Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Part II: Questions and Answers

Here is part 2 in our questions and answers series. Keep the questions coming and we will keep producing the answers!

-          What is in it for us (i.e. how does this benefit a prayer or financial partner)?
o   In Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 Paul gives a list of gifts that the spirit equips the body of Christ with. Everybody has at least one, no one has all. We believe everyone has a call to ministry (a.k.a. missions). By joining us in this ministry (prayerfully, financially, etc.), you are able to directly make an impact in the Kingdom of God. In Matthew 25, Jesus says, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”. Later in Matthew 28 He gives us the Great Commission: “Go and make disciples of all nations” and expounds on all nations in Acts 1 “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” The remote areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo DEFINITELY qualify as “ends of the earth”. There are people in desperate need of the witness of Jesus, dying physically and spiritually. We cannot be witnesses of the Gospel independently. We must be      
inter-dependent on each other for support, encouragement and abilities. We cannot do what we have been called to do without the help and support of the body of Christ. As a team, as the body, we can be the example of true love He calls us to be.
-          Won’t you get anthrax?
o   While MAF prepares us for our journey, we are responsible for contacting the travel embassy to be prepared and up to date on any medical things (shots, medications, preventatives, etc.). We are fully aware of (and vaccinated for) such things as tuberculosis, yellow fever, hepatitis, tetanus, and measles. While there are diseases and infections by being exposed to strange people, we will have access to the medicine and equipment we need (we are near an airplane base). I think of it as going camping. I know if I forget my mosquito spray, I will be miserable! So, I will bring my mosquito spray and other medicine I need for an emergency.  “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days." (Proverbs 19:20)
-          Isn’t the Democratic Republic of Congo dangerous?
o   2 Timothy 2:8-10 “ Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead…for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.”
If we went to live in a different place like New York City, we must adapt our way of thinking to be safe and responsible inhabitants of that city NYC has riots, shootings, gang activity and other unfortunate events, yet millions of people continue to live safely. Life in Kinshasa (population ~10 million) will have challenges that will require the same adaptive thinking we would need in any other large city. MAF wants us to be prepared for the cultural differences and particular quirks of life in DRC. Part of our training includes two weeks of cultural training before our departure. Politically, things have begun to calm down since the country (formerly Zaire, formerly Belgian Congo, formerly something else) has become a democracy. Fortunately, our ministry uses the airplane as a tool, which we also can use to evacuate quickly as a last resort.
-          What will you eat?
o   Generally, I like to eat food (ha-ha!) We will be fortunate enough to live in the capital city of Kinshasa where the US Embassy is also located. We will have access to most American/Western products, but it will be a much higher cost. But in general, there will be lots of fresh fruit, much of it impossible to get fresh from the field in the US (bananas, passion fruit, mangos, etc.). There will be some local cuisine like goat dishes and “fu-fu” (a dumpling like dish). We must simply have open eyes and an eager palate!
-          Why does it take so long to get there?
o   It is important that we prepare for our journey as missionaries in body, mind, and spirit. Once we were accepted as missionaries, we were to prepare our hearts and spirit for this journey with our Ministry Partnership Process (funding the ministry as well as developing prayer partners). After we have a foundation of prayer and financial partners, we have our spiritual backing for our journey. In order to prepare our minds, we are sent to language school so that we will be able to help others in their language. Finally, we are to prepare our bodies with a final orientation/adaptation training as well as a final pilot training. MAF wants us to be fully prepared for our journey and they are very thorough in leaving no stone unturned. I could not image us being successful missionaries without being prepared. “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3). Because of the large list of qualifications and an environment that requires a high degree of technical proficiency, it takes the average MAF pilot 10 years of prepararation to be able to work safely in the mission field. Acceptance and training with MAF typically happens during the last two years of this 10 year period. We are within a year and a half of finally reaching the field.

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