wickstrom update 1/22
Dear Friends for Congo,
This past week was to have been the Pastor and Spouse Conference of the CEUM, but by December 16 it was becoming evident that a new COVID wave was hitting Congo and, for the first time ever, affecting North and South Ubangi in a significant way. That day I spoke to President Duale and much of our discussion revolved around COVID.
The week of Christmas I spoke to him again. He told me that COVID had finally touched the central CEUM hospital at Karawa with a dozen cases and two deaths. Furthermore, the CEUM had decided to
postpone the conference until March and I canceled my flight to Kinshasa accordingly. As you can see by this photo, the hospital is taking this outbreak seriously. As a result, there have been no additional cases since January 14.
This past month I have been busy translating year-end reports, helping to work out scheduling in light of COVID, advising others who are preparing to travel to Congo, and preparing documentation for a FOWM project to strengthen CEUM administrative capacity (to learn about FOWM, go to https://covchurch.org/sg/projects/fowm).
In between that administrative work I was able to speak at three churches the last three weeks of December - one in Ohio and two in California. At all three I found people eager to hear more about the work and needs in Congo. In every case I spoke about the personal dilemma with which I am faced. The Covenant is funding World Vision’s projects in Gemena and Karawa and the Paul Carlson Partnership’s medical, economic development, and infrastructure projects, and it contributes on a smaller scale in other ways. However,
when in Congo, I am faced with many, many other needs that I am powerless to meet, except through prayer.
The other “in-between” activity that has occurred during these past two months has been connection with family. In November, Cheryl’s two out-of-town brothers (and one sister-in-law) visited for a few days. I was working much of the time, but I was able to join them for some activities (like pickle ball).
In December I flew to California to connect with supporters and visit my parents and other family. Cheryl joined me a week later, and after a family cookie party, a couple days with my parents, and a couple days with Ben and Emily and her parents, we headed to Oregon for Christmas. There we were able to enjoy several snowy days and
lots of games with our grandkids beforeheading back to Ohio.
Thank you for caring about Congo and about my personal ministry journey. I will write again as soon as my adjusted schedule is finalized. Note that, in addition to a changed mailing address, I have a modified online giving address (see below). Additional resources are available at:
Yours in Christ,
❏ Praise God for his intimate care for each one of us. As one door closes, he opens another.
❏ Please continue to pray for peace and reconciliation within the CEUM. While tensions are slowly dissipating, the underlying cause remains.
❏ Please pray for Craig as he juggles trip preparation, financial considerations, and personal responsibilities.
❏ Please continue to pray for Cheryl as she struggles to remain healthy and responsible in the face of this challenging school year.
❏ Please pray for the health care system in Congo as a nurses strike continues in the midst of the ongoing battle with COVID. Praise God that the Ebola outbreak in the east ended December 16.