$100,000 For COVID Relief

Generosity Feeds Thousands

Food, seeds, masks, soap, and vital information have been the key elements of Harvesters’ COVID-19 relief work the last several months. While the needs are overwhelming, the response from donors has been a great encouragement and blessing to the thousands of people touched by our partners’ work. Currently, funds utilized for this effort exceed $90,000. This includes a recent $15,000 matching gift provided by a generous foundation here in the US.

The needs are still great among the huge number of people who were “living on the edge” even before the ecomomic impacts of the pandemic were felt. Harvesters anticipates soon reaching $100,000 in support to help provide essential items to the countless people in desperate need. A special thanks to everyone who has given to this effort! You can be certain that you’ve had an impact. If you’d like to provide food and other needed items to those we are serving in Africa and Asia, click donate above.

New MBC Campus Ready For Students

God has been so good to our ministry and Myanmar Bible College during the summer holiday, despite the lockdown. We have been able to work on our new campus every day. The campus is located in a new area for us, which has allowed us to meet many new people. God brought a Buddhist monk to assist with the construction of the first buildings. Many of the other workers are Christians. We were able to have conversations about faith while working, sharing the love of Christ with non-believers.

Another way that God has blessed us is with electricity directly on our campus. I went to the electricity office many times trying to have them put a small meter on campus. They refused. But God had bigger plans in mind! We never imagined that we would be able to have our own transformer this year, but that is what God provided.

All of our staff are on campus and have worked very hard to prepare for classes to begin. They have enjoyed studying in our new library. Seeing all the new buildings is a great encouragement to everyone. We are praying that we will be able to open Myanmar Bible College sometime soon, once the lockdown is lifted. Several students have already arrived and are staying on campus waiting for classes to begin.

God is good and has provided in so many different ways for our ministry needs. Thank you for helping with everything from the dorms, staff house, and library to the dining hall, and so much more. Without your prayers and support, it would not have been possible. We look forward to the future and how God will use these young men and women.

Project Hope 127

Child Sponsorships Enriching Lives of Children

We are very thankful for how remarkably well our children continue to do, even during challenging times. Sponsors can be certain that their prayers and gifts result in many blessings. In the D.R. Congo, our orphans and staff have remained under a tight lockdown since March 23rd. To reduce the risk of the children being exposed to the virus, their caretakers rarely left the area where they are housed. We are thankful the situation improved in late July and the limitations of the lockdown were eased. We pray that will remain the case.

Likewise, in Uganda, a rigid lockdown was implemented by the government. Harvesters’ donors provided support to purchase four computers and a television so that the children could take advantage of educational programming that was made available. The children have been helping tend the garden and staying engaged with other activities at the compound. The Project Hope 127 children in Myanmar have been impacted, much like children in the U.S., being primarily confined to home with limited activity.

We deeply appreciate those who daily provide compassionate care for the children served by Project Hope 127. Likewise, our gratitude for each of the sponsors who support this work is heartfelt as we recognize the impact of everyone working together to express the love of Christ to children in Africa and Asia.

Project Hope 127 is our child sponsorship organization created as an expression of James 1:27, which calls us to care for orphans. To learn more about sponsorship, visit the Project Hope website – www.ProjectHope127.org.

Voice Of Comfort Radio

The challenges resulting from the COVID-19 related shutdowns in the D. R. Congo have been many. Harvesters’ ministry partner there, the Union of Baptist Churches led by Bishop Athanase Habimana, has been engaged in food distribution as well as providing sanitation supplies and education. Purchasing airtime on radio stations was one method utilized to share instructions with residents on how to protect themselves from becoming infected with the Coronavirus.

In the midst of all this, the Voice of Comfort Radio station was established by the ministry and has quickly proved to be an effective tool for evangelism and discipleship. This is especially true in the current situation when no church services are allowed in the country. However, Bishop Habimana anticipates continued success for the station, even as the D.R. Congo relaxes the shutdown restrictions and returns to a more normal situation.

Voice of Comfort Radio began broadcasting on May 12th from a studio located at the ministry’s offices in the city of Goma, with the antenna installed on the top of the Hekima church located in the same compound. Since then, 34 people have accepted Christ and 78 have renewed their faith! Recently, eight of the new believers were baptized. Besides biblical preaching and teaching, programs specifically for parents, youth, children, and married couples are offered in French, Swahili, Lingala, and other local languages.

The FM station broadcasts 20 hours per day and is receiving calls from listeners throughout a large area covering several cities and rural areas. Even in small villages, there are typically a few radios available for residents to gather and listen as a group.

Recently, God used the station in a special way to serve a young boy, Byaombe Bahinyuze, who lives with his family in the remote village of Kinigi. A few weeks ago, this area experienced an attack by one of the rebel groups that all too frequently assaults the local population of the eastern D.R. Congo. In the confusion of fleeing, Byaombe became separated from his parents. Over the next few days, he continued to travel in hopes of somehow being reunited with his family who was likewise searching for him.

