wickstrom update 12/22
Dear Friends for Congo,
Our relationship to “the other” is always a mixture of "kokamwa" and "nsomo", of "wonder" and "dread". Do we run away or set up a wall to protect ourselves? Or do we dive in and embrace it or him or her? Our relationship to God must be such a relationship of amazement and fear, but we've wrapped up and packaged the "Christmas Jesus" in such a way that he can rarely surprise us. I hope that you are surprised this season and overwhelmed by the only one who is always faithful and who can never be tamed. It is His faithfulness that gives us hope. It is His majesty that brings us real joy.
I witnessed that faithfulness and majesty when I joined over 5,000 others to celebrate 100 years of Protestant missions in northwest Congo. Titus Johnson set out in faith for the Ubangi in July of 1922 even though he did not receive the June confirmation of support from the Free Church until he arrived in Libenge in January of 1923. On Sunday November 13th, the ECC 17th Evangelical Community of Christ in the Ubangi (the CECU) celebrated his faithfulness and the Free Church commitment to work in Congo, and also
an early Congolese evangelist named Isaac Pelendo who was so full of the Holy Spirit that miracles accompanied him wherever he went.
Unfortunately, I fell ill as soon as I arrived in Congo and was unable to fully participate in the festivities. Indeed, I continue to struggle with a cough, swollen throat, and fatigue four weeks later. Even Cheryl has fallen ill this last week. Fortunately, after two days of rest, I was able to participate in some of the Centennial activities.
My second week I followed up with key individuals regarding the projects being developed by CEUM leadership. One project was stymied by poor Internet access. Another was delayed by lack of computers. I could not resolve every problem, but I was able to help in small ways to encourage those responsible.
I was also able to make some progress on an unofficial project: to provide Bibles to all of the students in the Theology schools being run by the CEUM. With some personal money, supplemented by gifts from individuals who heard of my efforts, I have been able to provide those schools with 21 Lingala, 92 Ngbaka, and 22 Mbanza Bibles, as well as 13 Ngbandi Nord, 10 Ngbandi Ngiri, 4 Pakabete, 4 Lobala and 4 Mono New Testaments. The CEUM is writing a long-term project to annually provide Bibles to its students, but for the time being I am trying to fill the gap a little at a time.
December 16, Cheryl and I head to CA and the 23rd to OR to spend time with family. We return to OH 7 days before I head to Congo for their bi-annual meeting. I return to the U.S. January 26 and then leave for another 5 or 6 weeks in Congo about February 19.
If all goes well, I hope to be in the U.S. from April 1 until July 31, so that would be a great time to visit some of you in person. If you would like me to make such a visit, please contact me so that I can arrange my schedule.
I continue to praise God for each of you who care about Congo and about my ministry. My previous letters and other resources are at:
If you can support the CEUM FOWM Technology project, go to: https://tinyurl.com/CEUMtech22
Yours in Christ,
Craig M. Wickstrom
❏ Please pray for physical health for Cheryl and me. I continue to struggle and Cheryl has now joined me.
❏ Praise God for his faithfulness and his faithful servants in the Ubangi these past 100 years. Together, the CEUM and the CECU affect the lives of millions of people throughout Congo and around the globe.
❏ Praise God for the Bible translators who continue to work on translations into dozens of languages in the Ubangi.
❏ Please pray for President DUALE and the CEUM leaders as they prepare for a potentially contentious bi-annual meeting of the CEUM, January 15-21.
❏ Give God all glory and honor, for he alone is always faithful and can never be tamed.