Friday, August 9, 2013

A Shining Student... Julen

Julien was raised in a home with a loving mother and an abusive father.  (A common story here.)  His parents finally divorced and the mother returned to her village.  Julien stayed in the city and says he had very low self-esteem.  He was excited to be chosen to play football, but he broke his clavical bone and couldn’t play serious ball any more.  (Just like Ed.)  He started working by selling bread early in the morning on the streets and then he started selling other  little things and made enough money to survive.  He finally ended up working at a library that was run by Catholic sisters.  He worked there for 12  years and proved himself a responsible and dedicated young man.  When one of the nun’s retired, she gave Julien enough money to buy a little home for his young family.  About 11 years ago, soon after they moved into the new home, his cousin introduced him to the church.  He knew that it was true and he and his wife joined the church.  He was a Sunday School teacher, then Elders Quorum president, and now he is the bishop.   He and his wife now have 5 children.
He heard about the construction program and felt very inspired that he wanted to be in the program.  Supposedly it is for returned missionaries, but there have been  a few exceptions.  He applied for the program when they chose the first class.  He didn’t make it, but he applied again 6 months later.  Again he was not selected to be a student.  However, he felt very impressed that he was supposed to take the course, so he applied a third time.  He was finally accepted. 
 When we took over the program, Julien had completed 6 of his 9 months training.   He lives far out on the outskirts of town.  He wakes up at 4:30 to leave for school at 5:30.  He takes the public transport, as 99% of the Congolese people do.  It takes him over 2 hours to get to the class and job location.  In the first 6 weeks  of Ed’s teaching he was the only student who had perfect attendance , with only one tardy.  (Which is amazing.)   However, 3 weeks ago he contracted serious malaria and missed 2 weeks of classes.  We are thrilled to report he has recovered and is back at work.  

He has one month left in the program, and then he will have completed the course.  However, he has been chosen to continue to attend the construction program, (while being paid a small salary) for another  15 months, as a PTI (Perspective Training Instructor).   
He has been targeted  to step up to take Ed’s place as the instructor in Kinshasa, when we have finished our mission.  Our goal is to work ourselves out of a job…  and be replaced by strong local leaders. 

He is a great, great man and it is an honor to work with him!


  1. What a sweet man. I am totally crying at the thought of how much this program has changed this man's life. I am so glad he didn't die from malaria.

  2. Good to hear from you. Mitzi helping me figure out the "blog"