Today brought a difficult and heart wrenching experience that is fairly common for those who are privileged to visit the congregations of our foreign brothers and sisters in Africa and India. We visited two congregations where terrible wind/cyclones (last February) virtually destroyed their modest church buildings. The cost to repair these two buildings is only about $1800 but this is far beyond what the members can support. Both congregations are located in impoverished villages a few KMs outside of Lubumbashi. I asked the pastor of the congregation in Kalebuka how they were able to purchase the land and build the building 6 years ago. He responded that the members had given all they had and it took them several years to buy the materials and make the bricks by hand. You could see that they were heart broken and distraught that the building that they had worked so hard on and sacrificed so much for was now in ruins. The other church building in Kalubwe is a similar story but in this case they are still paying for the land on which the building stands. These types of stories are not unique to Kalebuka and Kalubwe...they are common throughout Africa, India, Nepal, and Myanmar. In the US we typically have insurance for such things and while such disasters are unsettling and disruptive for a US congregation they are soon rectified and quite often with something better than before. This just isn't the case here. I breaks your heart to sit in the home of a pastor or member of one of these congregations who has so very little to begin with and to then witness their joy and appreciation for your visit by bringing food and drinks to share. It is humbling to say the least.
Tomorrow (Saturday - 8/21) we will teach Sunday School training classes in the morning and then visit a near by congregation for worship service in the evening. On Sunday we will visit and preach at the congregation of Pastor Muzakuza here in Lubumbashi in the morning. Our flight back to Nairobi, Kenya departs at 1:10 pm on Monday.
Please pray to the Lord that He will provide for the pastor and members of the ELCC congregations in Kalebuka and Kalubwe that they may rebuild the buildings that they have built for His glory and honor. Thank you!