For whosever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! Rom 10:13-15. KJV.
Hello everyone! I hope this finds you all doing well. As most of you know, for the last four months I have been enrolled in a language immersion program at the Institut de Touraine in Tours, France. I am studying French because of my mission assignment. The Democratic Republic of Congo’s official language is French. Like most African Nations, their official language is a result of the colonial power who once occupied them. In their case, it was the french speaking Belgiums. The official language is the language of government, law enforcement, and the educated. In order for our team to safely move within the county we truly need to speak/understand French.
The time spent in France was crucial for my ongoing ministry in DR Congo. When I started the language program in March; I had a very minimal understanding of French. I now have a very strong foundation. I am not fluent by any means. However, I am well on my way to becoming conversational. I will continue to build on my language skills through the texts that I brought from France, language software, and having “French Only” days in Congo. I am planning on implementing French only speaking in our house on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This is still a working idea, but I am confident that some form of this concept will be implemented.
One aspect of language immersion is living with native speakers. During my time in Tours, I stayed with a very nice lady named Monique who only spoke French. Monique is a 84 year old retired teacher who loved hosting students in her home. Her home was very modest but clean and welcoming. I would have breakfast every weekday with her. She would read the newspaper and engage me in a conversation, about whatever social/political topic she was reading. As you can imagine, these conversations were very difficult in the beginning. However, as time went on they become progressively more manageable. Staying with someone who only spoke French certainly facilitated my learning. I am planning on utilizing this aspect of learning while in Congo by having a Congolese friend live in our home. I have already extended an invitation to Ernest, our friend and interpreter, to stay at our home. He has graciously accepted.
Upcoming in July/August
One week expedition to Sioma in Western Province. Overland has a remote base in the area and this expedition is intended to push evangelism deeper into the bush.
Two week recon to Mwinilunga in North-Western Province. Overland is launching a new remote base in this region. The area is home to the Lunda people in Zambia. There is also a large portion of the Lunda living in southern Congo; close to our home base. This recon should give me a greater understanding of tribal structure and leadership.
Return to DR Congo and resume the ministry began last year in Mpande and Likasi.
A significant portion of language immersion is learning to appreciated the culture in which a language has developed. To help encourage this, the Institute would schedule weekend excursions to see different areas of the county. During these outings you were encouraged to visit the historical and cultural sites and sample the local cuisine. During my time traveling on the weekends I was blessed to see many beautiful places. I visited Paris, Bayeux (Normandy), Nice, and Chamonix. Each of these regions have unique culinary styles. It was amazing to sample a wide variety of wonderful dishes. The French really know how to do food!
I arrived in Zambia on the third of July. I have spent the last two weeks preparing logistically for my trip back to Congo. I now have my Jeep, supplies, and immigration papers in order. I will spend the remainder of July here in Zambia and then begin my trip back to Congo. In the remaining time here in Zambia, I am going to join a one week expedition to Western Province. I will then drive to North-Western Province and join a two week recon in that area before crossing into Congo. I am extremely excited about the ministry that lies ahead. I know God has already prepared the way!
I know life can be overwhelmingly busy. I do thank you for taking time to read this newsletter. God Bless.
Your Loving Brother In Christ,