Tuesday, January 29, 2008

We have all arrived safe and a little travel weary in Kigali, Rhwanda.

We got here at 10 pm; their time; 3 pm Indiana time.

Brenda and Ed have done us well and we are all grateful.

We have arrived at the Iris Guest House and getting a lemonade to drink and some bottled water.

Here is my little hang out!

Stay tune for more coming later. We will leave in the morning for Bukavu, Congo on a 25 passenger bus.

I am sure it will be quite a ride!

Shalom! and God Bless


Monday, January 28, 2008

Well we are off to Congo! Sort of, we are at the Chicago airport with a two hour delay to Brussels. Everyone is doing fine; talking, eating, drinking and waiting for the plane!

Keep praying for us; Brenda has her hands full with the six of us guys! Mick has especially been a handful, make sure you ask him about the pajama escapade when you see him in a couple of weeks.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Tracy's Heart House NEW FROM ED BUELL

1:40 PM Tuesday, January 22, 2008 – Missionary House, Bukavu
Well it has been a very busy time since I last wrote. I learned one very disappointing thing on Sunday evening. The people in Tracy’s Heart Center have not moved out yet. It is a long story and I will mention some of later but it would prove to be an issue which would slow us down a lot. On Monday the 14th I met with the members of the Executive Committee to work out the arrangements for us using the house for Tracy’s Heart Center. We worked out the main details of the agreement so we could move forward. We will rent it for $500 per month which is at least $500 less than we could find any other property. It is more than they could get otherwise so we both get helped out a little. Of course we are making the repairs. Over time the house will be restored to good condition.

After that I went hunting for things we would need for the house. It took the rest of the afternoon to find just a few necessary things but we got several things to make life easier for the guests coming in on Wednesday. Buying things here is a real challenge. You make your list then start going from place to place where you think you might find some things, then you go to places you don’t think will have it and it comes out about 50-50. That is, you find about 50% of what you are looking for and find it about 50% of the time where you think it should be. I’ll be glad when we get settled in and I don’t have to have too many more big shopping days!!! That evening I had to get ready for the trip to Kigali to meet the first group from Rochester, IL.

Tuesday I got up about 3:30 AM. The internal clock was still ticking a little out of time. Must be a cuckoo clock! We left about 7:45 for the border to go on to Kigali. After going across we took a small taxi up to the bus stop and got our tickets. They told us the bus was waiting for us but it really hadn’t even arrived yet. Go figure! I got 3 seats for JP and me to share so we would have more room. The seats were only $7 each so it wasn’t too bad. We did get placed in the back but good old Dramamine kept my stomach settled. It is a very winding road and being in the back can be bad. While there we had the chance to set up a plan to rent a bus just like that one for the return trip. It holds 25 people so we had to pay for 25 seats which came to $165. With all of our bags and people we pretty well filled it up. Just a small car costs $100 to $120. We would have required 2 cars at least so this was cheaper and much more comfortable. We will do the same for the other group as well. For a 6 hour trip it works out pretty well.

We made it fine to Kigali about 2 PM or so. After a long ride it was nice to sit on something that didn’t move. We got our rooms arranged and made plans for the next morning to pick up the work crew at the airport at 9:30 AM. We took a taxi there and had arranged for the bus to pick us up but after waiting for about an hour and no bus we finally took another fancy one. That was 40 bucks to the hotel but at least we were there. They arrived with 10 bags. There were originally 5 guys coming but one had to drop out at the last minute. Unfortunately the ticket was totally non-refundable. But when the group got on the plane in Chicago they showed the ticket to the agent and, though she couldn’t give them anything for the ticket itself, she did not charge them for the overweight bags or the two extra ones they had. It was a nice help. It could easily have cost them as much as $500.

