Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dave Rempel

Dave being treated at Bon Berger.

Dr. Delphin and his daughter Faith in front of his clinic.

This is a class where women are taught how to sew. This is a

part of Bon Berger.

Getting sick in DR Congo was not what I had in mind and I certainly didn’t think it would become a highlight of my time in Africa. But somehow, God has a way of surprising us in the way he can turn trials into blessings.

Dr. Delphin from Bon Berger was a major blessing to me. When he heard that I was sick he came to visit me and get me started on some medication. I didn’t recover as quickly as expected and so Delphin came the next day to help me through a consultation process at a clinic near the guest house we were staying at. He insisted that I come to Bon Berger for more testing and medical care. I was happy to go with him even though it meant a long and rough taxi ride and a precarious walk over a makeshift bridge. We had previously visited Bon Berger and so I knew that they gave excellent care, not only physically but also spiritually. I was put on an I.V. to get rehydrated and tested for malaria. I got some other meds for diarrhea and vomiting. Paul Peters spent the long night with me at the clinic which I was very grateful for.

Later that morning I found myself all alone in the hospital room. It was Sunday and a church service began a short distance form the clinic. The singing was beautiful and energetic. I felt such peace as they began to sing, “Precious Lord Take My Hand.”
By late afternoon I was feeling a bit stronger and ready to head back to our guest house.
I found out later that Jean Baptiste had been praying for me all night. Amazing!
Unbeknownst to me, my time at Bon Berger spoke loudly to the community. A North American patient had rarely or never gone there for treatment before.

We’ll see how God uses this experience for His glory. Thanks for all your prayers.

Dave R.

Agatha Falk

Pascal Kalunga

Agatha and Mama Sophie

We have arrived home safely!
What an awesome journey!
Praise God for safety and for a great team!
Praise God for all the people we have met along the way!
Praise God for the Congolese people! For the love they showered on us, for the love they have for God, for the love they have for the church, their families and their country!
Praise God for the hope they have even in the midst of trials and poverty! Mama Sophie has high dreams for her family. She came to me and begged me to remember her and her family. She is a nurse, but has not been able to work for quite some time due to illness. Her daughters Lynda and Sylvie are attending university and studying to become a doctor and a lawyer. Her sons Grace' and Gracious want to attend. She is asking for prayer and praying that someone will help her. She wants a better life for her family.

Pascal Kulungo is also a person that has a lot of hope and vision for his country. We spent some time in the home of Pascal and Thethe. We were treated with a great Conolese meal and given some insite on his dreams for his country. He states that what is needed, is for strong educated Christian leaders to be elected into the Parliament so they could advise the President. This way positive changes could occur that would affect the whole country. Pascal has studied in Sacramento, California and has previously addressed the United Nations in Washington. His goal is to become a member of Parliament. He is also very active in the church and serving the Lord!

Praise the Lord for these people and many others I could name! I hope to continue to learn from these experiences - how to radiate God's love more, to remember to take time for others, to value people more and be thankful for all the many blessings I have received. Praise the Lord for his goodness and mercy!

Thank-you for all your support and prayers!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Photo Story

We have not had internet for the past week and a half. I don't have access to all the pictures so
I chose a few that I hoped would show the beauty of the people in Kinshasa. My goal before I left was to make sure that my photographs would tell a story. The story that I would like to tell is the faith that was evident in so many of the people that we met and how
they trust God for everything. Below are just a few pictures of a few of the people we met. I could add many more pictures and may do so once we get back home and I have some time to go thru them. I have been blessed by the experience that I had in Kinshasa. People have shown me what
true faith is and how Gods love in unlimited. I hope that I will be able to use the pictures I took
to give people a real understanding of what the Congolese people are like, not what they read in the newspapers or see on television. I look forward to being back home and sharing these experiences with you.

