Dear Steve, Lynne, Jamie, and Liam:
I'm writing to you from Kinshasa, Dem. Republic of the Congo. We arrived today from Addis Ababa. In Addis Ababa, I met the brother of Bikembe. Motumbe, the 15 year 7'2" All-Star NBA Center. His name is Tchetombe. He's only 6' 7". He is a great guy and owns a TV station over here. He's going to film us tomorrow or Friday meeting with the Secretary General of the Presbyterian Church in the DRC. He also lives in Germantown, Maryland 6 months out of the year. So, we may get together back home and go fishing or golfing a Manor. What ever?
We're planning our trip out to Lubondai. We'll fly out to Kananga, West Kasai Province. Then, we're going to drive a fixed up Toyota Landcruiser down to Lubondai. Hopefully, we'll be able to begin a partnership with the Christians there and focus our efforts on rebuilding a Hydroelectric Plant on one of the canals that is 6 kilometers away. It's going to be a $750,000 project. So, it's going to take a few years. But, all looks well so far!
The people here are very, very poor. I am reminded of all the impoverished places I went to when I was doing my mission work some 20 years ago. We know that the poverty and suffering will be greater once we leave Kinshasa. However, the poverty here is something that words cannot describe.
We visited a wonderful woman who is the sister of our main guide ,Melanie Bakabimona, tonight. Our main guide is named Muebelayi ("Andre"). He's really cool and is going to get us out there and through all the Army checkpoints, etc. Yes, they have those here and the soldiers are apparently pretty hard on travellers...wanting money to let traveler's go by on the roads, etc. But, we'll be OK. They don't shoot people. They just try to scare people...especially Americans (and not because our President is George Bush)...but because they know we're supposed to have money. They are so poor. It's really sad.
We have been mobbed by street children and others who beg for one American dollar, which goes a long way here. It really tugs at one's heart strings. I don't have any single dollar bills left. I purposely had some with me because I knew that I was going to be too weak not to give them some. The rest of my money is safe elsewhere.
Please pray for me and for John Metzel and his 82 year old father, the Rev. Bill Metzel. Boy is he a trooper! I can hardly keep up with him.
Also, my foot is holding up surprisingly well. No pain and only a little swelling. No limping. I am really amazed. God definitely has his hand on me and those who are with me.
Well, I hope that you are able to see Mom. I sure can't right now. But, will visit her when I return with all of my stories. I'm taking a lot of photos.
Got to go. I hope that this gets to you.
I love you all, very, very, very much!