Saturday, July 3, 2010
Saturday in the Congo
Up at six and breakfast done by 7:45 and off to get ready for another day. We had a time of morning devotions and a time of prayer for the day and then waited for Jean Baptiste to arrive to get our day going. We walked down to Kintambo through the streets where it seemed there were hundreds of people on the side of the road selling everything from bread, meat, vegetables and even coal. The streets are mostly sand and gravel except for the main roads which are paved and in a lot of cases smoother than roads in southern Manitoba. We have been welcomed warmly by the people of the Congo and we can see what Paul meant when he said that they are very relational and a warm, friendly people.
One of the people we met at our house was George and he works for the Christian Broadcasting Network and lives in Virginia. He was doing a piece on the Congo and told us that one of the reoccuring themes when he interviewed people, both young and old, was that the peace and the joy evident in the Congo is surely due to all of the people who are praying for the country. Their only hope, he continued, was and is in Jesus Christ. Only He brings the true salvation and restoration. What a wonderful message coming from a people that, by our standards, are poor. The truth is, the Congolese people are rich in many of the areas that are truly important. We can learn so much from the Congolese people if only we open our hearts.
After walking for an hour or so, we called a "bus" and proceeded up one of the worst roads you can imagine. Off to our right was the Congo River and off to the left Congolese workers were building stones up the side of a mountain, making steps up at regular intervals. Most of this was manual labor. The road was dusty and full of potholes, but what an experience to see the wide Congo river lined with fishermen. We also passed the rapids through which no boat would want to pass.
After getting off the bus and another 20 minute walk we were at the house of one of the church members where we were to have lunch. This family had 4 beautiful children and were working on building their home little by little. The father talked of how God had blessed them with their children and also with a job that allowed them to buy this property and build a house. He worked at a number of medical centers as an Xray technician and usually was gone from 7am till 8pm. Here, again, we could feel God's presence and our hearts were filled with gratitude. After a wonderful Congolese meal consisting of whole fish, beef, chicken, rice, a vegetable I can't name and some very hot sauce, we headed back into the city to the Church.
We were a part of a service at which they had invited college students to attend. Paul and Carianne shared about being Christians in a school environment. There were also a number of Congolese who shared what God meant to them, and the way He was real in their lives. Jean Baptiste spoke to them and shared the importance of have Christian young people who could be a positive influence on the country. After the service we all shared a meal together and then we walked back to our house in the dark. It is still obvious that Paul is very comfortable here, as he seems to know the city very well, and is greeted by many different people as we walk through the city. God had been good to us and has continued to grant us health, and give us many experiences through which we can see his goodness. Continue to pray for health as we have been solely eating congolese food. Pray for Dave as he prepares a message for tomorrow's service at the church. Pray that we will continue to be open to God's leading and guiding as we continue to expereince new things and meet new people.
ps I will try to post some photos but the internet is so slow it takes about an hour per picture so its hard to have enough time to do so.