Down but not Out!

On my way to Uvira (you-veer-a) Mbirima and I receive word as we were about to travel from Kigali, Rwanda to the Congo border, that Uvira was under attack.  Bullets were flying as rebel forces advanced upon the city.  Everyone was shut up in their home, including the wife of Mbirima, Alice, who is 9 months pregnant.  There was no way to reach the city.

OK.  Plan B. Let’s go to the border, a six hour cramped bus ride, and wait to see if things calm down.  Well, the rebels were pushed out but then the city was crawling with UN and Congolese soldiers, some of whom were looting homes even though they were supposed to be there to protect the Congolese people.  TIA (this is Africa).  The immigration officer did not want to take responsibility for allowing me to enter a dangerous place.  It was a great disappointment to me and many others who had traveled there waiting for the three day seminar to begin.

The best we could do was to bring a couple of the key leaders to the border town in Rwanda named Kimembe.

Bukavu, Congo. My view from across the river. No doubt the homes of the wealthy there.

I felt like Moses on the mountain top able to see the promised land but not able to enter.  Here I was a stones’ throw away from Congo, ready and willing to go in, but I did not step one foot there.  If I had come the week prior as I had originally planned perhaps I would have been right in the middle of all those bullets!

I had to ask the question:  “Why Uvira?”  Why, out of all the places in Congo, did that rebel group decide to attack one day before I was to enter? Perhaps the principalities in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12) wanted to stop what God had planned.  It could not have been about me but about what God wanted to do.  We were down but not out!

As my two brothers traveled from Uvira they missed the first bus only to discover that it had been held up by bandits.  Everyone was robbed!  Sometimes they strip the people naked and send them on their way!  Even the bus driver, driving naked!  Before they reach town they send for someone to bring them all clothes.  Can you imagine this white man riding in a jammed packed bus stark naked?  No, please don’t.

Baguma, me, Mbirima, and Bosco

We had a great time with Mbirima, Bosco, and Baguma.  They were so hungry and thankful for the teaching, and plan to return and share with the others what they have learned.

It seems the Lord is opening many doors and our ministry is growing.  Not only do we have a church in Uvira of about 30 people, all of whom are committed to making disciples and doing Discovery Bible Study, but we have Bosco in Bukavu (South Kivu) who is also starting new groups.  Among the people in Uvira is a former witch doctor who gave his life to Christ and is committed to going great distances to start DBS groups.  Doors are also opening in Rwanda as Mbirima was invited to come teach at the refugee camp there and train others to do DBS.  On his way home Mbirima went to meet with a man who is also hungry for God in Bujumbura, Burundi, a small nation to the east of Congo.

About 35 years ago I was prayed over by a friend and mentor of mine, Ralph Torres.  He prayed Psalm 2:8 over me:  “Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth as your possession.”  I have been praying that prayer for 35 years and look at what God is doing.  I am humbled.  I’m just a little guy with a heart to be used by God, and He has chosen to reach some through me that otherwise might never have been reached.  If we all do our part, discover our calling, and make disciples as we were commanded to do, I believe we will advance the second coming of the Lord.  Are you in?

Kivu Lake near our lodge
Motorcycle taxis abound! I actually rode on one in Kigali.
Beautiful tea fields of Rwanda

20 thoughts on “Down but not Out!”

  1. Hi Kevin,
    Talk about adventure and living on the edge!! Africa at what its good at!! good to hear you are safe!! keep it there and skirt all the trouble spots!!
    I am in Cuamba, driver mearly took us out 3 times on the road as he fell asleep, I jerked the steering wheel otherwise we would have been scrap iron!! met up with some south africans here so its not soo alone , enjoying the place and to eat normal food!! well keep up good work and make progress report when you can all the way up to Portland God Bless John.

    1. Sounds like you had a bit of adventure yourself! Will definitely keep in touch. Are coming back to Lichinga any time soon? I plan to be back January 10th. God bless you my friend.

  2. Hi Bro,
    Prayed for you, a lot! Glad you and your friends are okay. What an adventure! I tried to WhatsApp while you were in Rwanda. Are you home now? Try to connect with me on WhatsApp when you can.
    Loved the story, the challenge, and the pics.
    Love you,

  3. As always my heart is full of joy after reading this! Joy because you are safe, joy because God is using you in such a powerful way. Good to see you last night on Skype! TY! Glad you still have your clothes! I love you son!

      1. You would have been in good company with Paul too, since he was in perils of robbers and “nakedness”. Maybe he took a bus in Africa too.

  4. Praise the Lord you are safe brother – reminds me of how the Spirit forbade Paul at times:

    “When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.” – Acts 16:7

    His ways are higher, I need to remember that. Lord bless you.


  5. Thank God all is well! Certainly you and the others face danger on every side—thank the Lord for fruitfulness in the midst of it. We do keep you in our prayers. Blessings, Cuz—glad you still have your clothes! 😛

  6. Dear Kevin,

    You and Katherine are saints! I’m so proud of both of you and we will be forever friends. It sounds like God had other plans besides Congo but he always uses you nevertheless. Keep up the great work bringing the gospel of love to those beautiful people!

    We love you both dearly and pray for you! ❤️🙏

    Sheryl xoxo

  7. I’m glad you aren’t bored over there. The political scene in Africa is always tenuous at best. Praying for your safety. Cora needs to hear these stories from her Grandpa when she is older. See you soon.

  8. Hi, Kevin,

    So glad to read of the good things God is doing in spite of the attacks of the enemy.

    We hope you get to go and be with Katherine soon. We had such a good time staying overnight and talking half the night.

    Shalom in all you do,

    Paul and for Cheryl

  9. Hello Kevin!
    Thanks for this vivid account of this exciting episode. I’m so grateful you and Mbirima are working together again. I’m sure the other two brothers are as amazing as the two of you. We just had an incredible time ministry in Africa but not nearly as eventful as you guys.
    It’s so exciting to hear these good reports of discipleship and DBS taking hold in the churches. Keep up the good work. I would say “stay safe” but there is nothing safe about taking the gospel to the world. How about, “stay faithful.”
    All our love to You, Kathrine, Mbirima and Alice.

    Under the Same Wings,
    Billy (for Donna too)

    1. Hi Billy, good to hear from you. Yes, it’s great to be reunited with Mbirima. God is using that man in a great way. I am always claiming Genesis 15:1. He is my “shield and my exceedingly great reward”. love you both so much.

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