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9/19/2018 Smiles

Posted by nuruyamapendo on September 29, 2018 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (2)

Kasenga sits along the Luapula River and is known for its abundant supply of fish. The primary source of protein for Kasena residents is fish. Fish supplies from the river are really like crops; some years supplies are scarcer than others. There is also a wide variety of fish from the river- catfish, tiger fish, tilapia, Thompson and eels are the ones I’m able to name. There are also large prehistoric-looking fish I’ve seen, but I don’t know their name.

Men from the nearby village fish on Sundays. Their wives or family members carry the fish 2-2.5 miles to the market to sell them on Mondays. Our goal is to meet the women on the way to the market in order to have the best selection of fish. One of my staff members and I ride the motorcycle down a rural road (I use the word “road” loosely…), carrying a small red and white cooler chest to hold the fish, as well as a pocketful of money to buy our weekly supply. This day was different, however, because we drove the truck. The motorcycle was being used elsewhere.

Today (Monday) the supply of fish was exceptional! Kapakele was surrounded by eight or nine women, all excited to sell us their fish. The staff member’s job is to negotiate the best price for the fish in accordance with the number of people we must feed for the week. The seasons dictate the types of fish available; this week the bargain was shiny yellow and silver tilapia of all sizes. I asked Kapakele to negotiate for the larger fish because they contain more meat. The fish were grouped by price and we began our selections ($3 and $6 per group). Each woman was paid according to what we purchased from them.

Among the group we meet, there are two sisters who always sell fish together. For some reason this day, there were not happy. They seemed to think that others were getting more of their fair share of the fish money from Nuru Ya Mapendo. There wasn’t anything I could do to make them happy; we had paid fairly according to our purchases.

As we started to pull away, I verified with Kapakele that we would be passing by the place where the women wanted to sell their fish. “Why don’t we make them happy”, I asked him, “and drop them at the market so they don’t have to walk the next 1.5 miles in the sun?” He thought it was a good idea, walked around to the back of the truck and invited the ladies to climb in the back. With big smiles, plastic fish basins and nursing babies, they tumbled in and found a place to sit. Two other ladies shortly behind us ran to also have a ride to sell their goods. As we traveled down the road, we stopped to pick up two more ladies who had talked to use earlier. The back of our truck was now full with 13 happy ladies!

We stopped at the entrance to the market and everyone jumped out, excited that their energy could be spent selling their goods rather than walking in the hot sun. Perhaps this was a small thing, but it was important to me. Whenever we can change a frown into a smile, we give God’s hope to someone in need.

8/9/2018 What???s the Buzz?

Posted by nuruyamapendo on August 9, 2018 at 8:10 PM Comments comments (1)

Things are really “buzzing” at Nuru Ya Mapendo. I mean that literally! As I write, the droan of buzzing circular saws are in the background as a team of carpenters is working on sixty desks for the Jane Wise Primary/Secondary School. This begins at 7:30 each morning and ends around 4:00 each afternoon. I’m not sure I’ll be able to tolerate all the noise six days a week for a month!…

December 2018 is the election, the time when the DRC will elect a new President and all the other political seats for the government. Just as in the USA, campaigning and posturing begin many months in advance. One is placed in the midst of the commotion whether it is welcomed or not. One day this week (along with the buzzing saws), there was a parade of political candidates going up and down our main road, led by a truck full of banging bass drums and horns, and followed by a large band of noisy and excited children. (If you’ve ever watched the cartoon version of “The Grinch” where the children twirl around the room playing their imaginative musical instruments, banging drums and tooting horns, you get the idea.) Our security dogs let me know in no uncertain terms that they hated the noise, and chased the procession from within our walls from one end of the property to another. The procession went up and down our road four times during the day!

The remaining buzz of activity at Nuru Ya Mapendo comes from Sylvain’s family. They are moving tomorrow, so our doors are busy with the family going in and out, drawing the last cans of water, washing the last loads of laundry, and taking a few necessary items for their packing.

The buzzing is a collage of living life in the Congo- the buzzing activity of God’s work and the buzzing activity that comes from change. Life is seldom quiet because life is lived outdoors rather than inside. It takes getting used to. I’m glad I can find peace in the solitude of our Lord, Jesus, in the midst of it all.

nuru ya mapendo (love's light)

August 3, 2018 Change

Posted by nuruyamapendo on August 7, 2018 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

This is the first posting on our website for a few years. Many problems with infrastructure here prevented us from posting. For the present, all seems to be going well, so I’ll attempt to post updates a few times a month from Kasenga, DRC.

