Part 2 of 2: Transitioning Back “Home”

9/07/2011 01:33:00 PM sendtheroths 0 Comments

Funny Nuances and Relished Moments
Whenever I (Andrew) travel back to the US sometimes I struggle with becoming fully American in my thinking. Now this isn’t to say I can’t function or even have difficulty functioning. In fact that is one thing the Lord has blessed me with is being able to be flexible and change/adapt to new cultures and surroundings. This being said, there are some funny habits from Congo that I end up doing in the US. Partly it was the jet lag; partly it’s the fact that I’ve gotten accustomed to life in Congo, my other home.

Funny Nuances
  1. It’s time to leave it’s past dark – We were out to dinner with some friends and it began to get dark. I caught myself before I nearly spoke out loud, “Hey Amethyst and I need to be going, it’s past dark…” Wow, really? In America we can travel freely at night without much fear or problems of being robbed or killed.

  2. Passport, wallet, headlamp: check! – For the past week since I’ve been home I’ve been sleeping with my passport, wallet and headlamp on the shelf next to my bed “just in case I need to wake up in the middle of the night and run…” Amethyst pointed it out to me. Then I noticed that it wasn’t even a cognitive thought of mine to do this, it was completely subconscious.

  3. I like the right side of the car – The vehicle of ours in Congo is a right hand drive. I find it more comfortable to sit on the right side of our car even if there isn’t a steering wheel or gas pedals.

  4. Why let the water run? – When I take a shower I find myself turning on the water (but not too hot because perhaps the hot water might run out) and quickly getting myself wet. Then I shut off the faucet (I don’t need to run out of water in the middle of my shower) and lather my hair with shampoo and soap up. This is followed by a quick blast of water to rinse. Well at least I am saving on the water bill instead of letting the shower run the whole time.

  5. Plug it in, plug it in! – Before I go to bed I find myself plugging in all of my electronics (laptop, cell phone, batteries, etc.) to the power outlet so that by the morning they have a full charge. I don’t want the power to cut and have my electronics drained of a full charge during the day. I might as well try to get my electronic items as charges as possible while I sleep. Oh ya, we have power all the time in the US minus a hurricane, tornado or thunderstorm.

Moments We Relish
There are certain moments that stick out to us that are memorable, ones we can’t easily forget. Some moments were good, some were difficult but everything works out for the glory of God. We wish you were there with us the whole summer, but this will have to suffice.
  1. We’ve got wheels – For two years we’ve lacked our own vehicle. However, this year we had amazing favor to raise the funds for a four-wheel-drive vehicle at an amazing price for Africa standards! We purchased a 1999 Toyota Surf and it was our trusty workhorse taking us to villages otherwise unreachable without it.

  2. You’re coming back right? – As Amethyst and Clarence were leaving back to the United States many of our closest contacts began to cry and had sorrow in their hearts both men and women alike. One of the ladies who goes to university in Kampala, Uganda commented, “There are so many missionaries in Uganda but why aren’t there any in Congo?” She continued, “We need missionaries in Congo, you’re coming back right?”

    Yes of course we are coming back! We’re committed to Congo for the long run. The Congolese have been lied to before but Amethyst’s sincerity eased her tears but they didn’t stop completely. I think her tears of sorrow turned to tears of joy!

  3. Why shouldn’t I kill you? – We visited a remote village with the intent on scouting locations for working with child soldiers. There was a meeting of about a hundred child soldiers where we asked them questions and they told us stories. Towards the end of them came forward and asked, “What are you going to do for me? We have no way to make any income, why don’t I go back into the militia, take a gun and shoot you?”

    Well nothing is stopping you from doing that, but we believe that God has a plan and a purpose for you and we aren’t going to treat you like a child. You are a grown adult and we will treat you as such. This answer stunned and shocked him but didn’t satisfy him. The message was clear though, we’re not here to give you anything for free but if you choose to work hard, you will be blessed by the fruit of your labor. missionaries in Congo, you’re coming back right?”

  4. Forming a board – It isn’t that glorious, the background work that goes in to establishing ourselves as a recognized NGO in Congo. In fact there are many hoops and ladders to go through that give us many troubles. But, it was encouraging to establish the founding members and board members of the organization as I left Congo. These are exciting times because in a few months we will be formally recognized by the Congolese government as an NGO, with the added benefits of being recognized as such!

  5. The year of increase – This year God has allowed us to enter into a new season of ministry and that is a year of increase! God has given us an increase of contacts, allowed us to travel to more remote places, we’ve identified hundreds of child soldiers to minister to, we’ve found favor with some government officials, the doors are open to begin full-time ministry in Congo.

  6. The best but hardest. thing. EVER. – I consider myself physically fit and in good shape. However, this year I did one of the hardest but most rewarding things ever. Seeing the mountain gorillas is one of the most amazing and awe-inspiring experiences on the face of the earth. But to get to them is the hardest, most physically active thing I’ve ever done in terms of physical activity. It is trudging through elephant grass, dense jungle forest, muddy river beds, rocky boulder fields and everything in between, not to mention you’re walking up a mountain the whole way. The labor is worth it though once you see these “gentle” giants.

  7. We like visitors – This year we had the opportunity to receive three short-term visitors from the US. Clarence a black America a newer Christian but on fire for the Lord, Pastor Jean an African American born in Congo but refugee to the US and now US citizen, and Pastor Steve a muzungu as muzungu can but the man who married Amethyst and I. They were a great blessing and a tremendous encouragement to the Congolese.