|I want to share about the events of the past few months.|
The Prime Minister (PM) wanted to see me back in February while we were still stateside. Therefore, we had tentatively set a date to meet after our return to Congo on April 20. I was uncertain of the reason for his wanting to see me?!
Sunday, the 21st, I got a call from his adviser who had contacted me to begin with and who wanted to confirm that we were back in Congo and that I would be available the following week. On Tuesday, I got another call telling me to come to the PM's office at 5 p.m. The meeting was with the Minister of Public Works, the Director of the Road Office and the PM's adviser and me.
The PM asked the Minister to speak first. He gave a brief resume of how he had come to Lodja and seen our work on the Bena Dibele and Lomela roads, how impressed he was and how surprised at the little amount of money we had been given to do the job!! When he was done the PM asked me to explain how I had been able to give such excellent results with so little money and explain generally my perspective on how we could repair the primary roads throughout the Congo and open up the country like it used to be??
|A washed out road|
I felt the anointing of the Lord as I shared the vision that I have for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the road infrastructure throughout the Congo to put it back into pre-independence condition. I emphasized that 95% or more of the dirt roads could be repaired and maintained by hand which would employ local people and create work for Congolese instead of the Chinese, Americans and Europeans as is the case when we try to use imported heavy equipment.
I could tell as I talked that he was being captured by my vision and being touched by my passion. When I was done and he had asked a few questions, he hesitated, then turned to the others and said conclusively, "This is how we are going to re-create our road infrastructure!" He then turned to me and spread out a map of the entire Congo and showed me the red roads which are the National Road network and ask me, "How many of these would you be willing to take responsibility for repairing and maintaining??"
|Mud hole mid-road|
I told him that I was willing to do all I could, but needed us to lay out some of the priorities and establish a practical time-line and strategy that would allow us to proceed and succeed. I mentioned in passing that, "If I still had the airplane that was requisitioned during the war, I would be able to coordinate the work over a very large area". He asked for details and I explained how our plane was taken and never returned or paid for. He wanted to know for sure if I was a pilot myself and did I fly myself, which I confirmed. He then said, "We will buy an airplane to replace the one that was taken"!
The rest of the week was a whirlwind, meeting two additional times with him, once just the two of us and his adviser for more than an hour! I have now been featured twice on national television and Lodja is abuzz. We have ironed out the contract that we will use for all of the roads, identified more than 2000 kilometers that will be our priority work.
During our meeting alone he gave me his phone number and asked for mine. He insisted that I should see him as a partner and call anytime I need to.
|A road taking shape!|
We signed our first contract with the Road Office on Thursday night late, 11:30 p.m., that following week.
Some have asked me how this fits into our vision for ministry and the advancement of God's Kingdom. We are standing in amazement at how the Lord has taken the challenges of working on the roads at Lodja, our faithfulness in that as well as all the opposition and accusations, and brought so much good out of them.
In the course of our visits I have been able to share my testimony and have found that the PM seems to be a committed Christian. Our involvement in the road work was always a way to contribute to the development of our area and gain a platform for sharing the Gospel. God now seems to have expanded that platform to a national level!
In my mind, one of the most significant aspects of this whole development is that the Director of the Road Office and his entire staff had shared with others that if I did not "co-operate" with them I would never get another road contract, either to repair or to maintain! The roads we fixed out of Lodja were being parceled out to others who were willing to pay kickbacks and pass envelopes under the table. Even many of those close to me kept wondering in private whether my policy of absolute honesty was possible to maintain in this environment?? Now almost in the bat of an eye, not only have we been given back the roads we already worked on, but I have been asked to take on the task of rebuilding much of the national road system, without paying a single bribe or kickback!! Righteousness has prevailed in a land where it seems to rarely do so!
How does this qualify as ministry?? All that week in April there was the clear evidence of the working of the Holy Spirit in every aspect. God has forged a rapport, if not friendship, with the second highest authority in the land. We have been given the opportunity to undertake one of the most vital aspects of the development of an entire nation, that will make possible and facilitate commerce, education, agriculture, public health and medical work, evangelism as well church planting. Nothing else that we could do here would have the same potential of affecting the daily lives of so many millions of people so profoundly.
|Roads are essential to life in the Congo|
We will be spreading the nation's resources to tens of thousands of rural people with employment rather than the resources being misappropriated and stolen. We are saving the national treasury tens of millions of dollars and making possible again a road system that they could never otherwise afford. God has confounded the unrighteous and dismantled a nationwide system of corruption in the Road Office. We are being allowed to reward those who are willing to work faithfully with their due recompense.
Does any of that sound like ministry to you? It is as though we are being given by God the most amazing opportunity to enhance and enable every sphere of work and ministry that missionaries in the Congo have ever been a part of. If this is not ministry, then nothing is!
Our prayer to God now is for wisdom and discernment in organizing and carrying out this enormous task. Please, pray also for our protection from the forces of evil. We do not take lightly the strongholds that we are dismantling or the towers of refuge we are building. Pray for our humility to go with the courage, vision and passion he has given us to do this. God has brought this to pass and God must enable us to do this in the manner that will most glorify Him! We are giving Him all the glory!
Paul and Marty Law