Ministry is not, typically, something we can do alone. We need relationships with partners who will come alongside us, support us, and encourage us. Jesus knew this and, “Calling the twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.” (Mark 6:7) The Rev. Bisoke Balikenga and his wife, Furaha, have gone out “two by two,” supporting and working alongside one another. They are partners in marriage, in faith and in their service to their community in Bunia, Ituri Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, beyond the support and camaraderie two working together can draw from one another, they need support from the Church—from those of us who (although we are unable to walk beside them on the mission field) can support them from afar, through our financial contributions and prayers. With this in mind, Holy Trinity Windermere invites you to join us, as we partner in ministry with Bisoke and Furaha Balikenga.
The town of Bunia now hosts three camps for displaced people who are fleeing their villages and countryside to escape civil war, human atrocities, starvation, and devastation. The ISP camp and Kolomani camp, east of Bunia, have 25,000 families and 13,000 families, respectively. The third camp is seven miles west of Bunia, and has 6,000 families. Bisoke and Furaha have developed two organizations to help: the Bunia Children’s Hope Center (BCHC), founded in 2004, which educates orphans and places them in foster care; and The Peace Center, a site near the third camp, which provides ecumenical church services, counseling, reconciliation seminars, education, housing for the most vulnerable and food, when available.
What is our part in this?
In January, Holy Trinity Windermere formed a committee to discern God’s call to us in this partnership. Thus far, we have been expanding our partnership by sharing the story of Bisoke and Furaha and their people through updates and prayer requests. We have also been actively listening as the Holy Spirit urges us to do more. With Bisoke and Furaha’s input we have identified two physical needs, which involve fundraising. Here are the opportunities before us:
Provide funding for a well for the BCHC
• Currently, the school buys barrels of water at a cost of $100 each, to ensure safe water on the school grounds for drinking and washing hands.
• One water tank lasts three to seven days.
• Two wells are needed at the school, but our goal is to fund at least one at a cost of $11,500.
• We have approached Water Mission. However, they do not serve this area for safety reasons.
• The Anglican Relief Development Fund (ARDF) has offered to match up to $7,000, and New Wineskins has pledged $1,000 for this effort.
• If you wish to help us with this, donate through ARDF. You may also send a check, made out to Holy Trinity Windermere with “Water for Bunia” in the subject line to: Holy Trinity Windermere, 95 Folly Road, Charleston, SC 29407.
Provide $500 per month for food, for the camp near the Peace Center
• This will serve the most vulnerable at this camp.
• With this money, Bisoke thinks 500 people could be fed a simple meal twice a week each month consisting of porridge, cassava, beans and rice.
• To meet this monthly goal, we have developed a program called Hearts for the Congo. This is a monthly subscription service that provides funding for food costs.
• We invite you to become a monthly subscription member for a cost of only $25.00 per month.
• As a member, you will receive a monthly newsletter documenting the journey of Bisoke, his congregation, the orphan school, and the Peace Center. Members will also receive a quarterly package in the mail with an originally designed Hearts for the Congo shirt. Wear it proudly and spread the word about Hearts for the Congo!
• Our launch date for this project is August 1. Sign up here for early access: https://mailchi.mp/532a98ce1ef7/early-access
We ask you to prayerfully consider joining us in supporting Bisoke and Furaha, and the people of the Congo. We are thankful that, by God’s grace, the Lord has brought us alongside them, to help and support them in accomplishing the plan and provision He is working out in their ministry, and in their lives.
To learn more, we invite you to view our informational video, Pray for Peace in Bunia, at https://youtu.be/rJOWN0Gwt_8.
Holy Spirit, we pray that you would guide us to do our part, in your strength and for your glory.
As Bisoke reminds us, “God is in control. God is working when we cannot see.”
By Kelly Hood and Julia Marshall, Holy Trinity Windermere, Charleston