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Photo: Nigel Pearson

After a series of initial setbacks to do with land ownership and planning permission, the construction of Maison Kimbilio to provide accommodation for 30 vulnerable young people in DR Congo, is gathering pace – thanks to the determination of CMS mission partner Ian Harvey and a committed group of children and staff. Maison Kimbilio will eventually comprise seven buildings – including three houses for children, a school, depot/storage/garages, meeting rooms and a carpentry workshop. It is based about 15 kilometres from the city of Lubumbashi. Over the dry season in August, while Ian and the team were waiting for the land ownership papers, some 45,000 bricks were made. The walls started to go up in September.

Ian has been in Katanga Diocese since April 2009, working alongside the Anglican Church to establish a project to support street children in Lubumbashi. There are about 250,000 Congolese children living on the streets. The first stage of project Kimbilio (which means place of sanctuary) entailed establishing a day centre - Centre Kimbilio – based in a cathedral near the centre of Lubumbashi. Here street children receive education, training, food and clothing. Local church workers develop relationships with the young people and assist them with restoring relationships with their families and returning home where possible. Ian and the team decided to provide a residential home for children after a government “centre” opened in a former children’s prison – causing

decreased numbers at Ian’s centre, as children were afraid that by attending Centre Kimbilio they would become easy targets for the authorities to pick up. Initially there were 12 children in the accommodation. Two were reunited with their families and one has left. Ian says: “The overall project is very much based around the life of the Church.” The former Bishop’s secretary, Lievin Kalubi, manages the project alongside Ian. Lievin studied child care social work at Mindolo, Zambia. There are four young volunteers from the Anglican youth group, who take turns sharing the overnight shifts. “The Dean of the cathedral prays with the children every morning before they go to school and his wife cooks their food every day.” continued on page 5


Bisoke bolsters youth work across DRC Reverend Bisoke Balikenga is provincial youth and children’s coordinator for the Anglican Church of the Congo - overseeing the Church’s youth work throughout the country. Bisoke is based in Bunia and he works in collaboration with Jean-Bosco Tshiswaka, based in Lubumbashi. Bisoke’s work is supported through the CMS Timothy Fund. Below Bisoke reports back on visits he made during the year to the different Diocesan youth leaders. Diocese of Kisangani The bishop and all his staff in Kisangani are very committed to work hand in hand with the youth department. I visited the archdeaconries of Elikya and Lubunga where the youth programmes are very well organised. In the future, I need to have a workshop with all the youth leaders of the Diocese of Kisangani to further develop the programme.

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Workshop in Mahagi We had a ten-day workshop at our youth training centre in Mahagi, where Judy Acheson is now based. (see page 6). We have good teachers in our centre who have trained our Diocese youth leaders so well. Our office in Lubumbashi Our youth department staff who are based in Lubumbashi are working very well. They took a trip to Kassai and met with the youth leaders in the new Diocese there. We now have the right youth leaders who are doing very well in Kassai. Praise the Lord. North Kivu Diocese We made two visits to the Diocese of North Kivu. We first went to Butembo. Many of the youth leaders needed some kind of seminar to encourage them to do their work well. So for our second

visit, we organised a four-day seminar, which was attended by youth leaders from the parishes, archdeaconry and rural areas. We saw the hand of God on us because 12 youth leaders accepted Jesus as their Lord, which encourages us very much. Now Congo has peace, we hope to build the faith of our youth and to continue with the seminar, which is building the capacity of our youth leaders. Samuel Aboud went to DR Congo in the autumn to work in youth ministry for a year. Here are some of his reflections:

Congo is nothing like how the media portray it. Yes, there are some areas that have problems with rebels and war, but this is a peaceful country full of smiling people and a sense that God is REAL. “War-torn” is the wrong turn of phrase now! I have been humbled by people’s servant hearts and I admire how every day is treated like a blessing. In terms of youth work, one of the things I’m going to be doing is running a day-long volleyball tournament once a month. This will involve all of the churches in Bunia. We thought about football, but decided that football was too exclusive (and I’m not very good at football, either). There will be rules for the teams like having a mix of ages and genders in each team of six. Teams will be expected to practise with each other and therefore start to build bridges. I am confident I can run this project successfully over the year and then hand it over to the churches. I think God wants me here to work in me.

Reverend Bisoke Balikenga

Diocese of Kinshasa We had a workshop in Kinshasa to which we invited all the youth leaders from the Diocese of Kinshasa - including youth leaders from Congo-Brazzaville (also known as Republic of Congo). It was the first workshop the youth leaders from Brazzaville had attended. It was so nice because all of them were present. But transport is very expensive for those who come from rural areas where means of transport is rare - maybe you have to travel by boat, which takes many days. It was very nice to hear about the programme which they are doing in their parishes and archdeaconry. In the rural areas people are working really hard but they still need more workshops which can help equip them with techniques for leading young people.

