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Engaged in and Preparing for Mission

A Letter from José LaMont Jones, serving in the Dominican Republic of Congo

Spring 2021

Write to Jose LaMont Jones

Individuals: Give online to E200543 for Jose Jones’ sending and support

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Dear friends,

Peace and grace to you all in the name of our resurrected Savior Jesus Christ!
Although we continue to be in the time of COVID, vaccinations are underway. It appears that I will be able to begin my vaccination regimen here in the Dominican Republic and hope to be able to travel to the Congo sometime after June 30th. That takes care of one of the pandemics!

The other pandemic, racism, appears to rage on. Among siblings of the American Christian tradition, the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial has resulted in differences in opinion about the facts, the importance of themes and even who was on trial. Without choosing sides, it is easy to become disheartened by such disparate abilities to discern what is true, right, and just among individuals professing Christianity. We have to ask ourselves how our siblings in other lands interpret this disunity, and how we reconcile these inconsistencies when we go forth to share how the truths of the Gospel are revealed to us? Our God is not limited by time, space, or culture. It is high time that we not let our limitations limit God, whose scriptural truths transcend our abilities to understand mercy that can heal 400 years of injustice. God is able and guides the repentant to transformation.

It is good to note that the Congo Mission Network Conference 2020 began the process of reconciling and admitting some of the hidden truths of history. It took us a while to get to this point of damage/pain and unwillingness to admit our societal culpability in oppressing peoples of color, and it will take time to heal. However, the process has begun.

You can review the complete program of the conference by going to the Congo Mission Network YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLdMcupxcegrSa-1Kv3YWJA) where you can view the entire six months of meetings and individual presentations. Each of the ministry areas in which PC(USA) collaborates in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), accomplishments, and needs are described. These presentations would be wonderful discussion starters for mission committees and for learning what PC(USA) is doing in the DRC.

One of the things I have learned is that the Presbyterian Community of Kinshasa (CPK) schools need to develop technical training modules. I helped develop the Biochemistry and Laboratory Technician curriculum and a hands-on Outdoor Laboratory for my Biology and Chemistry students when I was in California. Still, I have not had hands-on experience in creating a technical training program. I have signed up for a home electricity course at the acclaimed Institute of Technical Instruction (ITI) here in Santo Domingo. ITI has an excellent reputation and has been operating for 50+ years. I now have the opportunity to see technical training done right! It will also help me brush up on some skills I will need to repair and, perhaps, construct my own inverter to make sure I have an uninterrupted source of power in Kinshasa! I will be better prepared to assist the CPK as they increase the technical training they offer. Definitely a win/win scenario!

Let me also encourage you to take part in another win/win scenario. During the March 27th session of the Congo Mission Network Conference, Herb Long, leader of the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church (LOPC) Congo Mission Team, described how they work to support mission on several fronts but specifically in Congo. My hat is off to our brothers and sisters at LOPC who gather weekly to pray for mission co-workers, various collaborative ministries, and advocate for policies designed to help the DRC, in collaboration with the PC(USA) Office of Public Witness. I am interested in helping others interested in prayers for Congo start more prayer lines. Wouldn’t it be great to pray for our Congolese siblings each and every day? Do you think that it would lead to good policy and minimize suffering if people of faith would question U.S. policy and complicity in unfair resource extraction, blood diamonds, and trade? Let’s learn more! Let’s do more!

Another way to support the Congo has been the “necklace ministry.” A group of individuals at LOPC have made lovely necklaces that are offered for sale. The proceeds go to help build and repair schools in the DRC. In the photo of my wife Evelin and me, you can see that she is wearing hers. These necklaces are fashionable and, even more important, offering them at your church gives an opportunity to keep world mission and world affairs at the forefront of discussion in your congregation. This will remind your congregation of its involvement in sharing God’s blessing and develop mission interest among your youth for future generations. Ask me, or talk to Bobbie Dodson, if you are interested.

There is a glimmer of brightness towards the end of this pandemic. Yet, all the while, we continue to engage in and prepare for collaboration with our partners in the DRC. I will be here in this hemisphere for at least a couple more months and would love to share with you and let you know how your support in helping PC(USA) reach out around the world is bringing hope and alleviating suffering. In answering the call to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, free the oppressed, and tend to the sick, we not only share our blessings but are blessed in the process! Thank you for your support. May we go forth in truth with God’s protection and strength.

In Christ’s Service,

José


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