Where to begin...
On February 9, I landed in Brazzaville, Congo. It was the first time there. I have read some about the atrocities of Leopold II from Belgium against these people in a book with pictures in it. I think I have expected it to be the same. Oh, but was I in for a shock. Congo is not like West Africa. It is more developed, and the people are much more kind “behind the wheel.” The beautiful and wide Congo River with Kinshasa, DRC on the other side make a nice backdrop to Brazzaville.
We intended to train some facilitators from the EEC(Evangelical Churches of Congo ... in English), which is the largest denomination in Congo (which we did), but the president of the Federation ofthe Churches of Congo, Jean Baptiste, contacted me the week prior and decided that he would make our event available for the whole church. He is also the superintendent of the Assemblies of God denomination. The Lord has given us such favor with them in WACA! I am glad for his inclusion of the whole church of Congo, because we work with the larger body of Christ, across denominational lines. The result is that we had two meetings running in two different venues at the same time in Brazzaville. I tried to consolidate into one, but by the time that would have happened, we had only one more day left with the EEC.
The meeting that the president of the federation put together had 250 pastors in it the first night! We were planning to train 100 facilitators, maximum 200 after talking to Jean Baptiste. Usually host churches bring about 2 facilitators to be trained each. Along with the pastor, that would potentially be 750 people for the next three days of training. My budget was sunk! But the Lord knew all along what He was doing; I’m sure that Jean Baptiste did too. But not speaking French, I did not. However, the Holy Spirit brought to mind the lyrics of a song at the ORU Worship night that Kathy and I attended the week before I left, “The Lord knows what to do; Jesus always knows what to do.” Those words comforted me as I went to bed that night. The next day I was pleasantly surprised to find less people, about 130 of them that we trained the next three days. I never thought I’d be glad to see less people,but I was. So much for my great faith! Well, the first night was a presentation to the entire Church of Congo. The next three days, those who were missions-minded remained for training along with their “Timothy’s and Titus’s”to be trained as facilitators. It is still probably the 2nd or 3rd largest Facilitator Training we have held in WACA, and about 40 others were trained at the 2nd venue. We had an amazing time in the Lord. We only left 10 Live School Units (LSU) there. One school has 12 churches working together to run a school. Wow. That in itself should bring great unity! Thank You, Jesus!
From Brazzaville, we were to fly to Pointe Noire after the last day of training was over. We got to the airport, only to find out that TACair (my friend, Penny calls it “Take A Chance” airlines) had not paid their taxes and the government had grounded them from flying. The only other flight flying that night was oversold. So, we spent the night and took the 7-8 hour bus ride there the next day, which made us a day late to our Pointe Noire meeting. But Youlou, the amazing young man who is helping us coordinateCongo, has already built a team of about 6 to help him. They did the training the first day while we were traveling on the bus. And the next several days were amazing. These people are hungry and motivated. I pray they have the endurance to carry through. Please join us in that prayer.
We went to the beach on Sunday afternoon and enjoyed the ocean breeze and fish at the seaside. On Monday, Feb 18, while Youlou finished the FT, Justin and I flew the one hour flight to Libreville, Gabon. Only, it was on TAC air, which flight was supposedly flying but ended up being cancelled. AfriJet Airlines also does the flight, but it too was cancelled. The only other way to get to Libreville for our evening meeting was to travel what took us 16 hours with the layovers. TIA (This Is Africa).