I am a volunteer missionary and United Methodist pastor appointed to the Tanganyika Conference in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This is a conference in the eastern part of the DRC that has faced great difficulties recovering from horrific war earlier in this century as well as ongoing conflicts, disease and poorly equipped medical centers, limited/interrupted access to schools, and food insecurity. Today is my one-year anniversary of being here! I've spent this past year building relationships and making plans with church leaders. I am writing to share some of our initiatives and ask for your prayers and financial support.
Clergy Training Initiative
Our biggest goal for this next year is to organize training opportunities for pastors serving the Tanganyika Conference. Most of these pastors are paid $10/month or less. This means they do not have enough money to send their kids to school, buy a phone, or travel. Very few have had the opportunity to go to seminary or complete a formal theological and pastoral training program. If they are able to raise the money or get a scholarship to go to seminary, they must relocate to another conference or even another country for their studies.
Each year, either before or after annual conference, there are a few days set aside for workshops and seminars for our pastors. This is not enough. The bishop, the leadership of Tanganyika Conference, and I have a dream to develop a program for more significant pastor training with deeper theological education. We will start this year with a month of classes which will hopefully quickly expand into a 3-year institution or even an accredited seminary and university one day.
The leaders of this conference are anxious to start developing a program with what they have. They have church buildings where classes can take place. There are many pastors excited for training. We have educated and experienced pastors willing to volunteer some time for teaching and training for a stipend the first year. The teachers would at least need some support for their travel, food, and teaching materials. In addition, we will need money for transport, lodging, and food for students. Ideally, we will be able to provide a Bible, notebooks, some books and print-outs, and pens to the students. We may not be able to fund year-round classes for three years at this point, but even a month of classes would be a huge improvement.
Initiatives to Support
As Thanksgiving and Advent approach, I invite you and your congregation to pray for and financially assist the Tanganyika Annual Conference via its partnership with Friendly Planet Missiology.
1) Clergy Training Initiative:
a. 10 instructors’ stipends: $200 each = $2,000
b. 30 students food and lodging stipend - $200 each = $6,000
c. 40 teachers/students class materials - $50 each = $2000
d. The goal for funding in 2022 is $10,000.
2) Friendly Planet Missiology Center in Kalemie, DRC.
This soon-to-open center will provide a ministry space to house women-led projects, art programs for children, technology training for youth, and Bible studies.
a. $400/month for rent
b. $100/month for utilities
c. $150/month for internet
d. $150/month for supplies and programming.
3) Mulongo Nursing School Scholarships for Women from Tanganyika
$300 for tuition/fees plus $250 living stipend per year per student
4) Farming initiative in Manono, DRC.
Farming will fight food insecurity, provide jobs, and help feed the delegates at our next Annual Conference to be held in Manono in June. Any proceeds from the harvest will be re-invested in farming and agriculture education.
Estimated cost: $1000 per season
5) Sponsor a Volunteer Missionary
$1000/month would help cover my travel and living expenses and make it possible for me to remain in Congo longterm.
How to support these ministries:
2) Stay in touch. You can reach me on WhatsApp. +1 765-586-0124
3) Donate with a check. This is old-fashioned but still the most cost-effective way to donate. Send it to FPM, attn. Teri Walters, 102 E Main St., Plainfield, IN.
4) Send a donation to FPM through a UMC congregation in the Indiana Conference. The congregation will get credit, although it may take longer to reach FPM's account.
5) Donate to FPM online through Venmo, Zelle, and PayPal. We find Venmo and Zelle are the most cost-effective and easiest for people who want to give on-line and give monthly.
6) Facebook fundraiser. Donations through Facebook are also tax-exempt and especially nice on special days like Giving Tuesday and birthday fundraisers.
We know money is especially tight these days, and people are exhausted from COVID. However, we have faith we can find enough generous donors to help us get started. We pray that you and your church or conference will be one of those donors and supporters.
In God’s grace,
Rev. Lana J. Robyne
Volunteer Missionary, Tanganyika Annual Conference in DRC