For more information about Samuel’s work visit his blog at: boudy86.wordpress.com


Pioneering end-of-life care Studying for a distance learning diploma in palliative medicine has led CMS mission partner Dr Francesca Elloway in DR Congo to set up a palliative care programme locally to improve the quality of care the terminally ill receive. Whilst continuing as medical advisor to the Diocese of Aru, Francesca decided to study for a two-year diploma in palliative medicine. “It was a decision I primarily made as not having worked in the UK for about 18 years I had become completely unemployable as a doctor in the UK and felt it appropriate to do something to leave that door open,” she says. Francesca is now in her second year of the palliative medicine course and hopes to finish in May. In DRC, she works across one hospital and eight health centres and is involved in clinical work, teaching and management. “As I started to tell my colleagues in DRC about my studies I was taken aback by their interest and, indeed, it was they who suggested that I should initiate palliative medicine here. So I started by doing some teaching to firstly medical folk and then church folk and was encouraged by their positive reactions,” she says. Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life of patients and their families who are facing a life-threatening and life-limiting illness. It uses a holistic approach to both prevent and relieve suffering related to physical, psychological or spiritual problems. Francesca continues: “Church folk were already visiting very

sick people at home and medical workers were already caring for dying patients in their health centres, but all were aware that they were lacking in training. So things have evolved from there. “Our aim is to improve the quality of care given to dying patients. Ideally, palliative care should naturally be an integral part of any comprehensive community health progamme - especially home-based care that by definition reaches out into the community.” Francesca has received invitations to bring this palliative care instruction to various locations in northeast DRC. She says: “Our health centres all have inpatient facilities and we look after many patients who we cannot cure either because they have incurable diseases or because we don’t have the resources to treat them here and they can’t travel to another country for treatment. Patients include those with cancer, HIV/AIDS, terminal liver or cardiac disease, as well as, sadly, those with acute incurable diseases such as tetanus and rabies.” She adds: “But through a more organised palliative care programme we hope to improve the quality of care we give to such patients. We also hope it will be an example for other health centres. Palliative medicine is a new and previously unknown speciality in this region. As far as I am aware it is not included in any national medical or nurse training syllabus. I hope to be able to do some teaching on palliative medicine at local nursing schools, including our new

nursing college (see page 8).” A key part of the plan involves setting up a palliative care/counselling centre at Aru Health Centre. The palliative centre, currently under construction, will have six rooms: two for counselling (both HIV and end-of-life), two rooms for terminally ill in-patients - plus an office for the home-based care team and a meeting room/office. A home-based multidisciplinary palliative care team is also being set up. The team, comprising a nurse/doctor/pastor/Mothers Union worker and other interested volunteers, will visit terminally ill patients and their families in their homes (as happens from hospices in the UK). The team will provide holistic care - supporting patients medically, socially, psychologically and spiritually. “We have already done some training of both medical and church folk. At the start of this year a group will

Dr Francesca Elloway

spend a week at Uganda Hospice in Kampala, particularly focusing on home-visiting,” explains Francesca. Palliative care is important not just from a medical point of view (treating symptoms, making someone comfortable) but also continued over 4

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from a spiritual point of view. As Francesca explains: “When someone is facing death it is often a time when they think about what, if anything, happens after death. It is a time when some folk are really searching for answers to spiritual questions and are open to talking about such things. “As Christians that gives us a won-

derful opportunity to sensitively share the ‘good news’ with folk. Unlike in the UK, here it is perfectly acceptable to talk about spiritual things and pray with a patient if appropriate; indeed many expect it - especially as we are known as a Christian health centre.”

fused an offer to pray with them whatever their beliefs, indeed it sometimes feels that I am thanked more for praying with a patient than for any medical care I may give! It is such a privilege to have the freedom and opportunity to do this.”

Francesca sums up: “My experience is that no-one has ever re-

There in spirit: continuing the link with Congo We caught up with Louise Wright at the recent Mid Africa Conference in Swanwick. Louise was a CMS mission partner for 19 years in eastern DR Congo until she retired two years ago. After working as an English teacher in the UK for many years, at age 43 Louise desired to work overseas as a missionary. Her first assignment with CMS was a posting to Sudan, but her time there was cut short by civil war. Although she planned to return to Sudan, during a three-month trip to Congo, Louise quickly felt that she was in “absolutely the right place.” Now retired in Norfolk, she is in regular contact with her adopted country. Louise has started working with Congolese refugees in Norwich. Did you feel a strong calling to mission work in Congo? Not at all. Like many people I had this image of Zaire (as it was then) as a sort of savage place. Once I lived in Congo and saw all the wonderful possibilities and met some of the wonderful people in the church, the call came very strongly.

