A service and Q&A in Kinshasa
Trip Start Feb 13, 2011
30Trip End Mar 14, 2011
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Where I stayed
I was ready to leave at 08:30 and Justin was on time. We drove through the morning traffic with no slowdowns and reached the hall before 09:00. As usual not many had made it there by that time, so we waited. To use the time as well as we could, I started an impromptu interactive Bible Study. We went through various scriptures, mostly proverbs and I asked them to explain them to me. I picked several that seemed to contradict each other so we had a lively and fun discussion as well as educational.
After more hymns – they've learned our traditional hymns very well now – I spoke once again about the purpose of the Church. I kept my wool suit jacket on out of respect for the day even though it was quite hot. I was quite moist by the end of the service, and as soon as it was over I took my jacket and tie off.
We took a short break to stretch and then held the ceremony for the blessing of the little children.
We took a short break to stretch and move about and then came back for a Q&A session about the situation in the various associations. Most of them were practical in nature: is there still chance of reconciliation? What will the organizational structure look like? What are you doing to try to prevent this from happening again in the future? I answered to the best of my ability, though in some cases I wasn’t able to give a definitive answer as it would have required my foreseeing the future.
When the questions finally ended, and everyone started for home, Jacob arrived just before we left. He had come straight from the airport. He had finished his work the day before but his return flight was this morning. Jacob, Justin and Victor and I drove back to the hotel.
Finally at the hotel, we found a table and chairs in the air conditioning and discussed the situation once again. We talked not only of the international church situation, but also particular needs in the Congo. The economy is so poor, and the government so poorly at present run that civil servants like the three men before me hadn’t been paid in six months. Many people are going hungry, and much of Kinshasa is living from hand to mouth. They wanted me to know how serious and difficult this situation had become. They also wished to discuss ways to improve the stability of the congregation in Kinshasa. We had a serious and helpful discussion for over an hour. This is one of the things that need to be done each time I come. It’s very hard to stay current with situations and needs like this remotely.
I asked them to put some things down on paper so I could get an overview of needs, and ask if they would prefer to go over later this evening or tomorrow morning; they preferred the latter. So we will meet again tomorrow morning, and look to find appropriate and effective ways to help the church members here.
So I have the rest of the afternoon to rest, what a luxury! There is still work to be done tomorrow morning, so I can’t totally relax yet, like I will tomorrow night once I’m on the plane, wheels up. But this trip is nearing its completion and that brings a very good feeling.