Contingency Planning

Congo Blog – Feb 23-27

I will be in the Town of Bunia Monday – Friday, February 23-27.  I will leave our place in Nairobi at 5 AM on Monday morning and be in Bunia about noon.  The purpose of the trip is contingency planning.  It is a well-defined process for identifying and ranking the dangers in a specific environment, finding ways to mitigate them and then making plans for each danger in case it happens.  The dangers range from acute sickness or accident to armed robbery to civil war.   We will be doing a part of the process with Congolese who know their environment better than we do.

This exercise sets the stage for our placing more and more people in the Congo including Dayle and I and moving our office entirely into Congo.  Pray that we will have wisdom, insight and a process in which our relationships and words please the Lord.

I hope to update this blog every day of the week in the evening Congo time, so in the morning US time.

Contingency planning participants

These are some of the participants at the risk evaluation phase of the contingency planning.  We are working with Congolese colleagues and Congolese from churches we work with.  They know the situation best and can therefore best help us determine which risks are the most likely.

My room at the Rector’s house

The Rector of the university has me staying at his house across the street form the University.  It has simple furnishings.  My rooms is simply furnished but it has all that I need, including the most important item – a mosquito net to protect me from Malaria.

Shalom University of Bunia

The Shalom University of Bunia is hosting our contingency planning.  It is a Christian university and the one which offers a degree in Bible translation.  We helped with the definition of the curriculum for that degree and we find funds to provide scholarships to worthy students.

(This blog originally appeared in a different format. It was updated in March 2012.)

Isiro and Bunia

Ed is in Congo from February 2-10, from 2-5 in Bunia, from 6-9 in Isiro, and then the night of the 9th in Entebbe, returning to Nairobi on the morning of the 11th.

The trip started at 4 AM on Monday morning to catch a ride to the airport at 5 AM and a 7 AM flight.  It is the start of the rainy season in Congo, so everything is wonderfully green.  The rain did delay Ed’s arrival by small aircraft in Bunia (above), but only by a couple hours.

The main purpose of the trip to Bunia is to evaluate the translation degree program at the Shalom University of Bunia.  The program just started.  It is being lead by Kabucungu Hand-jinga (above).  We were involved with his training in Nairobi a few years back.  Ed found that even though the program had a few hiccups, it is going extremely well for being brand new.

Ed met with the 12 students in the program (above).  One died suddenly of meningitis in December or there would be 13.  They are all excited about the program.  They are learning things about their languages they never knew before even though they have spoken them all their lives.  It was contagious to hear their enthusiasm for giving their peoples God’s Word.

I took time out to visit a little center where teams of translators from three different languages are working, some of whom we helped train.  Seeing this group doing a last pass over the whole Bible in their language was very a lot of fun.  They were really jazzed.

The first day here I tripped going up these stairs and banged my right knee pretty good.  Within a couple hours it was getting very sore and stiff.  I could hardly go up and down stairs.  I was concerned that I would wake up in the morning with it all stiff and swollen.  I went to a Bible study and a missionary doctor there gave me some Ibuprofen and they prayed for me.  The next day — No problem!  The Lord is good.

With the green and the hills, this is a beautiful place.  It could also be very prosperous, but it has been wracked by conflict, mostly driving by those wishing to seize its incredible mineral wealth.  The Frangipani blossoms (above) outside my door remind me that God makes everything beautiful in his time.

After Bunia, I went to Isiro where I spend four days going around with this wonderful man, Pastor Atulu, dealing with many issues, including starting work in six more languages in this area.  At one point we ran out of gas a ways out of town.  Atulu tipped the motorbike on its left side which enabled us to go another half mile.  Then he bought 1/2 liter (1/7th of a gallon) of gas from a roadside vendor for 1,000 Congolese francs,  or $1.49.

The forest in Upper and Lower Uele Districts has these wonderful patterns.  Flying over them is an experience in the wonder of how great is the God of creation.

This is the little room, on one end of Atulu’s house, where I stayed while I was in Isiro.  I had a mosquito net so I was not bothered at night.  The family has an outside toilet and shower.  They heated me water over a wood cook fire every evening for my shower.

(This was originally posted on another blog. It was moved here in March 2012)