What were your first impressions when you arrived in Congo in 1989? Coming from Sudan, where we were surrounded by war and hardly allowed out of the town (Juba), it was such joy when I got to Congo to feel free to go out to the villages and discover the life of village churches and of ordinary folk. It struck me how many adults in the church could not read and write, so I began teaching them so they, in turn, could teach others. After seven years in Bukavu, you decided to move to Kalima, a former tin-mining town northeast of the provincial capital of Kindu, where there were no other missionaries. What was your motivation? Bukavu was full of missionaries. I felt called to move out to Kalima to spread out the influence. Someone once said missionaries are like manure, very useful when spread thinly, but stink when all together! What kind of work were you doing? They called me ‘general trainer’ in the diocese. After some initial

turbulence and disruption due to war, I started Sunday school training and adult literacy and gradually got more involved in a little Bible school in Kalima. When that closed I spent three months teaching in a larger Bible school in Kindu before I retired. How has the past 19 years changed you and what have you learnt from the Congolese people? I’m so grateful for the opportunity to live in a society for so long where it is the norm to talk about God. Feeling that the whole of life is related to God is something that has given me a lot more confidence. I used to be a quiet Christian. I have learnt so much from the Congolese about being put in impossible situations and knowing that God will find a way out.

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How do you sum up your time in Congo? When we were training at Crowther Hall they talked about ‘mission by being’. Relationships have been the most important thing for me. When I lived in Bukavu, a family I knew went to live in Kenya, leaving their older children behind. One of them, a girl called Vumilia who was 12, came to live with me for her teenage years. She now has five children and her mother and I are like co-grandparents. I also have more ‘family’ in Kalima. I receive regular text messages and emails from them. Having strong links in Congo is a great joy. You are involved in a project in Norwich working with Congolese refugees. What does this entail? Several refugee families from Congo have settled in Norwich. I have been involved in a volunteer scheme and have helped in schools. At the moment I am vis-

iting a Congolese family, trying to help them through illness and to learn English. Health visitors often ask me about health issues, customs and schooling in Congo. You must have lived through so many extraordinary events and seen so many changes in DRC during your time there. When I first went to Bukavu, Mobutu (president) was a dictator. The first thing the teacher said to me in my Swahili language class was ‘don’t mention the president’. There was no sense of freedom. There was a semblance of organisation, but people were living in fear. There were hard times when people started to rebel against Mobutu. Things were disorganised and other countries got involved, grabbing bits of Congo. Freedom came gradually with the introduction of democracy, including a new constitution and the vote in 2006.

amazing to see how people felt they had a voice. Now people are getting a bit disillusioned as they thought things would change more quickly. It has been a tremendous privilege to live through all this history. In the past two years universities are springing up like mushrooms. Technology is bringing both employment and empowerment, especially the mobile phone system. The church continues to be extremely useful in improving people’s lives. Because the church is the only thing that kept going during the war, it really does give people hope, energy and optimism. Prayer points:

The election was brilliant; it was

DR Congo is still recovering from Africa’s ‘’world war’’ in which millions died between 1998 and 2003 Eastern regions are still plagued by army and militia violence DR Congo hosts the UN’s largest peacekeeping mission

school in Lubumbashi, Australians from the English school, workers from World Vision, pastors from the Anglican Church and volunteers and children from Centre Kimbilio, who help out on Saturday afternoon. Once Maison Kimbilio has been built, the nine children who are based at Centre Kimbilio will be transferred to the new accommodation, enabling the project to support another group of vulnerable children in the city centre. The high cost of building is proving a challenge. Ian says: “Many people assume because it’s Africa, it’s going to be cheap to build, but in reality it is not. All the cement is imported, which increases the

cost. The sand, gravel and stones for the foundations are all dug out by hand, again increasing the costs. We are looking for other partners who are in a position to financially support the building work.” Centre Kimbilio is supported by CMS and the Congo Children Trust. The project celebrated its first anniversary in June 2010. Ian said: “Over the period we have built up a stable group of children and staff. Everyone is really working together well as a community. Seeing such a committed team is a real encouragement to me that this project will continue to work in the long term.” 5

