God at Work

On the first Sunday of April I shared a God at Work testimony with the congregation at Grace West. I thought that I would include it here as well.

I am headed to Congo in one month’s time and want to share how God is working in the Congo, through the university I will be partnering with, and in my own life. The Congo is a beautiful and a broken country. It is lush and green, has incredibly warm and welcoming people who will invite strangers into their home to stay dry during a downpour, and a very rich culture. And yet they suffer from a cycle of exploitation and conflict. Currently in the East of the country, lack of governance has lead to the formation of rebel groups that periodically attack vulnerable civilians and it is impossible to tell what their larger strategy is or who is involved in funding them. But despite a situation that feels almost hopeless, there are many signs that God is still working in this place. God’s word through the old testament prophet Isaiah 43:19 says:

“Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.”

God is providing hope to Congo through the work of the Université Chrétienne Bilingue du Congo (UCBC) who are providing post-secondary education that is often subsidized to a few hundred students with the goal to grow to have a few thousand. Their vision is to bring students up with biblical teaching to encourage them to serve as humble leaders who refuse to participate in the pattern of corruption that has become a regular practice, and to transform their communities from the bottom up. Over the years UCBC has gained a reputation with organizations and businesses who wish to hire graduates who are dependable and trust-worthy.

God is working through a project of UCBC’s Integrated Research Institute called Sharing the Land. The project is mapping land conflict in the region in order to bring land disputes and corrupt practices of selling land into the open where resolution can begin to take place. God is also working through another project called Community Land Use Planning that is teaching local municipalities digital land administration tools in the hope that it will improve land administration practices and accept multiple types of land claims to give people greater land security. These are projects I am privileged to be serving with while I am there.

God has also been working in my own life and teaching me to trust him more completely and become more rooted in my identity in Him instead of the world. Eight years ago I was struggling how to serve God with my skills in architecture and was praying for Him to show me a path to serve him more fully . He responded by opening an opportunity, connecting me with the right people, and speaking to me through His word in the Bible. He brought me to serve in 2012 with Engineering Ministries International and work on a campus master plan project that brought me to Congo for the first time and introduced me to what God was doing through UCBC. It feels like there is this cyclical conversation happening between God and I, where I pray, He opens a door, I doubt about things like finances and ineptitude but pray for provision, He works in the details and sustains me. He reminds me repeatedly, Lise, you can trust me; look how I clothe the lilies of the field?

The return to Congo this time is more daunting than previous times. I follow the news closely to keep tabs on the security situation which is becoming increasingly unpredictable. People respond often in surprise to hear I am going there even with the situation the way it is. But I’ve also realized that God doesn’t call us to be comfortable and that with the kingdom perspective, this is a place that God continues to need people to do His work, and that this part of the world can’t simply be abandoned. He has given me the skills, the passion, and the opportunity; all that remains is to go.

Please pray for what God is doing in Congo through UCBC and their ongoing projects, that they may continue to be a river in the dessert and be God’s instrument in that place. Please pray for peace and security in Beni territory. Please pray for me as I adjust to a new culture and build relationships. Pray for wisdom and the fruits of the spirit in my daily encounters and as I take leadership on these projects. This church community at Grace Toronto is an answer to prayer and I am so thankful to be able to share this journey with you. Thank you for your love and support.

2 Comments to “God at Work”

  1. God bless you Lise. We’ll be praying for safety and blessings on your efforts.

  2. God bless you Lise. We’ll be praying for safety and blessings on your efforts.

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