Saturday, December 17, 2016

Christmas in the Congo! Elephant for dinner, anyone?

 Dear Friends of BESI / Radio Kahuzi,

It's almost Christmas, once again! When we all love to remember... and I remember Mama and Papa, Millie and Fred Bahler and those precious times of family and friends, and the good food and all the church celebrations: Celebrating the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ as a Baby--to be the Savior of mankind!

As a missionary kid, being born and raised in the Belgian Congo (Zaire), Democratic Republic of the Congo, the precious memories flood back--of life with the lions, monkeys, elephants, water buffalo, and antelope, especially at Christmas time!  Another precious thing about it all is that I have memories of Christmas times in America (in Denver & North Glenn) where we lived for seven years, during the War of Independence. I also remember the years of language training in Belgian with my parents and again in Brussels and Vevey, Switzerland, where Richard and I re-learned French; so I have three wonderful worlds to remember!  

In America, there's always the 'problem' of what kind of meat to eat at that special Christmas Day celebration.  Should we have turkey, or ham or duck or pigeon--and so many choices! Most of the time, here in Congo we had two choices, chicken or beef and sometimes goat.  

Another exciting part was that, if an enraged elephant came on a rampage into the village, one's Daddy shot the rogue and voila, we had elephant meat for dinner! My mommy tried to cook the supposedly most tender part, (the trunk) but it was as tough as shoe leather. So I think our dad's quickly went hunting and brought back an antelope, which we normally ate for protein, most of the time anyway! It was always a great afternoon, watching the men carve up the meat and get it ready for the 'spit'  barbecue, a big hole in the ground with charcoal, to roast the meat. 

My memories of Christmas Eve are so precious, too. Usually, it would rain and what fun it was, getting the fireplace going, and sitting around the fire, roasting palm nuts, and eating home-made sweet rolls and bacon and eggs and lots of coffee!  Also, we had Christmas music playing. Around midnight, the church folks would come and sing Christmas Carols and that was always very special!

For our Christmas tree, my daddy had a wire frame ready, and we'd go out and cut the branches from a sucker vine that grows on the palm trees and stick them into the wire frame; and it really did look like a Christmas tree.  Then, just before dark, the (generator) light plant would be started up and the coffee pot would be ready, and just like magic, the tree lights would light up and the celebration of Christmas Eve would start.  After supper, we'd read the Christmas Story from Luke, and Praise the Lord for another year of His Blessings and Grace!

Our most Memorable Christmas Season was December 16, 1972, when we were married by Pastor and Missionary Wayne Schoonover in Pastor Vern Schutz's Berean Church in Grand Rapids, Mi., and we began our deputation to come to the Congo. Richard and I THANK  the LORD for ALL of YOU who became members of our extended family at that time–“Working Together with Christ.” Later, you shared in our Rejoicing when we arrived in Bukavu for Christmas Dinner with our parents, the Bahlers, on December 25,1975 to begin our ministry with them! 

Years later on December 24,1992, the Lord began the first Christian Radio Network in the DRC with beautiful Christmas music and Christian programming on FM Stereo on Radio Kahuzi! There was no Short Wave transmitter until 2001.

Many of you were praying Christmas Day 2000, when Richard and Pastor Gregoire negotiated the Peace Treaty with the Mai Mai rebels after they had taken a third of the city of Bukavu. Two commandos and many of their nine hundred Mai Mai warriors exchanged their magic fetishes and superstition for Trust and Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, returning to Fizi to build a Christian Church and share the Gospel as fellow-workers with Jesus Christ and Radio Kahuzi.

Thank you for your faithful prayers and support especially, this month. Our answer to prayer came as the Provincial Director of the National Radio and TV (RTNC) and many of their distant relay FM stations asked for permission to share Radio Kahuzi's Christmas programming and Christmas music in their broadcasts. Many of them contacted us when our Short Wave transmitter would not work. But three days later the red light cleared without any repairs, and we are back on the air as usual, and other FM stations relaying our programs and the RTNC news has called in to report 5/5 reception and rebroadcast of our signal through their FM stations!