After a nice lunch at the hotel, we hired a small van to take us to see some wells the church in Rochester had paid to have drilled in Rwanda, not too far from Kigali. It took about 30-40 minutes to drive to the village. Once there we had to begin finding someone who could tell us where the wells might be. One young boy got in with us on the road and took us to the home of an official. No one was there. We went on to another place they said he would be and we found him at a funeral. It must have been finished as he also got in with us and took us on a little bit of a ride. After a while of him asking people various questions and directions we started out going out into the bush area. But the more we went to more it seemed like he was just leading us around nowhere. After a while JP, our friend with us from Congo, also realizes something was wrong and he took him aside and ask some questions. It finally came out that one of the two wells in the village area was not working. He was apparently afraid to tell them that so he was stalling, maybe hoping we would go away. So he decided to take us there. After driving through some pretty back country, we left the van and started out on foot. We walked for a good while, constantly going downhill to the lowest point in the valley where they could get to the water when they drilled. After looking things over for a while and trying to figure out why it was not working, we asked if the other one worked and if we could see it. They said yes and after some discussion to be sure the way there, we went back to the van and headed out. I made the mistake of asking if we could walk to the other well or if we would take the van. They we would take the van and I realized later they thought by asking the question I meant we were too tired to walk. So we drove through some very questionable place and got all the way there. Anyway, we made it and everyone was happy to see a working well.

After getting back to the hotel we had dinner and all headed into sleep. Of course for these guys sleep would not come as schedules are way off. It is 8 hours different than central time and though it makes little sense, what usually happens to us is that we go to sleep at 10 PM and by 1 to 2 AM we are awake and can’t go back to sleep. Then of course, at 6 am we are ready to sleep. But, we did all make it for breakfast at 7 AM and got on our way to CONGO at about 7:30. But of course, the bus had not put gas in yet so we had to wait while fuel was purchased and then we started on our way. Good trip, saw a few monkeys, the guys had some goat skewers, we bought some samosas (small triangular meat pies which are deep fried) and after a couple of potty breaks we made it to the border at about 2 PM. We had no problem crossing the border and went to the Nguba Church for a greeting by the church leaders and local Christians.

Following the short welcoming meeting, we went to the missionary house for a meal with the Executive Committee and their spouses and JP and Esperance. We had 14 chairs and 14 people. It was a good time of sharing together and helping to confirm our unity. Even now all we have are the plastic chairs like people have outside at home sometimes. They are pretty comfortable at least. We have a dining table, no couch or easy chairs, nothing else except our beds, one wardrobe, one cabinet and one dresser.

We had to move one bed which meant taking it apart so we could get it through the door. From Kigali I sent word to the house worker to move one of the beds from one room to another. They did it but misunderstood what I wanted and ended up putting it into a very small musty little cubby hole. Communication is sometime really hard. But nothing lost, just re-done to get it the way we wanted it.

The house looked pretty rough, and still does but progress is being made as we have painting done, a new kitchen sink built, a new toilet installed, a couple of windows replaced, floors patched, etc.

5:40 AM Friday, January 25, 2008 – Missionary House, Bukavu

Getting to the Internet CafĂ© has been harder than expected so far, mostly because in the evening when I usually would go I still have people coming to the house to talk about various needs. We have decided we will take time to go today so I have a lot to write. Hope you don’t get too tired of reading.

When we talked to the church leaders again last Friday they conformed we could not yet get into Tracy’s Heart. So they guys started here by ripping out the old sink and a cabinet in the kitchen. They were built out of cement and wood. The cement had begun to crumble and the wood had rotted so it all had to be replaced. I sent out an order for a guy to bring me 3000 bricks and a load of 6 metric cubes of sand. It took most of the day for sand to arrive because on the way here the truck had a flat tire and had to get it repaired. Oh, life in Congo!!!

We also have several guys here painting the outside of the house for us. Actually, the main part is getting whitewash. It makes it nice and white and clean looking and should last for a good while. They have also painted all the window trim, put new glazing on (of sorts), and painted the steel bars on the doors and windows. They had to take the old screens off which were in terrible shape. The group form Terre Haute should be bringing some screen wire to replace them. So progress is being made. The guy building the new kitchen sink has been pretty slow but finally got the sink reset today, Friday, and should finish up the rest of the cement base of the counter top today. Then it will need to have tile put on over it to make a nice final finish. The front looks more like a barbeque grill with the brick showing but to me it looks just fine. They will put some sort of sealer on the bricks to keep water from soaking in. These bricks are very soft and extremely absorbent.

I am trying to get this journal written but I have a lot of people coming to see me so it really hard to get it done. They all have legitimate needs and it is hard to hear them and be able to help. I will talk about it more later but one of the hardest things the Lord has given me to do is to help them take their eyes off of us and onto God. The fastest thing would be to hunt for funds to cover most of their needs but it is both impossible to meet all the needs and it is not in their best interest in the long run. But getting that across to them is very hard. I am sure it would be to me as well if I were hurting like they are. I am not angry but I have to stand firm on the right way to deal with things so eventually it can work out well. Please pray for God to keep me strong and yet with compassion for really hurting people.

