Hello friends. Just a quick note to let you know Sonia and I are still here in our little (well not SO little-Lubumbashi counts 3 million inhabitants!) corner of the DR Congo.
We had hoped geopolitical isolation would be in our favor in this part of the world, but apparently the coronavirus has a passport full of entry visas. The government here announced late Wednesday evening a moratorium on any meetings of more than 20 people and the closing of all educational institutions for the next 4 weeks. Fortunately our English congregation is part of a larger church that has a robust social and local media presence and we will broadcast our services on the internet and on the church's local radio and TV channels each Sunday. We are no longer in the Africa of former days where in Ghana in 1987 the only connection we had with the outside world was by a scratchy booked 3-minute phone call at the local post office in the capital city of Accra.
We did have to close our Bible institute 2 weeks early and we had just opened the BA-level school 3 days before the announcement by President Félix Tshisekedi, so we are disappointed with that unexpected change of plans. This hiatus from our normally hectic schedule allows us to breathe a bit and get some back-logged administrative work done so we will not be sitting on our hands, believe me.
Today is my 65th birthday, and to our great surprise a group of 11 people on our ministry team for the English congregation came to see us in our home. I have not been feeling well all week and they were concerned about their pastor. They brought cake and sang Happy Birthday in 3 languages! These are precious people who make our lives richer with their presence. "Of whom the world is not worthy" as the writer of Hebrews says.
Please continue to pray for us. Your partnership in the work here is critical. After 33 years we have lived through floods, malaria dreams, an attempted coup, and enough surprises to fill our memories so our intention is to stay the course and see how the Lord will make a way for us. May there be a pandemic of creativity rising from His church to "accomplish the greatest evangelism the world has ever seen."
Bill and Sonia Shaw