Video: Where the Road Disappeared

10/16/2013 05:38:00 PM sendtheroths 1 Comments

*Note: this is a guest post from Pastor Blake Lorenz of Encounter Church, Orlando, Fla. explaining his experiences in DRC with the Roths and Global Outreach Foundation. 

We have just returned from Masisi, a village three to six hours drive from Goma. The road is almost impossible to describe as it is unlike any road you have traveled. Fortunately the scenery is out of the Garden of Eden. The steep rising mountains are lush with green vegetation, producing stunning pictures of beauty unmatched by any I have ever seen. However, the road itself is a monster of ruts that can swallow an entire car, full of soupy mud or clay slick as ice.

On our journey vehicles are stuck , sometimes up to their frames in muck. They block the road because only one car at a time can pass. So, you find teams of people digging and pushing, others cars pulling with strong straps the stuck vehicle out of their predicament. The bumps jar, jar, jar...twice I struck my head on the window beside me hard enough to cause a concussion. Once, the road disappeared as we drove through a river!

If we had not the two best drivers in Congo, Andrew and Amethyst, we would not have finished our travels to Masisi or gotten home to Goma. I told Amethyst, she is doing what no other woman in Congo has done as she drives these roads. As we pass the people, who hug the roadside, which increases the danger as we slide sideways on the mud toward them, they are barely inches from getting hit, especially the kids. They marvel at seeing a woman drive. This is a sight unseen in this area of the Congo along these grand roads.

The dangerous trip is worth its weight in gold as we are able to minister to the pastors, child soldiers, caretakers, and people. Let me share some inner thoughts I recorded the night of our arrival.

Two hours into our drive to Masisi, I wonder why am I doing this? I am in the middle of the Congo, far from home. I feel miserable. My body aches from the constant jarring. My sinuses and chest are full of infection. I can not think clearly. If I try to close my eyes to sleep the bang of my head against the window or on the ceiling of the car awakens me to the road wars we face in driving on these paths through the mountains.

I am in Amethyst's car, following Andrew. Suddenly, I watch his vehicle disappear, swallowed up in a crater in the road. Then, without warning the road ends and we are crossing a flowing river. Five hours of this battle and I feel somehow God owes us combat pay, especially with rebel troops hiding in the mountains and soldiers along the road.

The roads literally swallow vehicles, blocking us for
sometimes hours at a time.
When we arrive, the team is exhausted and lethargic. Now, we are supposed to preach and minister to 35 pastors, who have eagerly gathered for inspiration. Welcome to evangelism in the Congo!

Twelve hours later, I lay in our tent praising God, in awe of His transforming work, doing only what God can do in people's lives. How does God use us to stir hearts, change lives, and heal bodies under impossible conditions? My sinuses cleared. I feel alive. 35 pastors and leaders prayed to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Where they once never gathered together for prayer, they are ready to begin meeting for prayer to cry out to God for revival to awaken their territory to the hope of Christ. Child soldiers, traumatized by war have played soccer in the rain, laughed and had the gospel preached to them by Elijah, our translator. Their caretakers have been taught and encouraged by Steven. Hope fills the air like the glory of God that reigns on these mountains of beauty. Our team is pumped with excitement to see God move through Andrew and Amythest's leadership.

Those were my thoughts as I rested in prayer in the war torn village of Masisi, Congo. The next day our team of nine split in two and went to church separately to witness, preach, and minister. I visited one of the strongest churches I have been to in Africa. It was actually a large structure of wood and dirt floor. I was a little apprehensive if it might collapse. Only in Africa can such a structure exist of wooden poles and beams holding up a tin roof!

Our most recent team that went to Masisi (left to right):
Andrew, Chris, Claude, Elijah, Blake, Ellee, Sam and Steven
The service was full of life. They had an evangelist from Goma preach before me. I must admit I was somewhat intimidated as he gave a marvelous message in their own language. My flesh kept trying to discourage my spirit saying why do they need me to preach when they already have this outstanding preacher. I certainly cannot relate to these people like he is. So, I prayed in the Spirit, and soaked in his message. I cannot do anything anyway. It is all God.

I felt great freedom when I arose to preach with much joy and power in my heart. Even though the people had been sitting now for hours they were engaged. Needless to say, God worked mightily and the entire church cried out to God to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, to receive dreams and visions for a fresh vision to live for Jesus and His purposes. Then when we opened for healing the people stormed forward. I have to believe many were healed.

That night we went to the market area. It was pouring rain, as it is the rainy season. The clouds were heavy on the mountains and in the valley. Our only hope was prayer. So we took authority over the weather and sure enough the rain moved off all around us, but stopped in the village as we left for the event.

Crowds of children flocked to us as Chris, Steven and others entertained them with games and tricks. When Steven shared his testimony, hundreds were gathered. I then shared a brief message amidst the chaos of the kids and market place. It is a challenge to preach when you feel no one is listening, but they heard in the Spirit. Andrew then showed the Jesus film. They watched in awe as the life of Jesus played on a sheet held high by two wooden poles. People gave their lives to Christ in the mixture of the traditional village life and modern technology. ONLY GOD! Such is a weekend in the mountain village of Masisi.

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