The work group is really working over at Tracy’s Heart the last few days. The people living there have not moved out but they have agreed to let us get into the house and begin work. They took out the kitchen sink and cabinets and are building a new one, similar to the one you see above. It will be a little bit larger. They have already been able to replace the ceilings in two other rooms outside the main house and paint them, put in electric wiring, etc. Today they are also taking out the old bathtub and we will see what we can do to put in a shower instead which will take much less water. Then we will need to do a lot of painting and replace a few boards on the fascia and replace the rest of the house wiring. Once the kitchen sink is in it will make the rest of the work go much faster. There will still be plenty to do at Tracy’s Heart for the Terre Haute crew. I am looking forward seeing what it will look like after a few days of cleaning and painting!!!

That is what I have for now. God bless and please keep praying.

Yours in Christ, Ed

Ed Buell
Field Coordinator - DR Congo
ACM International
619 Washington Ave.
Terre Haute, IN 47802
Office Phone - 812-238-2883
Cell Phone - 812-240-1902

Sunday, January 13, 2008

"the Unit" from EPIC Community at Maryland Community Church will being going to Bukavu, Dem. Rep. of Congo on Jan. 28 and returning Feb. 13. The group is composed of myself, Mick Adams, Dutch Gunyon, Paul Robinson, Dennis Rehmel and Jim Vaughn. We will join Ed and Brenda Buell of African Christian Mission on the Tracy's Heart project.

Watch this blog for ongoing details in the trip. We will be helping to remodel two homes. One is for the actual rape victims of a past war and the other is a home for mission personnel.

Here is some information on Bukavu that will be helpful in your praying:

check this out www.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bukavu

This city lies next door to Kilgali, Rwanda where one of the greatest genecide efforts in the world took place. The women of Bukavu were victims of this war as the city sheltered many refugees from Rwanda.

Tracy's Heart is going to be a home where victims from the 16,000 rape victims can find a place of healing and help with their lives.

Monday, January 07, 2008

A Historical Moment

Sunday January 6th will be a spiritual marker for me. After twenty years of prayer and making every effort to make strides for Christian unity in Terre Haute an amazing moment materialized! We had people from twenty different protestant churches worshiping with Catholics in a Catholic Church! We sang, prayed and testified as one.

God moved a worship leader from Ireland, Catholic and Charismatic to come to Terre Haute and work with St. Joseph's University Parish. Cormac O'Duffy has been an answer from God to many of us who have been praying every Tuesday morning for unity and the city-wide Church in Terre Haute.

Cormac's experience in the United Kingdom gave him a real hunger and thirst for some gatherins where singing and praise took place with any church who would like to join together. He took it upon himself to work with his pastor Fr. Richard Kaley about just such a gathering.

We had about 400-450 people gather in a remarkable experience of a mixed choir and musicians with various worship leaders and testimony givers. Wow, it was awesome! It had front page coverage on the Tribune-Star this morning.

I am thrilled about what this step of unity will accomplish for the future of the Church of Terre Haute!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Great Debaters

I love a good movie! "The Great Debaters" is a great movie. If you want to not only be entertained but challenged to live better, this movie is worth far more than the the money and time it will cost you.

I was greatly moved by the facts of history this movie gave me along with the great motivation to live a life that counts. The Wiley College debate team overcomes huge obstacles, odds and a violent world to win a historic victory. I won't give away the details but wow, some of the lessons I can't help but shout!

1) "You have to do what you have to do in order to do what you want."

The high value of discipline and great deal of work and pain it takes to be great and not just good is one of the brightest colors in this movie.

2) Injustice can be overcome, and not just with violence.

We live in a violent world filled with the temptation to be violent in response. This movie reminded me of the brush stroke of non-violence and its power to paint a different picture from what we are seeing.

3) Never give up! Pain and defeat are only motivations to keep doing what you know is right.

So many opportunities to quit in life, so little room for success! I am so afraid of failing sometimes it stops me from starting. I hate not finishing! This movie will encourage you to finish what you start in spite of difficult obstacles.

4) Passion is powerful in communicating truth!

You will just have to see it to know what this means!

5) God can take the worst in us and shape it for His best. The most troublesome student can turn out to be a world changer!

Ditto, won't give it away.

Are there more you ask, probably so, go watch it, I will see it again. Let me know what you things touched and challenged you.