One of the boys drinking a Coca. This would become one
of our main drinks during the weeks that we would be in
Here is one of the church familys that invited us into their home
for a meal. All the people were so welcoming and we felt very
loved and cared for during our time in Kinshasa.
Here is a picture of Laurre ,Jean's wife with one of here big smiles.
We all said that we thought she just radiated God's love and just had
an aura about her. She told us that she prayed each day that God
would take away anything from her that was not Godly.
God was good to us and blessed us on our trip thru the Naroibi
game reserve. We came upon these lionesses and followed them for almost an
hour while they were hunting for some food. This was the one animal all of
us hoped we would see and not more than 15 minutes into the park we
found these lions.
The boat drivers name was Peter. We are on a lake in Kenya
and he was our guide. He took us on what was to be a one hour
boat ride but it stretched out to be almost two hours. He took
us to an Island that was a home to many animals, got a guide for
us and waited while we walked among the animals for the next 45 minutes
or so. Here again was a person showing
God,s love to us ,a group of people from Canada.
This was Sarah. She had just recieved a promotion before we
left and when we congratulated her and said she must have
worked hard and been good at her job to get it. Her response
to us was that it was God that got her that job. She showed us
how deep a faith she had and how she trusted God in all things. What
a great testimony of how God was evident in her life.

This is Jean's family. They were wonderful hosts and welcomed us as if we were family. We had a wonderful time at Jean's home visiting with his lovely children, Manuella, Anyell, Ben, Joanni and thebaby Mallika. Gods love truly shone through this family.

Here are the two people that had a vision for the partnership between
our church and the church in Kinshasa. What an unlikely pair to be connecting
to get this done, but it was great to watch Paul and Jean as they talked
about different things and worked on the schedule for our group. Paul definitely has a good understanding of the culture and it was fun to watch him interact with the many freinds he has made in the Congo. They have
a great relationship despite the difference in cultures, age and countries. God is
truly the same everywhere.
This is Joanni, Jeans beautiful daughter she is what you would call
a papas girl. I had a lot of fun trying to get her to come to me and my camera turned out to be the ticket. She loved to be on pictures so I would take some of her and she would
come sit on my lap and we would look at them together. She always had a
smile on her face and loved to be in pictures. It was wonderful how she
was accepting of us despite the fact that we were white, didn't speak the language
and were from a different country.
Mama Jullien, her assistant, Mama Sophie, sitting down was Laurre.
I have been the photographer for this trip and have enjoyed it immensely. One of my goals was to use my photos to show the beauty of the Congo despite the fact that their is a lot of poverty and tough living conditions there. I have found that the people here are warm, freindly and very welcoming. I hope that some of my photos can show this thru their faces and the scenes I have captured. God has blessed us richly on this trip. He has allowed us to meet many wonderful people who share the same God as we do. God has showed us that he wants us to trust him in all circumstances and he most certainly has placed people in our path that believe this. In the photo above there is a blind lady Mama Julliene who traveled down a very difficult road to Jean Baptiste's home just to say goodbye to us and bring us some gifts that she had made for us. She had spent almost eight days making them and made the difficult trek to see us off and bless us and tell us that she would be praying for us. Also in this photo are Jean's wife Laure and his mother in law Mama Sophie. They both were shining lights for Jesus and radiated his love. Despite having to go to work and look after five children Laure sewed us each an article of clothing even though it meant she had to get up at night to do some of the sewing while the children were sleeping. What a picture of a person with a true spirit of giving.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


We have arrived safely in Kenya. We have had no internet access till now. Only have a minute to let everyone know we are safe and everyone is healthy. We will try to update the blog later today that is if the internet is still working.

Monday, July 12, 2010

When in Congo...

