An update on the Mehaffeys
Art & Mapuka Mehaffey – Republic of Congo
The time has been going by rapidly as we are doing our work here in the Congo. The main project the Madeleine has been working on is getting the orphanage started. We have some good news in that all the documents for the land have been approved and signed and so the area is officially purchased. However that means that we have to make improvements on the land in the next three years or it reverts back to the government. Madeleine has also been busy in trying to start the orphanage in a small way in a rented place. She has found a place, which needed a few additions. It is almost ready and by the time that most of you will be reading this, 16 orphans will be housed there. They have already been given physical examinations to see if they have any diseases that we can’t care for, such as AIDS or tuberculosis. There are still some details to be worked out, but these 16 orphans should be living there soon. Madeleine has also been trying to revamp and expand the management committee that will run the orphanage. The management committee is entirely composed of women in order to give women some experience in positions of responsibility, which is now rare in the Congo. All of these things have kept her busy but she still is trying to oversee the Literacy Program of the Women in Brazzaville in the other Congo. This is a program that she started about four years ago and has been very successful and helpful.
The children have also been kept busy. Marie and Michael are busy with their school activities at The American School of Kinshasa (TASOK). Beside their regular school work and homework, they have after school activities about five days a week. They are both on soccer teams that keep them busy many Saturdays. There are also other activities at TASOK, such as movies, parties, etc., that also fill up their time. They usually attend the English-speaking International Protestant Church of Kinshasa on Sundays where they are now undertaking baptism studies. They will probably have had their baptisms by the time you read this. Vanessa is still keeping everyone busy around the house. Although she is only three, she is the most fluent in Lingala of the whole family. She even surprises her mother sometimes with the Lingala words that she uses. Lingala is really her first language as she hears and uses it many hours each day. We speak to her in English, but her aunt and cousin who care for her when we are busy speak to her in Lingala. She can speak and understand English, but not as well as Lingala. She is truly a bilingual child.
Art has been kept busy doing his usual work. He has been trying to be the liaison between the two churches here, both in Kinshasa and in Brazzaville, and the Global Ministries Africa Office in Indianapolis. This involves much communication, mostly by e-mail, among Mbandaka, Kinshasa, Brazzaville, and Indianapolis. In addition he tries to help out with the orphanage when time permits. He also has to deal with special projects as they come along here. For instance he has been busy lately with two items. One is the visit of Dr. Chris Hobgood, the General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada, and several others for a two week visit in March. Dr. Hobgood spent much of his youth in the Congo when his parents were missionaries here. Coordinating visits is one of the tasks that Art has. A second project that he has been working on is the preparation of the church house in the MaCampagne area of Kinshasa so that it can be renovated. The house is now run down and needs to be repaired. This will have to happen in stages. The plan is that the Mehaffeys will live in part of the house and the rest will be turned into a guesthouse. This will be done in stages, and hopefully the part for the Mehaffeys can be done so that they can move into it this summer. Art also is the Missionary Representative on the TASOK School Board. This also keeps him busy at least one night each week with a four-hour or so meeting. He enjoys doing this so that the children have a good school to attend.
Of course, the normal problems of living here in Kinshasa also take up our time. Buying a new computer because the old one died; getting the car repaired from a minor accident; doing the shopping, taking the children to school and to their activities, etc., and just getting around this large city also cause us to spend many hours each week. Things are not quite as convenient and easy to do as in the U. S. Please keep all our work in your prayers. Thank you all for your prayers, your support, and everything else.
In Christian service,
The Mehaffey family, Art, Madeleine, Marie, Michael, and Vanessa
Global Ministries missionaries
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Art & Mapuka Mehaffey are missionaries with the Disciples of Christ in the Congo. Art serves in Kinshasa, and provides theological, educational, health and logistical support services. Mapuka serves in Brazzaville, and provides community education for the Disciples of Christ in Brazzaville, Congo.