Archdeacon Patrick Bamber sent this update on the first week in Kindu with the team of three from CMSI link parish of Calry.
We have been in Kindu for one week. Staying with Archbishop Masimango and Mama Naomi we have been very well looked after. Their spacious home is in a compound just outside the centre of the city. We are very comfortable here, but there is no running water and only partial mains electricity.
The first four days was taken up with a youth convention held in the Borea Bible School, about 5 km away on the other side of the wide River Congo. The first day was a 3.5 hour open-air robed service under waving palm trees. Its huge length was because of multiple youth choirs. I preached, with translation into Kiswahili.
The second day was a gathering of more modest length. This time both Tammy and Gus shared, which was a delight to hear! I preached again. The third day, Saturday, we brought our huge haul of generously donated football kits from a Calry parishioner and his club (over 8 teams' worth). There was great excitement as these were distributed. Two intense football matches followed to general delight!
The final day of the convention was a closing service of Holy Communion that lasted a mere 3 hours. The Archbishop asked me to issue an appeal at the end of my sermon. It was the final instalment of Acts 16 - Paul and Silas in Phillippi and the jailer's conversion. 40-50 people came forward for re-commitment or first time commitment. It was very moving.
Unfortunately, neither Gus nor Tammy were able to come on the Sunday as they were both unwell. By Monday Gus was much improved, but Tammy less so. A doctor was quickly found and after some medication and rest Tammy was much improved.
At Elila Archdeaconry (about 30 km from Kindu) we were given a typically enthusiastic welcome before eating something in the Archdeacon's home with other clergy and their wives. Visits to several schools was encouraging as I could see what improvements have recently been made, while recognising what more needs to happen.
People are friendly and keen to exchange a few words of conversation. And we have experienced some tremendous generosity. The Archbishop has been an excellent host and has fascinating stories and insights into the context in Congo and the wider Anglican Communion.
Thank you so much for your prayerful support and interest.