Byaombe ended up over 100 miles from his home in the city of Goma where he knew no one. God directed his path to Tumsifu Odette, a woman who attends the Hekima Church, which is part of Bishop Athanases’ ministry. The Voice of Comfort Radio began regularly sharing Byambe’s story in hopes that someone in his family would hear about where he now was. After a few days, Byaombe’s mother, who was in a small town 80 miles from Goma searching for her son, heard the broadcast and came to Goma to be reunited with Byaombe one month after their separation. Besides Byaombe, God has used Voice of Comfort radio to reunite another young boy who had become separated from his family.

These kinds of examples of how God uses many different means to accomplish great things truly stirs our hearts and affirms the impacts that supporting His work has on people. We at Harvesters want to once again say thanks to everyone who comes alongside us to fulfill our role in God’s work in Africa and Asia.

Looking ahead Bishop Athanase envisions growing the station’s impact by installing upgrades to enhance its coverage area and offer other services to the community. We anticipate great things from Voice of Comfort Radio. If you would like more information about this ministry and how to be part of this effort, then feel free to contact me at 252-230-9742, or by email at doug@harvesters.net.

COVID Reaches The Pokot

While COVID-19 is ravaging the US and the rest of the world, there had been relatively few reported cases and deaths in the country of Kenya and no reported cases in Pokot. That is, until the first week of August when the first reported case of the disease in the Pokot region was announced.

Prior to the announcement, Pokot Outreach received special permission from the government to conduct seminars in villages, around water points, and in shopping areas where people gather to make them aware of the situation, educate them on how to protect themselves, distribute soap and masks, and encourage the people with the love of God. The ministry has also been on a number of radio broadcasts sharing similar information.

Because of the remoteness of most of these locations, Julius Kaprech reported that nearly all of the people had never heard of “COVID” or “coronavirus” and were surprised to hear that the disease had no cure. Many were scared and uneasy with this new information. Others were skeptical that it was true. As news of the presence of COVID in Pokot spread, several of these skeptics have communicated with ministry staff their appreciation for what the ministry is doing for them. Those that knew Julius Murgor and the Pokot Outreach team trusted that they were being told the truth and were grateful to be informed on how to protect themselves. They expressed their thankfulness that someone cared enough about them to share this information and to pray with them for their protection and safety.

The water points, at which the team met groups of people, served as great demonstration areas to show people how to use the handwashing stations and to use the soap in their homes. Social distancing is a new concept for them, as it was for all of us, and some in the meetings still need a little practice. The women seem to have a better handle on it than the men.

Things in Kenya are opening up and the daily Coronavirus infection rates are on the rise as people move in and out of major population centers into the rural areas. Pokot Outreach’s efforts are ongoing and additional funds are needed to reach everyone that the ministry is targeting.

Disrupted Travel?

Disrupted travel plans are frustrating, especially when it involves a missions trip that would have brought great blessings to people in need. Pastors Joe Strange and Greg Barnes, both of whom serve as associate pastors at different churches in eastern North Carolina, had been preparing for an August 2020 trip to visit three east African countries. They, along with others in their group, had been raising funds for several months and looked forward to serving through sports camps, pastor training, and other activities. Regrettably, with the rapid expansion of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no choice but to postpone their August trip indefinitely.

Later, when the team learned of an immediate opportunity in a location that was part of their original travel plans, they felt it was God opening the door for them to have an immediate impact, even though they would not be personally ministering there this year. After discussing the need and getting concurrence with their pastors, it was decided that the team would send a portion of the funds they had raised to help build a new school in the Rwandan village of Rukumberi. The school will serve over 600 preschool and elementary students, some of whom previously walked over an hour to attend classes.

The impact of the school project extends far beyond education. In the partnership agreement, the school property will be owned by Harvesters’ partner, Siera Community Church, and also led by the ministry. Operational funds will be provided by the Rwandan government to support faculty, staff, and other expenses. The church will appoint the head of the school, hire teachers, and be able to provide biblical teaching and conduct evangelism among the students. Further, the church will be allowed to send a group of poor children from the congregation to the school without paying the otherwise required school fees.

Siera Community Church has been working in Rukumberi for five years. It was a difficult community where most people showed no interest in the Gospel. Persistent outreach and relationship building led to the formation of a small congregation. In early 2018, a church building was constructed (seen in the background of the photo to the left) and has been a great blessing to the congregation and community. Currently, there are about 250 adults and many children who are part of the Rukumberi church. The new school is an effective way to increase the ministry’s impact in that area. There is a persistent Islamic effort seeking to expand their presence in Rwanda, which includes opening Muslim operated elementary schools. We are thankful that in Rukumberi our Christian church will be leading the education effort.

Joe, Greg, and the other team members still desire to travel to east Africa to serve. When they do, they will be able to visit the school and minister to children there. Even though their travel might have been delayed, much good is already happening due to their efforts. Because of this, they consider it well worth the effort of having to complete additional fundraising to support their future trip.