I had a set agenda for my time in the Congo. When I arrived, however, God began to redirect me. After being with my friends, Andrew and Amethyst for a few days, I began to understand that they were in need of much encouragement and refreshing despite the fact that their ministry is doing very well right now. It is not easy being a missionary at times. You often find yourself caught in between two worlds. You can’t quite relate to those in your home country, and you can’t quite relate to those in the country you live in either. It became clear to me that the main reason God had sent me there was to encourage my friends, and logically by touching the leaders of a ministry, you touch everyone underneath them as well.
Everywhere I went, there was ministry. Upon my arrival, we went to buy a SIM card for my cell phone. At the store, I saw a lame woman on the street. I wanted to pray for her. She let us pray, and as we did, more than twenty other people crowded around us! I wasn’t expecting this, but they wanted to see what these 'white men' wanted with a lame, beggar woman.
People from the crowd asked for prayer. One man asked us to visit his home and to pray for his wife to have a baby, which we did a couple days later. After praying, I knew it was time to preach the Gospel. I stood up on the curb and as Andrew translated for me, I shared about the love that God has for us despite our sinfulness. I was reminded of Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe.”
On another day, I walked with Ibrahim, a member of the Community Center, to a school where he taught English (as a third or fourth language) to educated young adults and college students. He invited me teach the class that day since I was visiting from U.S. and was a native English speaker. I spent time talking to the students after the class, telling them why I was in Congo: to share Christ with people.
The students appreciatively invited me back to class the next day. This time, they asked me to preach the Gospel to them, so the next day I came back and preached the Gospel to the entire class!
I planned to go to the Masisi Centre, where the Roths and their team started the Peacemaker Program, a ministry that helps transition children from the militia back into their community. This part of my trip was much shorter than anticipated, but still fruitful.
We met with several of the Peacemakers’ caretakers to encourage them. I brought my guitar and facilitated music for worship and prayer using some of the Swahili I had learned to worship God. We had a powerful time together!
Andrew, Claude (who oversees of the Peacemaker Program)
and I in Masisi.
I was actually a little discouraged, because I only had a short time with him. But I decided to trust God ...and He didn’t disappoint.
I bought some souvenirs at a local shop before leaving Congo. One of them was a special wooden, carved mural with images reminding me of Goma, the city that I stayed in.
After returning to Andrew and Amethyst's house, I turned the carving over and the artist had carved his name on the back.
The name of the artist was Augustin, the same name as the Peacemaker that God had allowed me to minister to!
I knew right then that God was encouraging me, letting me know that my short time with Augustin was significant. I know one day that God is going to use him in great ways.
Wooden mural of Goma with “Augustin” carved in the back.
On my last night, the Community hosted all-night prayer for different members and churches in the community. Throughout the night I taught on the seven lifestyle commitments designed to take those who are hungry for more of God to another level in their relationship with Him. It was the perfect setting for this kind of teaching.
The Father worked everything out just perfectly.