 

August will be a month of changes for Nuru Ya Mapendo- good changes, bad changes, and neutral changes. Rev. Sylvain, our District Superintendent, is being transferred to Lubumbashi next week. He is like family to me and we have been working together every day in this district for the last 4 ½ years. His children are my grandchildren; I will miss all of them very much!

 

The change for Sylvain will be good. He will finally have a stable and guaranteed salary. He has two boys starting university in October, so we can see God’s answer to his prayers for provision. I am happy for this change.

 

A new district superintendent will be arriving mid-August. He doesn’t speak English, and prefers speaking Swahili over French. He holds a 2-year seminary degree.  This changes the future uncertain for NYM. Will his vision for the district parallel God’s vision that we’ve been serving? Will he desire to work with me as his assistant (my previous role)? What are his expectations for NYM, the pastors and the churches? These are questions which will be answered over coming months. We know, however, that NYM will continue the work we have started.

 

Similarly, our bishop has been in office for a year and has not yet made efforts to fill the pastor vacancies in the churches of our district. Our vacancies hover around 50%. Attendance is dwindling in these churches. Groups are falling away from the church (women’s groups, even choirs) because there is no leader in place. We are praying that some of the eighteen graduates from the seminary last month will be assigned to help fill these positions. We pray for strong leaders who will be courageous in confronting the many challenges in this district of great poverty. Change is needed before churches fall away.

 

How do you react to change? Do you get angry? Withdraw? Run away? Get depressed? Accept change with grace? Change is something in life we cannot escape! Our mandate as Christians is to trust in the Living Lord. He can provide us with whatever we need to face change if we ask him- strength, courage, hope, acceptance, vision or grace. The day after I received news of these changes coming for NYM, God brought me a song which contains one of my favorite Bible verses, Philippians 1:6, “that being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will be faithful to carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” This is an amazing promise in the midst of change! Even if plans change direction, we can be assured that God is with us and will carry on His work until it is finished.

 

I look forward to seeing what amazing things God has planned for Nuru Ya Mapendo.   In His grace, Jane

 

Woman's Work??

Posted by nuruyamapendo on March 2, 2014 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (2)

Apparently I created quite a commotion in Kasenga on Friday and Saturday this week when I went outside the compound to paint our security gates. We had purchased paint in Lubumbashi last month, and it was on my “to-do” list since we didn’t have the funds to hire out the work. Wearing a long skirt to climb the ladder was not appropriate for this job, so I put on a “neutral” T-shirt and a pair of loose-fitting Capri pants and hoped that I could complete the exterior wall as quickly as possible so as not to be on display!

 

I was on the ladder by 6:30am both mornings. People walking by would comment and laugh between themselves. Others would stop and greet me in French and start a conversation. Children would watch for a few moments and then offer a greeting of “Jambo” or “Good morning” in English on their way to school. I replied, and they giggled and ran off. A motorcycle “taxi” even stopped with his passenger in the middle of the road and started up a conversation to find out what I was doing! The District Superintendent from Mpewto stopped by on his way to the boat dock and asked to assist me, stating that I shouldn’t be doing this work. I politely refused, because he was wearing dress clothes and I didn’t want to be responsible for ruining his clothing. A few minutes later, D.S. Sylvain stopped by to say hello.

 

“You are being talked about, all up and down the road”, he said.” I was just at the hospital, and a man I know there said to me “Did you see? Your missionary was outside painting the gates today!” Sylvain just laughed, and replied “Yes, she is an American. Women do men’s work there and sometimes men do women’s work. It’s the difference between the cultures.”

 

Sylvain proceeded to tell me that he had also run into the D.S. from Mpweto and had received the story about the missionary woman painting the security gates. Many who passed Sylvain on the way from the hospital to NYM had the same story to tell. I was just doing what needed to be done, and didn’t realize that my atypical work would create such a stir. My only desire is to help people realize that God has gifted and empowered them to do whatever He has planned for them, no matter what the job. Who knows? Maybe one day soon I will see a woman in Kasenga painting!

 

 

Hospitality

Posted by nuruyamapendo on March 1, 2014 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (0)

In Africa, hospitality is the context for relationships. It always involves food and/or drink and is done in the home. Even if there were restaurants to visit, to entertain someone in a restaurant would not be personal enough in Africa. To offer someone to come into your home to visit is to say “I offer to relate to you personally.”

 

Hospitality is not scheduled in Africa. Spontaneity is part of the hospitality; a special menu or cleaning the house first is not required. It could mean meeting the need for a meal when it is suddenly needed. When someone drops in to visit, it is acceptable to let your guest “blend into” whatever you were doing, and they become part of the activity. In this culture of “community”, the guest is most important and our personal desires come last.