Hey everyone, Paul here on behalf of the team... I just wanted to apologize for not updating the blog in the last week. The internet has been down since last week Tuesday. We are sitting at a restaurant here in Kinshasa and figured out that the internet worked here... Hopefully ours will be up tonight or tomorrow morning so that we can update you. God Bless, Thanks for your prayers.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Just another post from the "Mundelis" (White People)

Carianne and Paul having fun with some of
the Congolese children outside of the church!
Agatha outside of the church at sunset.
Del Fan and his family with our team.
MB conference leaders!
Today started off with a breakfast of oatmeal and toast. What a great start to the day. We crammed 6 people into a compact car and headed off to the church for a meeting with the Leaders of the MB conference in Kinshasa. We met in a small room on the second floor of a building that held stores on one side and housed people on the other. We all introduced ourselves and then they gave us some information as to what they are doing and how they operate in Kinshasa. They were very interested in the way our church did things . Among the things we discussed were baptism, communion and the role of our deacons. They were interested in the role of the pastor and spoke of how visitation by the pastor in their culture is one of the most important things. Their pastors are on call all the time and when called are expected to come no matter what their own circumstances might be. We spent time in prayer and spoke of the need for us to learn from each other. The meeting was very good despite the fact that we are from two different cultures two different languages and two different churches. After the meeting we hopped on a bus and headed for Pastor Matungulas house for a meal. After a trip into yet another area of Kinshasa we arrived at the pastors house which was situated in an are that just had houses scattered about with walking paths joining them. Their house was divided into halves with them occupying one side and another family on the other. We had a delicious lunch and good fellowship with the pastor and his wife. We had about a 25 minute walk to get back to our hostel where we took a little bit of a break and then headed back to the church to take part in a ladies bible study. This group met twice a week and consisted of doing some singing, reading the bible, praying and then also working on some sort of handcrafts which they could sell. We again had a time of asking questions and talking about how each of our churches did things. We continue to be amazed at how well we have been received and the love that has been shown to this group of "Mundelis"(white people) from Canada. Our next stop was the house of the doctor Del Fan. Some of you may have met him when he visited Manitoba last fall. Because he lives quite a ways from where we are staying and we would be coming home later and in that area taxies or buses are not easy to find we hired a bus for 3 hours. This meant that they would take us to his place and wait outside till we were ready to leave. It was great to be at Del Fans house, meeting his family and sharing a meal with them. We fellowshipped together and were again made to feel really welcome and loved. After navigating the narrow road filled with potholes small hills and sand we eventually made it back to our resting place. The boys then immediately left for a small outdoor cafe to watch Spain play Germany in the semi final world cup soccer game. The patrons consisted of numerous congolese and three mundelis all watching the same game and dispite a definite language barrier we all had a great time. We ask that you continue to pray for us as our busy schedule continues and pray that God would continue to grant us health. Pray also for our families back home. Pray for Paul as he continues to lead the team and needs to make sure all the days activities are taken care of and all the logistical things are looked after. It is getting late so I will have to say goodbye until tomorrow when we will continue to update you on the latest happenings of the BMC team.
Signing off from the Congo: Ray on behalf of the BMC team.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mbote Na Bino (Hello to you all)!!

Fred a blind man we visited
telling us of difficulties being a blind
person in the Congo.
Two people making bricks for a new building
that was to be constructed.
Paul with sleeping boy at
Leve Toi.
Mama Julliene the person who
runs Leve Toi the school for blind
and handicapped.

Mbote na bino!

This is Carianne on behalf of the team, we're all sitting in the library at MPH, debriefing another rewarding, adventure-filled day.

Our day started out with a delicious breakfast of French toast and papaya. Next, we were off to Fred's house near Pompage. Before I explain our visit with Fred, I think you all might be interested in our method of transport to his house... motorcycles. The road is so bad on the way to Fred's that you have to take a motorcyle to get there. The group of drivers were all very enthused about having Mundellis on the back of their motorcycles, it was a quite a spectacle. The actual ride was an adventure. No one wore helmuts. There were a total of 3 people on each bike. We drove through sand, around craters, up hills, down hills, through mud and water... Somehow, we made it to Fred's.

