a blog for the summer missions training team from Bethel Baptist Church

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Bridget's Bunia Blog 42

In their OshKosh B'Gosh denim dungarees, little girls look so cute. But it's Osh Kosh My Gosh on seeing bigger girls in tight-fitting denim jeans. The times and fashions they are a-changing here in Congo. President Mobutu's democratisation decree in the early 1990s permitted women to wear trousers. Some did so. Living in a border town with trade routes to Kampala, Nairobi and Dubai, and Bunia being a base for MONUC personnel, the Bunia women are very au fait with world fashions. Here, many women wear trousers. Some trousers are overtly worn, others are included as part of a sari trouser-and-chemise outfit, many of which are creatively designed and sewn by local seamstresses.

The young women have no problem with wearing trousers. But the men are undecided. 'Our culture is being changed!' 'It's the influence of the West!' 'All women who wear trousers are prostitutes!' Such a hot subject and so perfect for study in many courses at ISP.

The 3rd year students discussed the issue of dress in their Christianity and Culture class. What should a Christian wear? What does the Bible say and NOT say? How should you decide what to wear in such a time of change and possibility?

The 2nd year students were challenged to exegete Deuteronomy 22:5 "...a woman must not wear men's clothing," in the Bible Interpretation class. Does this verse say that female Christian students can't wear trousers?

And since everyone has such opinions on the subject, the chapter on clothing in the book 'Talking about Values' is a great vehicle for using the language of opinion: 'I think...' 'Personally, I believe....' 'Not everyone will agree with me, but....' in the conversation class.

However, I have observed many women keeping the letter of the law but certainly not the spirit. They may be dressed in locally-sewn clothes made from locally-purchased cloth, but the quantity of the cloth does not correspond with the width of the derrière. So, all you protesting male students, it's clearly not the type of garment which is involved but the intent of the female dressed in it.

As you take time to dress your body to make it attractive, Think about what to put on to dress your spirit.
Be clothed in:
A gentle spirit,
compassion, kindness, humility, patience, love,
spiritual armour of truth, righteous, peace, faith,
a new self in Christ Jesus.

These are the fashions that never change,
the colours and styles that suit everyone,
the beauty that never fades.



Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Team Roles

The following are the roles that were agreed upon at the team retreat, updated with your job descriptions:
Communication Coordinator - Lauren
Role on the team is to update the blog and send e-mail updates from overseas in order to keep family and supporters in the states connected with what we are doing and how we are doing as a team. It’s her job to write updates for the bulletin and church newsletters, and will take the lead on any bulletin boards or other promotional pieces. Additionally she will be sending e-mails to the team reminding them about meetings, deadlines, and commitments. Finally, she works with relationship manager to write thank-you notes from the whole team.

Kitchen Coordinator - Amber
Role on the team is to help with the preparation for meals, including organizing a set-up and clean-up crew for each meal served at the seminary. Also will be encouraging the team toward greater familiarization with the Bible memory verses, and will be a key person in coordinating the musical endeavors of the team.

Prayer Coordinator - Jess
Role on the team, based on the example in Colossians 4:2-4, is to highlight the importance of prayer, remind the team of specific necessity of prayer in ministry, and keep our obligation to bathe the trip in prayer at the forefront. Without prayer our efforts will be futile, because it is God who opens doors for the word and softens the hearts of people. She will be encouraging prayer individually and as a team, informing the church body of our prayer needs, and keeping a journal of how God answers prayer and works in our team.

Team Chaplain - Dan
Role on the team is to coordinate the devotions that will be held at the daily team meetings. He will work with the team leaders to come up with a general theme for the meetings, and subdivide that theme into 12 individual topics, prepare and distribute a schedule in advance of which team member will be leading each Bible study, and help facilitate the discussion. He will also seek to provide some guidance and resources to each team member to assist them in their preparation.

Team Encourager - Vicki
Role on the team is to lift the spirits of the group and individuals through words, actions, or special projects. She will be watching closely for pain (whether physical, emotional, or spiritual) and be sensitive to needs, helping the team to encourage one another and glorify God.

Team Peacemaker - Greg
Role on the team is to promote an environment proactively striving for peace and unity. In any sort of disagreement or strife, it will be the goal of the peacemaker to point the people involved to God’s ultimate glory through the conflict, to help them realize and deal with their own contribution to the conflict, and to come alongside people as they humbly and patiently confront one another and restore the relationships impacted.

