the four motorbikes we urgently need a land cruiser to do supervision and visits to the churches that organize several activities from Support and Action Groups to support groups for PLWHA (called CARM) to home visits to income generating projects to assistance for orphans, to be able to take the equipment to show films and so encourage the churches. Even this equipment needs replacement after five years of good use.

So when I am busy doing three to four things in one go, one of these is to write the planning and budget for 2014. The above will certainly be mentioned.

This afternoon we also had our board meeting. Several important issues were discussed and actions decided to solve them. One of the things is that Dr Claude will help me with administration and he will take the interim when I am on home assignment. He will be assisted by the hospital administrator (mainly in the financial realm). It was a good meeting and real progress has been made.

Support Annemarie financially

You can support Annemarie, Bethsaida and/or the AIDS Awareness Program financially by clicking this link : This page is in Dutch.

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