Fred is an old friend of Paul's from his first trip to Congo, and I had the pleasure of meeting him last year. Fred is a blind man whose greatest passion is to empower and inspire the blind. Fred was a teacher at College before glaucoma took his eyesight. After becoming blind, he lost his job and was told that he was no longer useful in his role. Since then, Fred learned brail, and started envisioning ways to teach brail to other blind people. He uses leftover pill packages, match boxes and pencil stubs to create a brail learning game. It was wonderful to be in the home of such a wonderful, kind man. While we were there, Fred apologized to us and explained that his wife had been very sick this past week, and the cost of her care was such that he could not even serve us something to drink. It was heartbreaking to imagine that caring for her sickness meant having to forego food and drink for their family.

After Fred's we headed out to Leve Toi, which is a school for handicapped children nearby where Fred lives. Mama Julienne walked us through the facility, sharing with us how God has blessed the school. She also was overwhelmingly thankful for Paul and the teams who have come over the past number of years. Now they have a chicken coop with 100 chickens. They plan to sell some of the chickens and eggs to make more money for the school so they can continue building. The old school buildings have started to crumble, so they have had to demolish them and start fresh with new bricks. We had a lot of fun playing with the local children, and hearing from Mama Julienne. It was encouraging to see that, even from last year, more progress has been made in this ministry. Ray and Dave also had some fun with the workers learning how to make bricks.

After our time at Leve Toi, we headed back to MPH for a rest. We were feeling pretty tired, and we all crashed for an hour before traveling to Paroisse Missionaire to take part in choir practice. There we learned that the church has 4 different choirs. One of the church leaders explained the importance of music in African culture and in the church. He said that he believes that singing is how we will most likely spend our time when we are all in heaven one day. Then the different choir groups sang for us in French and in Lingala. The singing was an absolute blessing. Their rich voices and beautiful harmonies coupled with lyrics of praise and African-style of music left nothing to be desired. It was truly a blessing to sit and listen to them sing, even though we did not always understand the words. We didn't need to.

After our time with the choir, we headed to a family from the church's house to share a meal. On the way, we took a large bus, packed with people. I had been quietly singing one of the songs I had heard in church on Sunday, and the team joined in. Suddenly the whole bus of people started singing the song with us, and they laughed and laughed as we tried to pronounce the Lingala words correctly. It turned into a sing-a-long and we kept singing what few songs we knew in Lingala. What an experience, singing together and laughing with total strangers on a bus. It is, again, a testament to the warmth and acceptance of these people.

When we arrived, we were greeted warmly by Mama Esperence (a name which means "Hope" in English) and her family. Another lady from the church, Mama Joseline, was also there to help cook. They had no hydro, so we sat and ate by flashlight while we learned that Mama Esperence has been living alone with her 3 children while her husband has been in Sudan for the past two years, working for the UN. She said "My husband is away, so I am here with my children and Jesus." She expressed her joy in hosting us, and we were, once again, humbled by the giving nature of the Congolese people.

Now, we are all back at MPH, ready for bed. Thank you all for your thoughts and your prayers. We count on them. We are so thankful for continued health and safety. At this point, we have eaten 6 Congolese meals with foreign food, and still we have felt healthy. Please pray for energy as we continue with our fully packed schedule. We are doing well, and we all look forward to sharing our experiences with you all in person.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Sewing school at Bon Berger.

Some of the local children on the way to Bon Berger, giving us a warm "Mondelli" greeting.

Manual transport of goods in the Congo.

Meeting with Pastor Mavungu

Another great day! We started by meeting with Pastor Mavungu who is the Assistant Director for Missions of the Mennonite Brethern Church in DR Congo. He shared with us a great vision for outreach. They have a 6 year plan in place to recruit missionaries and share God's love in their country. They have many challenges, including lack of funding and tribal racism (between the Pygmys and Bantou in Kiri).

