August 3, 2018 Change

This is the first posting on our website for a few years. Many problems with infrastructure here prevented us from posting. For the present, all seems to be going well, so I’ll attempt to post updates a few times a month from Kasenga, DRC.

August will be a month of changes for Nuru Ya Mapendo- good changes, bad changes, and neutral changes. Rev. Sylvain, our District Superintendent, is being transferred to Lubumbashi next week. He is like family to me and we have been working together every day in this district for the last 4 ½ years. His children are my grandchildren; I will miss all of them very much!

The change for Sylvain will be good. He will finally have a stable and guaranteed salary. He has two boys starting university in October, so we can see God’s answer to his prayers for provision. I am happy for this change.

A new district superintendent will be arriving mid-August. He doesn’t speak English, and prefers speaking Swahili over French. He holds a 2-year seminary degree.  This changes the future uncertain for NYM. Will his vision for the district parallel God’s vision that we’ve been serving? Will he desire to work with me as his assistant (my previous role)? What are his expectations for NYM, the pastors and the churches? These are questions which will be answered over coming months. We know, however, that NYM will continue the work we have started.

Similarly, our bishop has been in office for a year and has not yet made efforts to fill the pastor vacancies in the churches of our district. Our vacancies hover around 50%. Attendance is dwindling in these churches. Groups are falling away from the church (women’s groups, even choirs) because there is no leader in place. We are praying that some of the eighteen graduates from the seminary last month will be assigned to help fill these positions. We pray for strong leaders who will be courageous in confronting the many challenges in this district of great poverty. Change is needed before churches fall away.

How do you react to change? Do you get angry? Withdraw? Run away? Get depressed? Accept change with grace? Change is something in life we cannot escape! Our mandate as Christians is to trust in the Living Lord. He can provide us with whatever we need to face change if we ask him- strength, courage, hope, acceptance, vision or grace. The day after I received news of these changes coming for NYM, God brought me a song which contains one of my favorite Bible verses, Philippians 1:6, “that being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will be faithful to carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” This is an amazing promise in the midst of change! Even if plans change direction, we can be assured that God is with us and will carry on His work until it is finished.

I look forward to seeing what amazing things God has planned for Nuru Ya Mapendo.   In His grace, Jane

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