Praise the Lord that He used the electric company's problem (less than 50 Hertz frequency) to reveal the existence of this relay network as we were unaware they were rebroadcasting our programs! This should lead to helpful future tax exonerations for Radio Kahuzi!    

Have a Wonderful Christmas Season and a Blessed New Year in 2017! 

Keep Looking Up! 
We are looking for His Soon Appearing in the Heavenlies!! 
Richard and Kathy McDonald

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Belated Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Friends of BESI / Radio Kahuzi,

Kathy and I appreciate your Prayer and Giving over these many years. We want you to know you have given much encouragement to us and the BESI / Radio Kahuzi Ministries.

Yesterday Kathy shared across the fence with the youngest member of a friendly family we have helped raise — across the fence. They are Muslim / Catholic; however, one daughter took our Galcom Fix-tuned, SW radio with her to her East Africa school. There she said she learned English listening to our evening broadcasts of “Unshackled" and got saved while studying in DUBAI (E. Africa)! 

Kathy shared with her brother that his sister’s stateside address is very close to the studio where “Unshackled” is recorded. He was excited, as he has always been a keen listener to our programs, too, and will write to her where she and her new husband live.

We're hopeful she will make contact and volunteer to help "Unshackled" with our project of translating and recording the program in French for broadcast here. It is a popular program, which we air at 12:40 in the afternoon, even in English; and it has great clarity. "Unshackled" sent us a first program manuscript translated into French, and we are trying to get it dramatized and recorded for broadcast with the young people in Bukavu. Maybe, Kathy will ask her brother if he would like to play one of the roles in the manuscript, or help us get it printed for each actor.

Harold Smith, President of BESI / Radio Kahuzi with Jim Lawhon at NRB 2010

Also, our dear friend, Jim Lawhon, former engineer with HCJB called and offered to cover the costs for HCJB Engineering, now known as Sonset Solutions, to build us a SW antenna that will fit in our smaller space in front of our new studio. This will eliminate a conflict with the NGO group renting the house beside our studio. Pray for the completion of this new antenna and safe shipping.

(Kathy sends her greetings and a big “Thank You” to the home office for items sent with our friends Mark and Tom in recent trips to Bukavu.)

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU ALL, for all the goodies you brought us!! We sure are spoiled, but we are enjoying the tacos and the soft Fajitas, and all the spices; and one of these days, I’ll make some chocolate chip cookies, (if the lights behave)!  The tuna fish, and the Hidden Valley dressing, and the cake mixes, etc., really make our days!

The popcorn reminds us of the Guest House days with my folks Fred and Millie BAHLER in the 70s and 80s. What special days those were! The world here now is just so up-side-down. You wouldn’t believe it! Gets a little discouraging sometimes, but in the Lord we are Victorious, and with special gifts like you all sent us; we are making it!

We just heard rata-ta-tat-tat across the bay toward the Governor's Mansion, trust there are no problems... This election time is going to be quite the ride...Pray lots! Seems crowds have been putting pressure on the Governor...

Yesterday, Feza and I worked hours getting more shelves and tapes and radio supplies moved into the room above the studio. It's nice and dry and warm up there with such a beautiful view of the lake, so we are using that room for storing the radio supplies. 

We'll be sooo happy when we can get all the moving done! It's such a long process, sorting and making sure the right things go to the right places. There's the radio studio, and the room upstairs to store things, and then, the Rwandan house across the way, but no shelves and cupboards because we're still using them here in Bukavu in this transition time. The ideal would be to have all the cupboards and shelves, washer, etc., over at the new place, but, alas, that takes a truck with proper docs, etc., so we keep going with what we have, and gradually we’ll make it all come together! Such a job!

Thank you for all your prayers and for all the goodies—treats for us to enjoy during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays!

Lots of love and prayers,

With Love and Thanksgiving in our hearts to you all, 
Richard and Kathy McDonald