Then we made our way into the most impoverished area of Kanshasa. We took a couple of Rickshaws as far as we could and then walked into Camp Luka. There was so much garbage around and the conditions were definitely extremely poor. The children along the streets were very exited to see the "Mondelli" (white man). We vistied the Bon Berger clinic with Dr. Delphin. This is a ministry that has been blessed by God. Three doctors and eleven nurses work there to help the poorest in the community. They also operate a micro-credit loans office, a sewing school and art program for the children. Jesus is truly blessing this ministry!

Next we stopped by Bomoi Ya Sika where 27 orphans have been rescued off the streets. We stayed there for only a short time, playing some games and singing songs. The children were so gratefull and hugged us all numerous times. We hope to return there for a longer visit later in the week. What a privilege to be there.

We headed back to church for a prayer meeting. This was an awesome time. There was some spontaneous singing intermingled with prayer. The prayer was so intense and Spirit led. The church here is passionate about their country. We also had some time to share some prayer requests form Blumenort Mennonite Church.

We did all that before supper time. It was a packed day. We enjoyed the evening back at our home with some good food and debriefing the activities of the day. We have loved meeting all the people here. They are so beautiful. At the same time we saw a lot of hardship and poverty today.

Praise God that we have all been healthy. Pray for cintinued health. Please pray energy and wisdom in all that we do here.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sunday in the Congo

This is the day that the Lord has made, Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
Our first church service in the Congo! What a blessing! We sang hymns from home which truly spoke to us! There were also a number of music groups that sang and played with enthusiasm. Their harmony is absolutely awesome! Dave's message about love and putting Christ first in our lives was well received. We were amazed about the similarities in our church services. Holy Communion was also shared. The people welcomed us warmly and made us feel at home. After the service we had a short meeting with their church council and I had the privilege of presenting the banner to them on behalf of our congregation. Th This was really appreciated. The Congolese people love to be very clean and well dressed. It is truly amazing how they able to accomplish this when you see their living conditions. They love bright colors and they are such beautiful people who have a great love for their families and each other. After another ride on the bus, we were welcomed into the home of another family from the church. The meal we were served was great - it included beef, which was a nice change. They definitely have the gift of hospitality! Our host has a job working with the United Nations and was also working on finishing a home for his family. Their six year old daughter, climbed onto my lap, curled up and fell asleep. Pretty awesome! This was the first time we had some difficulty finding transportation back to our hostel. At 8:00 pm, the streets were still jammed with people, screaming and yelling, trying to sell their commodities, pushing and shoving, and buses were overflowing. We ended up renting an express taxi - our first plush seats, to take us home. What a wonderful day! God has truly Blessed us all!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Saturday in the Congo