4continued from front cover Another volunteer at Centre Kimbilio who co-ordinated the afternoon programme for the young people, Josue Manda, died tragically in a swimming accident on Sunday 28 November. Ian said: “This is a tragic event. Josue was a great guy, helpful, honest and fun to be with. It was a conversation with him back in 2006 which was influential in the initial planning of the Kimbilio project. He will be missed so much by us all. We are all still in shock.” A builder called Davide, two sub builders, a carpenter and a welder are working on the construction of Maison Kimbilio – supported by a regular work party that includes teachers from a Belgian


Centre Agape: bringing new life to the church CMS mission partner Judy Acheson has been pioneering youth work in Congo since 1980. She has helped to develop a training centre for youth leaders from all over the country - Centre de Formation des Encadreurs des Jeunes (CFEJ). Based in Mahagi, in the north-east of the Congo, CFEJ is now delivering groundbreaking work. It has also been officially recognised by the Government – cementing a growing partnership between the Anglican Church and the Ministry of Youth.

Judy was asked to spend two years at CFEJ by Bishop Ande Titre, president of the centre’s administrative board, to support the staff, develop its nationwide training courses (in partnership with the Ministry of Youth) and help it to become more financially independent. CFEJ recently merged with the further education Social Sciences college in Mahagi - the Institut Supérieur des Techniques d’Animation Sociale (ISTAS). Here Judy reports on progress: “CFEJ and ISTAS now function under one umbrella as the Centre Agape – with one leadership, one budget and one finance system.

“We are currently funded from overseas - enabling us to build an administrative block and a lecture block. We are also building a dormitory/hostel block for female students. “I moved here in September 2009 having handed over the national youth department for the Anglican Church to Bisoke (see page 2). It was hard to make the change – it was like a bereavement leaving behind a great team in Lubumbashi, and no longer visiting the different Diocesan youth leaders. “Settling into Mahagi where I had visited over the past 25 years but never lived was at one level great but at another level harder than

“How I found myself in Congo” Gill Brown describes standing on the shoulders of mission giant Pat Nickson Gill Brown’s passion to serve God in DR Congo began in early 2006 when she felt compelled to ask community health pioneer Rev Dr Pat Nickson, who at the time was associate vicar at Gill’s church, if she could go to the Congo with her. Pat’s reply was simple: “Welcome to the family”. Gill quickly found herself leading a CMS Praxis visit for ten people to the DRC.

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Through CMS’s SALT shortterm volunteer programme, Gill’s passion for the Congo has grown. Since 2006, she has been on several trips to the Congo to work at the Institut Panafricain de Sante Communautaire et Me-

expected. But I praise God for His plan for me to be here in this intermediate period of giving up the youth work and moving towards retirement in October 2011. It is enabling me to work through many emotions and gradually to take my hands off the work here. “The presence of the centre has brought new life into the Church. We praise God for this as that was one of the reasons God gave me for building CFEJ here in Mahagi. We are also having a major impact on Mahagi itself with our cyber café and printing department. The service is much appreciated and in great demand.” decine Tropicale (IPASC) in the north-east of the country. Pat founded IPASC in 1992 and dedicated much of her life to the ground-breaking institute which trains Congolese people in community health. Gill takes up the story: “I had been a widowed single mother and was working in a full-time job as a speech and language therapist. Just before retirement I had cancer twice. So I retired and thought I was relegated to crossstitch and knitting. I was doing voluntary work in the church office and I can only describe it as ‘being propelled up’ the stairs


Summary of CMS work and links in Congo Centre Agape (CFEJ/ISTAS) mission partner Judy Acheson

Mission partner Francesca Elloway Health Trainer

Bisoke Balikenga Provincial youth coordinator Timothy Fund Gill Brown SALT programme IPASC Trust/Chester Link

Ian Harvey Youth/Street children Project Kilimbio

Saturday 7 May: Southampton day conference: Shirley Parish Church of St. James, phone: 023 80 777 810, email: charlotte.plieth@doctors.org.uk September: Liverpool conference. Details to follow. 2-4 December: annual residential conference at High Leigh, Herts. Details to follow. into Pat’s office and found myself asking if I can go to the Congo with her. “ Tragically, Pat was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and died in April 2009. Gill found herself being what she describes as “a kind of stand in”. “I have always seen myself as a bridge between (IPASC) having Pat and losing Pat and the next step. And like any bridge it facilitates from getting to A to B but it isn’t necessarily part of the onward journey.” IPASC has recently appointed a new Congolese executive director, 35-year-old Wani Lumago. As IPASC enters a new era, Gill says

she feels confident that this is the right time to take a step back. Gill is also handing over the baton after two years as chairman of the Chester Dioceses Aru Boga Congo (ABC) Link mission to her deputy John Owens. The Chester ABC Link forges relationships between people in the UK and Congo. But Gill’s emotional involvement with IPASC will continue for a long time. She is currently on a threemonth visit to DR Congo along with visitors from Chester Dioceses. IPASC started with a staff of three and has grown to be both a highly respected university college and a vital part of the country’s community health provision.