 

In Kasenga I have already received visitors sweaty and covered with paint, dirty from pulling peanuts, and in the midst of cooking (or eating) several meals. It does not matter to the visitor; they know they are unexpected and so they are willing to fit in, as appropriate. I’m expected (as much as I am able) to converse with them in the language of their greeting (French, Swahili or Bemba).

 

How does this scenario compare as an American? If Jesus were to drop in, would we welcome him more hospitably as an African or as an American? Something to consider…As an American, I am learning to show hospitality more like an African. It’s not easy. It is a process.

 

Giving to the Lord

Posted by nuruyamapendo on February 9, 2014 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)

 

 

Dorcas lost both an aunt and an uncle this week, and she was preparing to leave for Lubumbashi to attend the funeral. Sylvain was to see her off and so they would not be going to church with me today. As I entered their house, I hugged Dorcas for a long time, which brought tears to her eyes. She was close to her uncle, and this was a difficult loss. As I sat down I looked at Sylvain, who also had tears in his eyes. This touched me deeply, because I saw the love that he had for Dorcas was the same that David and I had for each other. When one of us hurts, the other feels that same pain. It is the knowing that there is no definition between where one person ends and the other begins. How much I miss my husband!

 

During the offeratory the young men’s choir was singing. It was a joyful song about giving to the Lord and I enjoyed the smiles they had on their faces as they sang to the Lord. At some point during the music, a woman came up to give and was making beautiful gestures with her hands, from her heart and then gracefully raising them to the Lord. She had the most beautiful, joyful smile on her face. I said to Franck “This is how we all should look when we are giving to the Lord!” and he agreed with me, however he mentioned that she was said to have some mental problems. I thought about this and dismissed it, for I know that many with mental problems are the most genuine and honest in their feelings. I could not get the picture out of my mind of her joy in giving. I recalled the story of the widow’s mite and thought about how that woman must have had the same beautiful smile on her face as the woman at Galilee Church.

 

Whether I have 500 Congolese francs (55 cents) or 10,000 francs ($11) to give on any given Sunday, this is how my heart feels when I give it. My desire and my prayer is that my face would reflect it, too.

 

Saved

Posted by nuruyamapendo on February 2, 2014 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Nothing like a good healing to begin your Sunday morning…

 

As we pulled the truck in front of Sylvain’s house to take everyone to church, I heard Sylvain shouting but could not hear the words. The front door was closed (unusual) and I thought perhaps the children had been in trouble and were receiving a scolding.

 

I started to get out of the truck and Franck said, “No, they are praying. We must wait until they are finished.” Seconds later Dorcas came to the truck and said “You can come in. A boy is sick and they are praying. If you can wait for some time, we will go to church.”

 

Franck and I followed Dorcas into the house and were ushered into the back room to wait. As I passed through the front room, I glanced to my left and saw the boy’s father sitting in a chair, looking tired and concerned. To my right was the sick boy sitting on the floor and Sylvain crouched in front of him, praying. The four oldest boys stood near Sylvain, alternating between praying and singing.

I sat and listened to the prayers and singing. Although I could not understand most of the words, I recognized all the names of the Lord- Jina ya Jesu, Mungu, Bwana Jesu, and Baba Yetu. As Sylvain prayed, he shouted “Come out! Come out! Come out!” in English. In great understanding beyond their years, the boys would stop praying and begin a chorus appropriate to the tone of the prayer. As I closed my eyes to pray with them, heaven itself was coming near. The chorus, beautiful in 4 part harmony, sounded like angel songs. Sylvain’s voice praying in the background spoke with the authority of Jesus himself. I was humbled to be in this place at this time.

 

Sylvain spoke the boy’s name and he responded for the first time that morning but could not speak. Several more times Sylvain spoke the boy’s name; he was able to respond! Although not present in the room I could tell that Sylvain had placed his hands on the boy’s shoulders to reassure him that he was going to be OK, and directed him to give all praise to Jesus who had delivered him.

 

As the prayer was concluding, Dorcas approached Franck and me and explained that the father had come to the house just after 6am, asking whether the boy should be brought to their house. He was convulsing, but had no fever (ruling out malaria). His arms, shoulders and jaw were rigid and he could not speak. There was no remedy, no medicine that could help the boy- only prayer. For nearly 3 hours Sylvain and his sons prayed. At first unresponsive, the boy later vomited and urinated. At one point the boy stood up and seemed to have recovered from the convulsion, but still could not speak. They continued to pray.