Up at six and breakfast done by 7:45 and off to get ready for another day. We had a time of morning devotions and a time of prayer for the day and then waited for Jean Baptiste to arrive to get our day going. We walked down to Kintambo through the streets where it seemed there were hundreds of people on the side of the road selling everything from bread, meat, vegetables and even coal. The streets are mostly sand and gravel except for the main roads which are paved and in a lot of cases smoother than roads in southern Manitoba. We have been welcomed warmly by the people of the Congo and we can see what Paul meant when he said that they are very relational and a warm, friendly people.
One of the people we met at our house was George and he works for the Christian Broadcasting Network and lives in Virginia. He was doing a piece on the Congo and told us that one of the reoccuring themes when he interviewed people, both young and old, was that the peace and the joy evident in the Congo is surely due to all of the people who are praying for the country. Their only hope, he continued, was and is in Jesus Christ. Only He brings the true salvation and restoration. What a wonderful message coming from a people that, by our standards, are poor. The truth is, the Congolese people are rich in many of the areas that are truly important. We can learn so much from the Congolese people if only we open our hearts.
After walking for an hour or so, we called a "bus" and proceeded up one of the worst roads you can imagine. Off to our right was the Congo River and off to the left Congolese workers were building stones up the side of a mountain, making steps up at regular intervals. Most of this was manual labor. The road was dusty and full of potholes, but what an experience to see the wide Congo river lined with fishermen. We also passed the rapids through which no boat would want to pass.
After getting off the bus and another 20 minute walk we were at the house of one of the church members where we were to have lunch. This family had 4 beautiful children and were working on building their home little by little. The father talked of how God had blessed them with their children and also with a job that allowed them to buy this property and build a house. He worked at a number of medical centers as an Xray technician and usually was gone from 7am till 8pm. Here, again, we could feel God's presence and our hearts were filled with gratitude. After a wonderful Congolese meal consisting of whole fish, beef, chicken, rice, a vegetable I can't name and some very hot sauce, we headed back into the city to the Church.
We were a part of a service at which they had invited college students to attend. Paul and Carianne shared about being Christians in a school environment. There were also a number of Congolese who shared what God meant to them, and the way He was real in their lives. Jean Baptiste spoke to them and shared the importance of have Christian young people who could be a positive influence on the country. After the service we all shared a meal together and then we walked back to our house in the dark. It is still obvious that Paul is very comfortable here, as he seems to know the city very well, and is greeted by many different people as we walk through the city. God had been good to us and has continued to grant us health, and give us many experiences through which we can see his goodness. Continue to pray for health as we have been solely eating congolese food. Pray for Dave as he prepares a message for tomorrow's service at the church. Pray that we will continue to be open to God's leading and guiding as we continue to expereince new things and meet new people.
ps I will try to post some photos but the internet is so slow it takes about an hour per picture so its hard to have enough time to do so.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Day one in the Congo

Today has been a great day. We got up this morning at 6:00 having gotten ten hours of good sleep despite a somewhat warm room when we went to bed. We had a breakfast of pancakes and fresh oranges. We left our house and Paul called for a bus to take us to Jean Baptistes house or at least as close as you could get. A bus in the Congo is a 15 seat mini van with 6 rows of wooden benches in it and you squeeze as many people as you can into it. The ride was unlike anything you will experience in Canada, no lines, no traffic lights, no speed limit and most of your signalling is done by using your horn and having a person standing in the open sliding door of the van signalling where we are going. When we wanted to get off the bus Paul banged on the wall and yelled at the driver to stop. Then after a five minute walk down a sloping narrow path we arrived at Jean's house. We were greeted with open arms by his him and the rest of his family. This was the last day of school so we attended the graduation ceremonies of two of his children. This was a very special event for the kids and they had speeches and performed some plays and did some singing. They were all dressed up in a myriad of colorful clothing. We seemed to be a bit of a hit for all the kids because of our white skin. After the ceremony we returned to Jean's home and had a wonderful lunch made up of chicken, rice, potatoes, fried plantain, foo foo, beans and fresh bananas. We topped this off with a cold Coke and orange Fanta. We then spent the rest of the afternoon fellowshipping with Jean and his family. We also had a fun soccer game with Jean and his kids while Brazil was playing Netherlands in the World Cup.
Our ride back was an experience. We again rode on a bus but this time the exhaust was coming right into the back of the bus, we had up to 34 people in this small space and we got into a major jam when someone in front of us ran out of gas and a big tourist bus tried to get thru a space to small for him to fit. After 10 minutes of trying to move vehicles around we finally created enough space for the bus and were able to proceed home. Oh and by the way did I mention that there was no air conditioning on the bus. Just imagine 34 bodys crammed together in that small a space in +90 degree temperatures. It has been a wonderful first full day here, seeing the city and the people firsthand. The people are freindly and welcoming despite not having a whole lot of material wealth. We thank God for his protection getting here and that we are all off to a healthy start. We ask that you continue to pray for us as we meet different people from the church and establish relationships with them. Pray also for continued health and the ability to get a good nights sleep.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


We made it to Kinshasa mind you a few hours late but everything went smoothly at the airport and we are now at the house that we will be staying at. It is time for supper so I will do a more lengthy update later tonite. We saw six different airports along the way. Thank you all for the prayer support during our time of travel God granted us travelling mercies and health along the way.