Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Richard's Second Eye Surgery!

Dear Friends of BESI / Radio Kahuzi,

Pastor Calvin Lowder picked Rich and Kathy up at their motel at 11:30 am on October 9. The surgeon examined both Richard's eyes at 1 pm and determined that they both had "false cataracts".

She was successful in removing the problem in the right eye and when we finally found them back at the motel around 6:30 pm they were excited to give us their good report. They needed to return the next morning to repeat the procedure on his left eye as the same problem was starting to cloud his vision.

They were hoping their luggage would be there when they returned to their room; however, it did not arrive until very late that evening, so they are still in their travel clothes from Oct 5, but we both agreed that was the least of their worries. At least Kathy will not be taking a blind man back to Congo. God is so good...

Kathy visited with Dr. Thomas and was relieved to find out it would be all OK after a long week of travel and just now knowing how it would turn out.

On Friday Pastor Cal drove them back to Stephens City, a two hour drive, and Cal and the McDonalds prepared to speak Friday night at the Cumberland Conference, and stay overnight at the Downtown Cumberland Ramada then back to Pastor Cal's house for some recovery time over the weekend.

On Monday, Oct 13 they drove back to DC for follow-up...

We praise the Lord we had a great last interview with Dr Thomas!

She said my retinas are perfect! We are sure that is a relative comparison, but we are so thankful we won't need to have them checked, or worked on for a LOONNGGGGG time now that she has checked the two surgeries she has done. She gave me a new prescription for glasses for the change in one eye.

Basically, she laser-cut a cross in each lens sheath so the light could pass through the eye to the retina at the back. It opened in each eye automatically because of the surface tension on this curved sac that holds the lens in place. No problems...

We are back at Cal's, planning to go with them to Grand Rapids tomorrow (Oct 14) to visit with Bill and Mary Bunch family and Wayne Schoonover and his daughter Jill before leaving for Africa. They are all like family having also worked in Africa with Kathy's parents, Fred and Millie Bahler.

Lord willing, Bill, Mary and Wayne will travel with us to Elkart Thursday to see the HCJB team and discuss future plans and equipment needs. Wayne and Bill are members of our BESI Board.

I'll cut and send as I need to write to our team in Bukavu, where the main problem continues to be power outages in the afternoons.

We covet your prayers and good wishes for them.

Praise our LORD as His blessings are new every morning.

Keep Looking Up!
Richard and Kathy McDonald

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Richard is Preparing for Eye Surgery

A Message from
Dr. Adrian Rogers, "Love Worth Finding"
Runners train themselves to be focused on one thing--the finish line. They have one desire and they are not going to let what is going on in the stands or who is lagging behind to distract them. Paul had the same sense. He, too, believed that you could not win a race by looking over your shoulder or glancing to the right or the left. You can't see what is ahead when you've got your headlight on the rear bumper. Paul forgot his past glory, past mistakes, past grief, past everything. Paul refused to let his past keep him from reaching his goal. What are you doing in your race to claim the prize of a closer walk with God?  
"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Phil. 3:14.

Dear Friends of BESI / Radio Kahuzi, What a wonderful surprise you all gave us when we read Barbara's updates telling us of your help in such a big way! We are so blessed and we know that this all is showing us the Love that comes from our Lord Jesus through your working together with us to spread the Gospel, even in these difficult situations. Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping us at this time! The lights are off, again, so we're running the radios on batteries and the light plant.  Sunday afternoons are slow, the one who flips the switch to put our electricity on is probably sleeping or something, so we'll have a while yet to wait for it to come on. We always have hot water in the thermoses so, I got my cup-a coffee while we hold on with flashlights. It's dark in the house in the back rooms so trying to pack and get things in order for the trip by flashlights. 
Yes, we're getting things ready for the big trip. It's always such a busy time, as you know, trying to leave the food and fellows that guard and the journalists programs all in order ahead a month, and the lists and lists to make out for everyone to follow so that each one has their own job to do. We're packing up the living room and dining room so that one of the fellows can come in and mop and dust while we're gone and keeping an eye on the parrot to make sure he gets outside and cleaned and brought in before it rains, and making sure the windows are closed at night and the lights turned on and making sure that no one leaves the water faucet outside on, all makes lots of business.  And, that's just a little bit of what has to be done before we leave. Oh, and don't forget the kitties and the doggie food portioned out, and the salaries and water and electricity and taxes all paid ahead a month. You see why we don't go away too often.
Thank you again for all you've done to help make this possible! 