It has birthed a network of primary health care centres, staffed by nurse practitioners, who in turn train up local people to be the first point of contact in the fight against sickness and disease. IPASC trains community health care workers to diploma and degree level – so that they can work in their communities. Training is a combination of classroom sessions and ‘hands on’ involvement through long-term outreach programmes – covering HIV/AIDS, primary healthcare, safe motherhood, safe water outlets, research and consultation and natural medicines.

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NEWS BRIEFS

MA NEWS BRIEFS

New nursing college A new nursing college in the Aru Diocese of northeast DR Congo, designed to help provide more well-trained nurses to serve the local communities, has opened its doors to its first intake of students. The college offers three-year degree level training courses for nurses.

Mid-Africa Conference November 2010 The Rev Canon Roger Bowen’s Bible readings on mission and worship were a big hit at the Mid-Africa conference held in Swanwick.Roger (pictured above) is well known to many of the delegates – having previously been general secretary of Mid-Africa Ministry and a mission partner in Burundi. Undeterred by the snow and wintry weather, more than 120 people gathered for the weekend event, which was packed with informative country sessions on Rwanda and Zambia, DR Congo and Burundi and Uganda - all interspersed with worship, Bible readings and prayer groups. Approximately £4,000 was raised at the conference for CMS work in Mid-Africa region. Former CMS mission partner Pat Moss said: “What did I enjoy most at Swanwick? Roger’s Bible readings - which I had been eagerly anticipating since last year. There were so many informative sessions and it was good to hear about Zambia. The music was great, as was the fellowship and awareness of ‘fam-

MA NEWS BRIEFS

ily’ which is always a special part of the conference.”

CMS Africa: an active ministry in the whole of Africa and beyond The African continent is ready to birth and receive indigenous African mission societies – one of which is CMS Africa, working in partnerships with other agencies, missionaries and local church leaders. That’s the message from CMS Africa’s international mission director Kofi de Graft-Johnson, who outlined his vision for CMS Africa at the Mid-Africa Conference in Swanwick – two years on from its creation. Kofi said: “CMS Africa is still in the process of making itself known to the church in Africa. As a newly formed organisation our focus has been on transforming minds and lives of people in the church of Africa – in three main areas: envisioning, equipping and mobilising the local church for both local and global mission. “Of course, envisioning started with CMS in the UK’s work in Africa more than 200 years ago, which has provided the impetus for CMS Africa to step out there to engage in mission with the local church.” But the challenge now is how to live out the gospel in the younger generation in Africa. “That is where CMS Africa comes in - by equipping the local church to be able to live out a mission gospel that transforms not only the mindset but transforms people, communities and nations,” says Kofi. Central to CMS Africa’s vision is the importance of building up local expertise and local resources to create what Kofi calls ‘local stories’ which are driven by Africans themselves. CMS Africa, in partnership with CMS UK, is also looking at developing a strategy for the African

MA NEWS BRIEFS

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continent – which expands its focus beyond east Africa and includes large areas in west Africa. Kofi explained: “We should have a CMS Africa which is not just focused in east Africa. For that reason we have deliberately kept an office in Cape Coast, Ghana, to provide a focus and drive into west Africa.”

Kofi (left) with Rev William Challis

In five years’ time Kofi hopes CMS Africa will have built an identity which has ‘buy in’ from the church in Africa (not just the Anglican Church), plus a willingness to support CMS Africa’s work. Kofi summed up: “We should be able to multiply CMS Africa’s success stories - including projects in the community, Vision conferences, and collaborations for evangelistic mission with youth and children ministries and have a CMS Africa which has an active ministry in the whole of Africa and beyond.” Read more about CMS Africa at www.cms-africa.org

Democratic Republic of Congo link organisations The Diocese of Winchester: www.winchester.anglican.org Chester/Aru ABC (Aru, Boga, Congo): www.chester.anglican.org Congo Church Association: www.congochurchassn.org.uk Prayer for Peace in Congo: www.prayerforpeaceincongo.co.uk

CMS is a mission community acknowledged by the Church of England. A company limited by guarantee. Registered in England and Wales, charity number 1131655, company number 6985330, registered office: CMS, Watlington Road, Oxford OX4 6BZ.

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Mid-Africa News Issue 1 2011  

Magazine about mission in the Great Lakes region from Church Mission Society

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