Seminars in Kinshasa

Trip Start Feb 13, 2011
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26
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Trip End Mar 14, 2011


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Where I stayed

Flag of Congo - The Dem. Repub.  , Kinshasa,
Thursday, March 10, 2011

This morning I felt quite a bit better when I woke, but I determined to take it very easy on food during the day just to be safe. I was waiting in the lobby as we agreed, ready to go at 08:30. Justin didn't arrive until 9:30. Transportation is rather haphazard so one can’t be too much a stickler for time. We drove through the dusty, gritty streets of Kinshasa and arrived at our usual hall about 15 minutes later. It was nearly empty. I was late, but most would be later still.

We were finally able to begin the meetings a bti before 10:00. I started by answering questions about the situation in the various associations and how we ended up where we are now. There were a number of questions, which lead me to give an overview chronology of events and crucial issues. When these questions ended we moved on to more leadership training seminars on which I have put a high emphasis over the last years in Africa. It is important to develop local leadership as there is only so much that one can do remotely and with one or two visits of three or four days a year. I covered the topic of fundamental keys for Bible Study and took questions on this. Bible study is more challenging here because even something as simple as a French Bible concordance costs $100; not something we can provide for everyone, and we don’t have a permanent hall yet in which to create a library. A few men have access to a computer at work, so I told them about the French version of the Online Bible which can be downloaded for free.

We took a break for lunch, prepared by one of the local ladies. She served rice, beans, plantain, fish, and sauce, a feast by local standards. Many people in Kinshasa are having trouble making ends meet. Most civil servants haven’t been paid in over a year, but they keep going to work, hoping against hope that they will get part of what they’re owed if they keep their jobs. Others are having just as hard a time. So a meal like this is pretty rare for most people these days. I skipped lunch and drank lots of water.

After lunch we began again with more seminars. I coved the topic of faithfulness as it relates to leadership in the Church. Again we had time for discussion and questions. The heat became oppressive by 15:00, and the power went out which meant the ceiling fan stopped its slow turn. Folks here are used to the kind of pace we keep elsewhere so I felt we were reaching the point of diminishing returns. We stopped and money was distributed to pay the transportation fee home. The cost per participant varied between one and two dollars depending on where they lived and that would have proved a real hardship had we not provided the help.

My taxi was late arriving, so we had more time to chat with those who were still present.  We stopped on the way back to buy water. The UN presence in Kinshasa means prices are sky-high for almost everything. The Grand Hotel and the Memling, the two safe hotels in Kinshasa, charge obscenely high prices for everything. So every small thing I can do to save I try to do. A one-person pizza in the outdoor restaurant at the Grand Hotel costs 25 to 35 dollars! But I can keep the leftovers in a box in my room and eat them for breakfast and sometimes lunch the next day. I’m not trying to be overly-dramatic about this, it just irks me that they should charge so much for everything. It's my way to strike back at the Empire.

Tomorrow will be another busy day of both office work and seminars.
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Comments

maryhendren
maryhendren on

Hi Joel,
Glad to hear you are feeling a little better and were able to hold leadership classes. It seems you meet resistance of some kind everywhere. The brethren were blessed, however, with a good meal and spiritual food. How crushing that food costs have been jacked up because of the UN presence. They must have sufficient funds to cover these prices and not object, but what distressing circumstances for everyone else. Regards, Mary

danielandcindy
danielandcindy on

Wow, it's amazing to think that you are still travelling! We wish you a happy Sabbath and are praying for your continuing safety and that you will be back to full health ASAP.

hervedubois
hervedubois on

The picture taken in the habitual hall makes me think that the names and organizations can change the way they want, but the people of God remain the same. Thank you again for your good works, standing for the truth, and warning in a good manner about the spiritual dangers out there. We are happy to know today that you are home and safe.

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