The newsletter of Bill and Sonia Shaw
currently serving the Lord in Lubumbashi, DR Congo
The first thing we wish to say in this newsletter is a huge “Thank You” for your faithful support over the past 37+ years of our ministry to the people of Africa. Each day we receive a giving update from AGWM telling us how many of you wonderful individuals and churches have sent your monthly support into our ministry account. And each time we open one of these emails, we thank the Lord for your faithfulness. We truly could not do anything here without you! “[We] have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in [our] prayers” (Ephesians 1:16).
We also appreciate all of you who have invited us to come and share in your churches in our upcoming mini furlough. At this point we have two services scheduled for every Sunday during the 2 ½ months we will be in the Pacific Northwest (January 29th – April 2nd). We also plan to visit as many as possible of our supporters who did not respond early enough to get on our 2023 calendar. It was amazing how quickly the dates were filled! If you did not respond and would like to get together with us on a weekday or at a special event (midweek service, men’s breakfast, or women’s tea, for example), please contact us ASAP on WhatsApp (+13605199154 or +243854923117) or by email (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org).
As mentioned in our last newsletter, Bill was in Kinshasa in early July to meet with all the Bible school site directors and the Central Africa APTEA director, Dr. Cécile Bomboko, about changes to the curriculum which will be implemented in the upcoming academic year. This includes combining certain courses and adding some new ones to the program. Following that conference, the leadership for the Lubumbashi campus met to discuss program changes and determine which professors would write or edit the new course syllabi. Classes are due to begin again on October 10th.
In mid-August both of us traveled to Kinshasa for another Bible school meeting plus a missions convention for the Assemblies of God, DR Congo. While the meaning of “missions” in Africa is often synonymous with church planting, it is exciting to see that the AG Congo also has a vision to reach across cultural barriers into places that are unreached or underserved and to spread the Good News of the Kingdom. Bill had the opportunity to preach a challenging message, which was broadcast live across DRC, to those in attendance.
We celebrated a landmark anniversary in August: 45 years of marriage! Our actual anniversary took place while we were in Kinshasa, but on the following Sunday, we had the opportunity to renew our vows, along with another couple from our English/international congregation. Anthony and Pascaline had purchased new wedding bands, and they wished to have their rings blessed and renew their vows. Since it was already a service celebrating marriage, Bill and Sonia also renewed their vows, and the congregation joyfully celebrated with them.
Earlier this month, Africa Theological Training Services conducted a training seminar in Libreville, Gabon, which Bill and Sonia were privileged to attend. The purpose of the seminar was to provide tools to Bible school administrators, librarians, and registrars in Central Africa. This was one of a series of training seminars provided in each region of the continent.
A bonus for us was the fact that the ATTS seminar followed the African Assemblies of God Alliance (AAGA) conference held at the same location, and we were able to spend some quality time with the General Superintendent of the Chadian AG, Pastor Frédéric Doumdingao. He is now the pastor of the church we planted in the capital city of N’Djaména, as well as the director of The Voice of Hope Radio station there in the capital. It was such a blessing to hear how well the AG is progressing in that arid land, as well as to see Pastor Frédéric once again.
The theme of this year’s Sunday messages in the English/international congregation has been “the God of the Open Door,” and it seems as though each week another door has opened for someone in the congregation. A recent sermon on Acts 16 reminded everyone that God’s open doors affect others, not just the one who walks through it.
May God’s grace be upon each of you!
Bill & Sonia Shaw, Lubumbashi, DR Congo