 

Sylvain came from the front room where he was praying, drenched with sweat and hoarse from the battle. He apologized for making us late for church. I smiled and said that no apology was necessary; he was doing the work that God called him to do! My mind jumped to the Scripture where Jesus healed on the Sabbath (Matthew 12) and I smiled again.

 

As we drove to the church, I thought about how exhausted Sylvain must be. But I also knew that when the District Superintendent visits a church in Africa, he is asked to give the message and given the pulpit as a sign of respect. Sylvain’s message was on Romans 10:1-5, specifically the verse where Paul writes “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.” God had impressed on me all week His desire that all might acknowledge him as Lord. I discovered today that God had also been giving that message to Sylvain and his wife, Dorcas. Today God began with the boy.

 

 

Thank You!

Posted by nuruyamapendo on January 21, 2014 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Thank you to everyone who e-mailed birthday wishes and for the 2 birthday phone calls from my daughters. I had a wonderful birthday, with a cooling motorcycle ride to and from church, a hot meal waiting for me, and my African grandchildren singing "Happy Birthday" as I arrived and presenting me with a large bouquet of plumeria (my favorite flower). If you have ever smelled this tropical flower, you will understand that only God could have created such a wonderful fragrance- it filled my bedroom for several days! Although it was VERY strange to have a January birthday that was above freezing (actual temp was around 90 degrees), it was a wonderful day.

In Africa, birthdays for adults are barely mentioned and for children it is not much better. In the Kasenga District where everyone is very poor the mother may prepare a special food for the family meal, but a gift is rarely purchased or given. They do sing Happy Birthday here and the song has 3 verses. After one of the verses you have to state your age, however my African family omitted this verse for me out of respect. :)

Isn't it amazing how God's love can be felt all around the world? Sending love and hugs to everyone who reads this blog. -Jane







Answered Prayers

Posted by nuruyamapendo on January 12, 2014 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (0)

I had a wonderful night’s sleep in my OWN BED!. The day began like any other Sunday- rising early to wash and dress for church, some breakfast, and the ordeal of air-drying hair. As I bent upside down to brush my hair to catch the breeze, I heard footsteps. I looked up and saw Sylvain and Dorcas approaching the veranda.

 

“Odd” I thought to myself. “They’re not dressed for church and it’s too early anyway…”

 

We exchanged greetings and I invited them into the sitting room. Both Sylvain and Dorcas were interested in the work we had accomplished the day before, however Sylvain left the room to wake Franck and ask him to join us. Sylvain abruptly changed the subject and began talking about the necessary trip to Kinshasa in order to begin the process of getting a new passport and visa- the flight for at least two people, lodging, meals, cost of the paperwork, etc. I argued with him that the Church Conference office had to realize that because of all that had happened in the past 3 months that I couldn’t possibly afford such a venture at this time. I also did not understand the rush, because officials in Kasenga had assured me that with a letter I could travel easily within the DRC for a long period of time.

 

“Imagine what such a trip would cost”, Sylvain said. “I have some good news” he continued as he dug deeply into his pocket and pulled out my PASSPORT and my immunization card that had been stolen and missing since December 29! I hugged him and began to cry, thanking God over and over again.

 

“Where did you find it?” I asked in disbelief through the tears. Sylvain then told me that he had been praying that morning and as part of his prayers had asked God to help him find my missing passport. He felt a strong leading that he should go to my room. (Even though I hadn’t slept there the night before, I had left several suitcases that needed to be moved to Nuru Ya Mapendo.) As he walked through the doorway, he proceeded to a suitcase that was unzipped and laying down on the floor. He thought perhaps the passport had been filed in a folder containing my important papers.

 

“No”, I argued, “I always keep my passport in the same black travel wallet in the same clear pocket. That way I always know where it is, and it’s how I knew right away that it was missing. The thief left the wallet empty.”

 

Sylvain went on to explain that as he reached down to open the important folder, God directed his eyes to the large mesh pocket in the lid of the suitcase- and there right in front of him was my passport with the immunization card still tucked inside!

 

The story would not have been remarkable, except that all along we had been led to believe that the thief had jettisoned the passport on the ground near the property where he emptied the wallet. Many had searched without success. What happened instead was that the thief discarded the passport in my room while looking for money in the wallet- and when he dropped it, it fell into the mesh pocket in my suitcase that was upright and unzipped at the time. Because the suitcase was used infrequently (and we were sure the passport had been thrown outside), I did not even search my suitcases for the missing passport!

