Cookstown missionary Maud Kells has been reflecting upong the past six months in the Democratic Republic of Congo which has been a prosperous time for the mission station.
A member of Molesworth Presbyterian Church, Maud, who has been working in the country since 1968, took part in the centenary celebrations for WEC International at Mulita which marked the appointment of a new principal and teachers for the newly built primary school ‘Ecole Primaire Maud Kells.’
Last year Maud was evacuated from the village after fears rebel fighters were set to launch an attack on the hospital where she worked. Maud trekked miles to a town close to the village before she was airlifted to safety.
This time however, life wasn’t just as dramatic; however Maud suffered a serious setback in the form of an outbreak of shingles, but she received treatment which she described as an ‘answer to prayer.’
Maud has been reflecting on the recent sojourn, and laughed as she recalled bringing everything back to the Congo along with her medical supplies, ‘even the kitchen sink!’
The story was that Maud’s home in Cookstown was fitted with a new kitchen and with the old units only fit to be disposed of, Maud decided to put the items to use. The stainless steel kitchen sink was brought to Mulita to be used as a basin in the labour ward which is sadly lacking items which Cookstown people take for granted.
Maud witnessed the fruits of her team’s labour with the church having a new ceiling fitted as well as a re-roofing. An extra classroom has also been built for the primary school to assist with the growing number of children who attend.
After Maud had settled in briefly, she travelled by MAF plane (Mission Aviation Fellowship) to the station at Isiro for the large centenary celebrations where a huge ‘defile’ (parade) was one of the main events.
“We are so grateful to the Lord for all He has done for us. It was terrific seeing so many people celebrating - everyone was out in the streets, marching, singing and dancing. It was truly wonderful,” said Maud.
Maud also canoed along the Lowa River to visit a German engineer who was responsible for repairing the road and installing a new ferry. Maud enquired if the squad would be able to repair the road into Mulita and, with prayer, she hopes that this will still happen.
Maud’s health took a turn for the worse and around mid-December she began to experience eye trouble and the pain began to spread to the right side of her face and to her head. By Christmas Eve Maud had developed shingles and was in a lot of pain and discomfort.
“There was no treatment for shingles. On Christmas Day I should have been out preaching at a big conference at Vitumbatumba but because I was feeling so ill with shingles and I could not see, I was unable to go and the Head Pastor took my place.
“I spent Christmas in bed praying that God would provide the medication. In a wonderful way, one of our nurses had been to a Heal Africa conference and he had received one sample treatment for shingles and it was wonderful as he was able to give it to me so I started treatment straight away,” she said.
At the start of the year, the hospital administrator left Mulita to go to a medical conference at Nebobongo via road as his medical condition did not allow him to travel by air.
“A few days later we were shocked to hear he’d been found dead in a hotel where he was staying overnight,” said Maud. “His relatives are pagans; however our prayers were answered as we were able to arrange with MAF to have his body brought back to Mulita,” she said.
At the end of her six months of service Maud enjoyed five days in Kampala in Uganda, before heading home to Cookstown.
She said she wanted to thank everyone for their prayers.
“I really appreciate the prayers, for all the centenary celebrations and for when I had the shingles and the drama of the medical conference. I really appreciate the support and prayers of everyone,” added Maud.
Mulita is an area that experiences conflict and hardship. Maud has been evacuated several times from the area and has had to assist with the rebuilding of the mission station. When Maud is home she delivers illustrated talks and slide-shows to groups around the country.
As for the future, Maud hopes to establish a nursery for the growing number of children in the area.
“I never ask for money - I just trust the Lord and it has been like that from the beginning,” Maud added.
Later this year, Maud is hoping to bring baby clothes and catgut suture back to the Congo for use in the maternity ward and is always grateful for donations.