ReachGlobal, the international mission of the EFCA (Evangelical Free Church of America) has partnered with AFCA (American Foundation for Children with AIDS) since around 2008. I personally, on staff with EFCA and working primarily in DR Congo, have had many interactions with AFCA leadership, both face to face and by email, and have witnessed their heart of compassion and integrity as they have partnered with us in DR Congo. ReachGlobal ministers alongside its sister denomination in Congo, CECU (Communaute Evangelique du Christ en l’Ubangi), a denomination of over 900 churches in the northwest corner of Congo.
CECU has an HIV and AIDS department, as well as a large hospital (Tandala), two smaller hospitals and around 35 health centers. Their health ministry is managed and staffed by Congolese medical personnel, and our goal in ReachGlobal is to train and equip them, releasing them to better serve their people and communities.
AFCA has been amazing in partnering with us to attain our mission. Here are just some of the ways that they have served us and the CECU church in Ubangi, Congo:
- Over the past 3 years, they have totally funded two large training seminars to better equip medical personnel and the Church in their battle against HIV and AIDS. They connected us with excellent African teachers, Kenyan doctors, and paid all of their expenses to train our medical personnel. These were 10 day seminars, and all expenses were paid by AFCA. The seminars were excellent, on the following topics:
- General HIV and AIDS education for health professionals
- PMCT of HIV – this was an incredible training, bringing together health professionals and local midwives and village chiefs.
- Over these past 5 years, AFCA has been providing HIV testing kits as well as antibiotics for HIV positive children in our health centers and hospital. These supplies are sent every quarter, as the medical director at Tandala Hospital provides the reporting and order for the following 3 months.
- Just recently, I was in Congo when a container full of medical supplies arrived at the port in Akula, Congo. Just the shipping of this container cost tens of thousands of dollars alone! The supplies had to be transported by a 20 ton truck in two loads, and I was at Tandala Hospital when the unloading happening. It was a joyful time as I watched the staff, so grateful for the beds, medicines, bandages, birthing kits, sutures, instruments. Beautiful solar panels and water filters were sent out…after the Director for AFCA, Tanya Weaver, visited some of the health centers a couple of years ago, she was amazed that nurses were delivering babies with a flashlight! And that none of them had good, clean water to offer at their clinics. Thus, the solar panels and water filters.The supplies filled a whole storage area – the doctor and staff who oversee the outlying health centers are delivering the beds, solar panels, and birthing kits to around 16 health centers.
- AFCA has also provided livestock and seed to help those who are living with HIV and have children who are HIV positive. Through these gifts, they provide some income for these families, and a better nutrition for those who are often sick.
- We cannot thank AFCA enough for all they have and are doing in our corner of Congo, and area basically without electricity and clean, running water. AFCA has visited and travelled in our area a couple of times, and are planning another trip. When in Congo, they endure harsh living conditions and difficult – next to impossible! – travel. But they want to make sure their supplies are making it to the right people, and they want to listen and hear the needs of the Congolese themselves.
We are very grateful to AFCA for their partnership with us and with the Congolese Churches CECU. And we have also been extremely impressed with their follow-up and accountability.
GlobalFingerprints CONGO Coordinator