Monday, July 27, 2009

Great news from Congo!

Martin Odi and Theophile Rugabira

Bakavu, DRC conference participants

The following is the report I just received from Martin Odi about EPI's first-ever conference in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The conference was held in the eastern city of Bakavu, and was entirely African-run:
May I tell you these about our Bukavu conference. IT WAS WONDERFUL.
The journey took me three days by road and it was tiresome. I will also take the same back home, but the reception of the Word comforted me. They had planned for 50 people and all of them came: 44 men and 6 women. Theophile told me more people wanted to come but he limited to what our resources could handle. There were 5 Bishops in the meeting each day for 3 days; none defaulted in attendance.

Every pastor who attended came from his home each morning, but they were always on time. The first day we started a little after 9:00AM, and on the following days we started at 8:30 in the morning and closed at 4:30 each day so they could walk back home. Some of them walked for 5 km or more. That is the reason we did not have group work and also, because this was Theophile's first time to teach, he took long to drive the points home. But you must know that he is a good teacher; you must use him in Rwanda more than me. He is highly respected there.

They do not have any good Biblical training at all. None speaks English except the one who translated for me. Bishop Lungu had learned English as he travels to Uganda. He is very good, and has promised to do the same again when we return there.

The hotels are very expensive, but we used the one owned by the Baptist church. They charged us $40 per night for all of us as we shared the room. The best ones cost from $50 and above even $100. You need to know that this is a dollar country. I had to get a visa for $50. Fortunately, Theophile does not need one because he was born there. Again that is why it is good to use him for DRC. According to him the funds you sent were sufficient for this arrangement. We thank you so much for this.

The pastors were very receptive to the teaching. They sat there listening with more interest than any other place I have ever gone. Listen: yesterday after we closed the meeting, they stayed there standing and wishing I could continue to teach them more things. All the Bishops escorted us across the border to Cyangugu, Rwanda were we stayed for a night to catch up the early morning bus for Kigali.

The Bishops requested that we visit even their capital city Kinshasha which has close to 11 million people and many more churches. They will organize conferences in 4 areas, then other neighboring cities. Did you know that Bukavu alone has close to a million people and over 300 different churches with all kinds of names.

In summary, it was worthwhile teaching those people. they believe in many religious fables and tales that are not in the Bible. They need an urgent help!

I also want to thank Floribert for his good organization and planning. Together with the influence of Theophile, every thing was done so well. Food was served on time.

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