Rich, here with the...Rest of the Story!

First, thank you for your intercessory prayer. God does hear and answer our pleas for help. Nailing down the plane tickets, hotels, and transport is always tricky but with the help of our niece, Kim Beck, all is secure. Bukavu - Kigali - Entebbe - Amsterdam - London - Wash DC beginning Oct 6 and landing in DC Oct 8 with surgery Oct 9. The Oct 9 surgery all depends on what our surgeon finds. If it is more than she can treat with laser in her office, we would most likely add a day at a nearby surgical center.

In the meantime, we have been working hard to secure a rental / purchase agreement on Phase II: "The Little White House" across the border in Cyangugu, Rwanda. This move must take place before December 31st to avoid the double rent promised by our current landlady. This also means that Phase I must be completed and ready to go "ON AIR" at the same time. So where are we?

On September 18th and 19th Kathy and I were at a real Low, even to the point of turning down the offer to rent "The Little White House" as the terms had changed and his wife was not in agreement to sell after days of negotiations, etc. Then Bosco (the owner) came to our gate with the rent contract for ten years--with no option to buy!  

We began discussing the contract, when my phone rang, and Danny our journalist signaled a problem in the radio room. I excused myself to take care of the technical problem and asked Kathy to continue the discussions in Swahili. The generator had begun accelerating for a few bursts and settled down before I got there. I turned the SW transmitter on again and checked out the generator. It all seemed normal, so I told Danny to shut it down if it happened again, while I returned to the negotiations. As it turned out, Kathy was able to put everything in perspective and Bosco, our new landlord, agreed to a number of modifications to the contract. It suddenly was very helpful and Ideal for our needs.  

He said he paid a lawyer $150 to prepare the document, but he was willing to work with us to make this work the way we want and need, rather than keeping to the lawyer's scenario. Rather than having to come up with 8 years of rent in one payment after a year, we could pay another two years or three next year, to make it a 5-year contract to rent, with the promise that he would be willing (and his wife who was not willing till now) to sell the house to us if that was what we desire after five years. We said we don't need a modern kitchen and bath room, (to keep it simple) but he said he wants to use the two year's rent we paid to make the changes, and showed us a website picture of the kitchen with 5 choices of color. Kathy agreed to the wood colored, built-in cabinets. He said that anywhere along the process the Lord provides the funds to purchase, he would return the outstanding rent toward the payment. He said he would have it all ready for our return in November for 1st of December occupancy. He would help with the trucks for passing the border with our "déménagement."

He offered to meet us in Kigali and take us to the airport, after meeting and letting his wife get to know us--an important factor in all this. He said he would take us to the US Embassy Monday before our evening flight and help us make contact with some Rwandan authorities, to introduce our plans for BESI / Rwanda. He said the government works hand in hand with America, and that Non-profit organizations can easily buy large tracts of land from the government to develop their projects.

Praise the LORD! In His Love and Care, Richard and Kathy 

(Photo: Barbara and I celebrated our 55th Wedding Anniversary in June.)

The Lord has lifted a heavy burden...making a way where there seemed to be no way. We know your intercessory prayer made the difference. We have been struggling to find a way to reduce the cost of excessive rent for the past three or four years with many dead ends and closed doors. All along the Lord had plans to use this dilemma to direct our eyes across the border to open a new field of service! If we would have stayed at the current location the rent would have been raised to $3,000 a month, compared to less that $500 in a new field of ministry. 

Sometimes the Lord has to make our situation so unbearable we have no choice but to follow his lead. We always think "Bigger is Better" when most of the time "Less is More." 

Second, Praise the Lord! We were seeking Delta SkyMiles to cover the trip but found Rich and Kathy's Sky Miles had accumulated over the years and was nearly the 80,000 each required. With your help we were able to purchase additional miles and Frequent Flyer tickets for just under $1,500. The airlines said this trip would have cost over $9,000!

Third, we talked to Dr. Thomas and were ready to pay cash in advance and asked her how much to send. She said she would do it for $500. She said, "This is strange, but I was just thinking about Kathy and Richard as I was dusting off and photographing the little woven huts they gave me in 2010." If she can do all the laser surgery in her office the $5,000 will be reduced to $500! 

Please join us in a prayer of rejoicing for all that the Lord has and will do in their lives. May Rich and Kathy continue to be a blessing as they travel the world for His Glory. 

"Little is much, if God is in it, Labor not for wealth or fame.
 There's a crown and you can win it, if you go in Jesus Name!"

Keep Looking Up,
Harold Smith, President