4/30/2014 03:27:00 PM sendtheroths 0 Comments

At Global Outreach Foundation Congo (GOF-C), we have four core values: christlikeness, innovation, celebration, culture.

We did a time of worship and sharing memories at the
celebration. Moses, a GOF-C worship leader who lost his
wife and was left with five small children to raise by himself,
came and happily lead worship. We were all really grateful
to see him after this month of mourning.

I (Amethyst) want to expound on one particular value in this post. Celebration.

Congolese are a people of celebration, but the last two decades have dramatically shaped and even changed the culture of this region. People who were once trusting and hospitable are now afraid to help a stranger. People who were once rich and generous are now poor and reluctant to help anyone from outside of their community without the guarantee of payment or monetary reward. People who once laughed about village life and family now sneer and jeer at each other’s tribes, their government and even themselves for living in a ‘failed state.’

There’s even a joke that many people say in Congo.

George W. Bush died and went to hell. When he arrived, he asked the devil if he could make a phone call to the United States. The devil said that the call would be $5 per minute and that he would have to wait in line to make the phone call. 

Members from the Community Center volunteered
to cook and planned pretty much the whole celebration
by themselves. 
 Bush followed the devil’s instructions and met Mobutu (the president who changed the Congo to Zaire and ruled for 32 years) while waiting in the line. When they began to talk to one another, Bush found out that Mobutu was only paying $1 per minute to call Congo, while Bush was paying $5 per minute. Bush immediately approached the Devil. “Why do I have to pay five times more to call the U.S. while we are both here in hell?” Bush said. “Because you are calling long distance. If you were to call Congo, the price would be cheaper because it is a local call.”

We bought a grill and were happy to see that even the men
(which is not usually culturally accepted) were pitching in
to help cook!
Andrew and I not a huge fan of this joke, but Congolese actually find it hilarious. It’s actually quite sad.

GOF-C isn’t a huge organization, but we believe that there’s more to laugh about than the misfortunes of this nation or others. In order to change the culture of a nation we must find the things that are worth celebrating.

There’s always something to celebrate and we think it is important to find those things in life here to celebrate: our salvation, our family, holidays, individual achievements/milestones and team achievements and milestones are just a few things that we highlight with the GOF-C team.

One milestone that we’ve reached is the opening of an HQ office. It’s not larger than life, but it’s not too small either. It’s just what we need for this season in the organization.

We decided to do an Easter “Pasaka” (Pasaka, is Easter in Swahili) celebration to give other members of the Community Center who have graduated Phase 1 an opportunity to see the location of the main offices, eat and have fellowship.

Pastor Balumu, one of the pastors who is an active member of the Community Center stood up and said something very special.

Pastor Balumu has been a member of the Goma
Community Center for three years. He gave a very
encouraging word for everyone at the celebration. 
“This celebration really illustrates all of the values of this fellowship at the same time. We are people from different tribes and most importantly, churches and denominations: Catholic and Protestant, Baptist and Pentacostal, and we are celebrating the resurrection of the One who unites us all. This may seem simple, but it’s not—because no where else in this city is there a group of people that can lay down cultural and denominational differences and just celebrate Pasaka. This is the embodiment of Christlikeness, innovation, celebration and culture.”

We know that life isn’t easy hear in Congo, we know that many people have suffered and are continue to suffer at the hands of injustice. We also know that many of our own members of the Goma Community Center are victims to this injustice.

But I’d like to end this post with a quote that really sum up our philosophy on celebration, here, in the U.S. or anywhere else that we go in this world.

 Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving. –Dale Carnegie

This is a picture of only a few of the over one hundred members of the Goma Community Center.