Team Photographer - Brynne
Role on the team is to document each part of the trip visually. She will need to be aware of opportunities for group photos and also to capture our work in Bunia, as well as other good general shots. She will need to be highly sensitive of when it is and when it isn’t appropriate to take pictures before taking the camera out. She will also need to make sure that she has enough memory and film before we leave, to make the pictures available for the presentation to the church, and to get digital copies to the team.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Retreat Expectations

  1. Arrive at the church early enough to pull out at 4:30 PM on Friday.
  2. Arrange to cover the cost of 2 fast-food meals for the round-trip.
  3. Arrive at the resort between 9 and 10 PM on Friday.
  4. See list for what you should (and should not) bring.
  5. Expect communication from me regarding food.
Google map of the retreat location
Website of the retreat location

We expect to depart Williamsburg at 11:30 AM on Sunday, thus arriving back to Bethel sometime after 4:30 PM, but Greg and I have also made arrangements to be absent from our home group, just in case we are significantly delayed.

Packing List:
  • Pack everything ONE backpack (or backpack size bag).
  • Bring minimal clothing. (Suggestion: one full change of clothes, plus however much underwear and other "personal" garments you need.)
  • Bring a bathing suit if you would like to swim (outdoor pool, not heated)
  • Bring personal hygiene items. (Cosmetics won't be needed, we're not trying to impress anyone, and may have neither the time nor resources for them in Bunia.)
  • Bring the one food item that you have been called about.
  • Bring your Bible and Congo Notebook
  • Bring your Swahili flash cards and instructional papers, cultural handout, and English language training references.
  • We do not need any Personal Electronic Entertainment Paraphernalia. (General rule of thumb - if it requires a plug or batteries, it is not likely to work in Bunia, nor is it probably necessary.)
  • We do not need any bedding or towels.

Other notes:
  • Backpack - in order to go to Congo, you will need to have a simple backpack that serves not only as a daypack for carrying your essentials (like TP, hand sanitizer, water, Bible, teaching materials), but also for our excursion to the game park, which is likely to be via a matatu (dinky little van) in which luggage space is limited to what you can hold in your lap and what will fit under your knees. That being said, I understand that some of you have not had time this week to search out such a bag. I do have a couple that would be suitable, and I am willing to lend them for the weekend. As an alternative, you may consider using a bag that is comparable in size to a backpack such as what I described. Not a rolling suitcase carry-on, not a dufflebag big enough for a field hockey stick, but something that will fit on your lap on under your knees.
  • Homework - yes, there will be a block of time in which you can work on some homework, and no, I wouldn't consider that the materials you need to complete that work should constitute a portion of the very limited luggage space you have been apportioned. We will assess the situation upon arrival at church and figure out the best way to ensure that there is space aboard for your homework supplies and textbooks.


Sunday, April 15, 2007


Director of ISTB, the seminary in Bunia which was organized over 40 years ago by AIM, Crossworld (then UFM), WEC, the Brethren, and WorldVenture (then CBFMS). He has a doctorate from Kwazulu Natal University in South Africa. He is a godly man and a visionary. He turned down a lucrative teaching job in South Africa when the ISTB asked him to lead the seminary even though Bunia was still in the middle of the war. Gregg says he deserves a medal.

The team will be staying in the guest house of the seminary.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bridget's Bunia Blog 41

"Hey, Jesus, come and look at this!" said the angles as they peered over the edge of heaven to see what was happening below. "Isn't that just great? Those young people are having a ball."
Jesus leaned over to get a good look at the group of young teens singing their number at the Easter service at Yambi-Yaya Church.
"That's a far better way of memorising Scripture than when we were small Jewish boys rocking ourselves to get everything in our heads. The Africans have really got a sense of rhythm. I don't think we Jewish boys could have done it in that way," said Jesus with a smile.
"Look, even that little tyke over there is having a go. He hasn't quite got the steps right, but it's impressive for one so young," laughed Angel Bright.
"I suppose they watch a lot of those music videos with the dance routines these days. The music is so loud! Isn't it a bit questionable as to incorporating those movements and gyrations into sacred music?" asked Angel Snivel.
"But it works. Listen. The words are those which Matthew and Luke wrote. We can't dispute them. And the actions are so appropriate. They're showing the cross and the open tomb...." Bright rebutted.
"That part is really effective when they sing 'The women came and were amazed' and then pause," enthused Angel Vision. "I'd give it 10 out of 10. Dix points."
"The humans seem to like it," Angel Bright remarked. "They're really applauding and hooting. A real hit."
"Well done, guys," said Jesus. "Just don't forget to Walk the Walk as well as Talk the Talk."