Josh and I were called to serve The Lord in DRC at the end of 2015 and after leaving our full time secular employment in March 2016, came out to Katoka Mission, DRC for a three month trip.
Katoka is a long established mission station over 700km from Lubumbashi and less than 40km from the Angolan border. It has an assembly run hospital and several schools in the village, two of which are assembly run. There are endless opportunities here for outreach, especially among children and young people - we usually have over 500 at Sunday School/Bible class each week.
Mary Ratter, originally from Whitley Bay has served the Lord here for 52 years and Sandy Meikle, commended from New Zealand has served here for over 30 years.
While we were in Katoka last year, towards the end of our stay, a man called Jim Smith (who had undertaken building projects in Katoka several times previously) called Mary to enquire if she had another project he could undertake in Katoka in 2017.
She immediately asked us if we'd like him to build us a house - an amazing answer to prayer because we'd been praying for weeks about the possibility of building, but hadn't yet mentioned it to her!
We continued to pray about the matter and God spoke to us very clearly on several occasions, confirming that we were to 'rise up and build'.
So, here we are - back in a Katoka, with Jim, in the throes of building a house. Our trip this time is for 5 months, and we are due to return to the UK on the 1st Feb 2018, DV.
During this trip we hope to finish the 'shell' of the house - i.e the walls and roof and some internal plastering.
Time is somewhat of the essence though as Jim is only here until mid November! 'Phase 2' of the project will hopefully finish the house and will include installing windows, doors, plumbing and electrics. We will also need to finish any required plastering and install the bathroom/toilets/kitchen etc.
We have asked Brass Tacks to be involved in phase 2 and they are currently advertising for volunteers on their website. The timing of phase 2 will depend on the availability of volunteers but is likely to be during the second half of 2018.
There are many difficulties associated with undertaking a construction project in rural DRC, not least the sourcing and delivery of materials but there are many blessings too.
We have been able to employ dozens of local labourers and have a time of prayer with them each morning before commencing work.
Our prayer is that some of the unbelievers among the workers would realise their need of a Saviour and that the project would make an eternal difference to them.