GEMENA, CONGO (August 12, 2010) – Evangelical Covenant Church missionaries Tim and Helen Smith have arrived in Gemena to join the Covenant missionary team, part of a long-range plan for re-establishing a resident missionary presence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Smiths transition from Equatorial Guinea completed another step in the long-range plan that began with relocation of Pete and Cindy Ekstrand from Cameroon on April 7.
Keith Gustafson, Congo country coordinator for the Department of World Mission, is based in the United States and makes four month-long trips to Congo each year. Gustafson was in Congo in April when the Ekstrands arrived and was there for Smiths’ arrival as well. The top photo, taken in Bokonzo, shows (from left) Tim and Helen Smith, Pete and Cindy Ekstrand, and Gustafson.
The Covenant Church of Congo for several years has expressed interest in having resident missionaries return to Congo, not only as an encouragement to the church and the residents, but also to strengthen the lines of communication and enhance relationships.
“Arriving in Congo today feels like I have come home,” says Helen of the transition. “It feels comfortable to be back in Congo. The music, the singing, the greetings, the kind of reception were wonderfully welcoming.”
That sentiment is shared by husband, Tim. “Feeling the warmth of people’s love and their joy in seeing us is very encouraging,” he notes. “We had a neat feeling coming up to the reception prepared for our arrival. We could not have imagined that God would bring us back to Congo, and yet here we are as we have sought to follow his leading. We look forward to what he has in store for us here in Congo.”