Last year while in Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), I noticed so many people wearing T-shirts with English slogans or logos. Most of the clothing sold at the local markets are second hand and arrive in huge bails from western countries. Very few people can read or understand English in the DRC, so any witty English slogan means absolutely nothing except to humour the rare English speaking foreigner. The dream of taking a fully functional silk screen printing press to Lubumbashi emerged. After a crash course in silk screen printing and a generous donation of a complete screen printing kit, the dream became a reality in June this year.
By God’s grace we passed through all the borders into DRC without any problems. This time I was joined by a group of Bible School students from Lewende Woord (Living Word) Church, as well as a few university students. The main purpose of our trip was to bless local church leaders with the God’s Vision God’s Mission (GVGM) teachings and to set up and train Pastor Wycliffe and Pastor Jean to operate the T-shirt printing business. The Swahili slogan printed on the first T-shirts are the last words Jesus spoke on the cross (John 19:30), “Ime kwisha”, which means “It is finished”. Both pastors also teach the GVGM course and their new printing business will now help finance the preaching and teaching of the Gospel of the kingdom in DRC. It is our hope that we would be able to help start more of these small business projects in order to empower local missionaries in the various areas where we are involved.
Tienie (who had been in DRC with me last year) and Wiam joined us in Lubumbashi a few days later, bringing 300 French Bibles with them. They also remained a week longer as guest speakers for a local church conference and imparted their knowledge of farming to some of the pastors/farmers once we had left. During the day we taught a large group of church leaders about God’s plan and purpose, preached the kingdom at church meetings and ministered to individuals. Gawie from Lewende Woord ministered to people prophetically and also witnessed a deaf man being healed. The God’s Vision God’s Mission course was very well attended with 128 church leaders receiving certificates for completing the course, while many others attended only parts of the course.
As it is often the case with a short mission trip, God has an agenda to work in the lives of the team members. God blessed each one of us, but Lebo’s story is worth sharing. One morning on our way to the GVGM class, one of the students, Lebogang, asked where she could buy a piece of material to make a dress like she had seen the local women wearing. During the morning session we stopped class for a short break and an elderly lady who was not attending the course, walked to the front of the class carrying a measure of cloth. She explained via the interpreter that she had had a dream the previous night that there was a missionary called Jane who wants to make a dress. In obedience she was now bringing the cloth. The whole class was stunned to hear that Lebogang’s second name was Jane! God called her by name and gave her the desire of her heart. We serve an awesome, loving, caring God!
Back in South African we made our way down to the Cape for a God’s Vision God’s Mission course in Stellenbosch. This was a small class and slightly shorter than usual, but it was wonderful to share God’s plan and purpose with businessmen. We look forward to new opportunities that may arise from this class.
We are currently busy confirming the next GVGM courses and preparing for the trip. Jean, who was with me in DRC last year, will accompany me on this trip and help with the teaching. So far the first three courses are confirmed and three more are in the pipeline (see prayer requests). We will start with a course in Zambia with the Kasama Pastors Fellowship at the end of August and then in Mpulungu at Lake Tanganyika, before moving to Tanzania and possibly Malawi. The frustration of trying to arrange an itinerary in Africa has become a valuable lesson in learning to seek God’s face and listen to His voice.