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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
A comprehensive workshop discovering how church leaders can be involved in teaching about HIV and care for those living with HIV. It is a workshop that I have followed in South Africa in 2013 when it was organised by AIDSLink. And I have developed it into a workshop of 2-3 days for DR Congo. I have organised two workshops last year, in the CECA 20 church districts of Aba and Watsa. This year in November I will go to Bunia and teach the new CECA leadership. And…
Next month I will be for a two-day workshop in Koboko, Uganda. CECA has expanded into Uganda and the beginning of July some 12 pastors will meet for their executive council. Following these meetings I have been given the opportunity for this workshop. The teaching will be on Monday 8 and Tuesday 9 July! And of course it will be in English this time, so I have been translating what I translated from English to French back into English again.
July will be busy, as the school chaplains in the church district of Aru have asked for a Channels of Hope workshop also. That will probably follow the one in Koboko.
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!