 

What IS remarkable is the night before I had been praying for my passport. “Lord, you are the one who knows where my passport is”, I pleaded. “Please show someone- ANYONE- where the passport is so it can be recovered!”

 

Do you believe that God answers your prayers? Sylvain and I testify that He does…Thank you Lord, for your love and grace that reach out to us when we call upon your name.

 

Glory to God through Suffering

Posted by nuruyamapendo on December 29, 2013 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (1)

I woke and began dressing and began to look for something in my backpack. Noticing that the backpack was not in my room, I went to the front room to ask Sylvain and Franck if they had borrowed it for some reason. What I saw on the table was someone’s worst nightmare. The backpack lay opened, and most of the contents were removed. Wallets containing all of my American and Congolese cash were empty. I asked Sylvain what was going on. He explained that the backpack had been strewn in the neighbor’s yard. The loud “bang” we had heard at the front door last night (which we thought was Franck’s early morning trip to the outhouse) was actually a thief who had broken into the house. He took my computer from the table in the front room, and had come into my room to also steal the backpack and any valuable items that were in sight. The list was extensive- passport, immunization card, camera, phone, portable hard drive, i-pod, some electronics accessories. Over $2000 in cash was also gone, most of which had been designated to contractors for their work within the next few days.

 

My initial reaction was typical. I was angry at my son Franck for leaving out the computer after he borrowed the night before. I was angry at whoever took what did not belong to them! Each of us blamed ourselves for not being more “curious” about the door banging so loudly in the middle of the night.

 

After the initial anger, I began thinking about “what could have been”. It was only “things” that were taken, and someone could have been there to take my life instead. Sylvain came to me in the hallway, tears streaming down his face. Without words, he was sharing my pain, but I know that he was also hurting deeply that he was not able to protect me from what had happened. I hugged him and told him that it was going to be OK, that these were just things, and that God would be victorious in this battle with Satan as well. I hurt so much for Franck, Sylvain and Dorcas who were feeling responsible for my protection.

 

At about 6:30am Franck and Sylvain went to notify the police and make many other phone calls/ contacts in order to obtain as much assistance as possible to locate the perpetrator. In less than 30 minutes, we had the full force of the police in town for the day, setting up road blocks at the market. Calls were made to neighboring villages, particularly Kasomeno, as it is the next “largest” village before Lubumbashi.

 

Knowing that there was nothing I could do personally, I decided to spend time with the Lord and pray. I walked to the church with my Bible about  9am, half-hour before the service began. I began praying the Psalms and quickly settled on Psalm 3, praying it many times in Swahili before the service. It brought me peace, and I felt God’s presence with me in the waiting. At some point during the service, Sylvain received a phone call that they “thought” the responsible party was being detained in Kasomeno, about 1.5 hours from Kasenga. Even though Pastor Marcel was in the midst of an infant baptism, most of the church members went outside the church to hear confirmation of the news. They slowly returned inside. Only a few minutes later, his son brought news that they had indeed found my computer and other items. As the news was announced to the church, a huge cry of joy erupted and the congregation started clapping. I was happy, but at the time felt I needed to stay at the church.

About 10 minutes later, Franck came to the door and told me that the police needed the truck in order to go to Kasomeno, interrogate the prisoner, and bring him to Kasenga. I agreed, since it was the only way that he would be brought to justice. I went home to drop my things, and we proceeded with the truck back to the church to pick up the police officer and an armed guard who would accompany the prisoner. Many people from the church rode with us, and so the truck had 6 inside and 4-6 others in the back of the truck! The officer wanted me to drive faster, as they wanted to find out answers to many questions, however there were only certain parts of the road that allowed for a speed of 50mph. Some parts were still wet from the rains and very slippery, so I knew that I would shoot off the road if I had to apply the brakes. I did not keep track of the time, but we arrived as quickly as possible and were escorted inside the jail. The driver who was carrying the thief was being held in an outside room, and the thief was in a small inner room. Packed inside the interior room were the passengers in the truck, as well as Pastor Mutanti and 4-6 police officers. An officiant was also present, typing notes from the conversations.

 

Approximately $800 of the total $2025 was missing, however the thief confessed to carrying only $1800 from the house. He was asked some questions and indicated that there was a second thief by the name of Chola who had also been given some of the money. (We later learned this was a lie.) He was asked what he purchased with the money, what he knew of the other thief, etc. I was more interested in his character and demeanor than the answers to the questions. He seemed to smile as he answered them, and it was beyond my comprehension as to how someone could be proud of taking so much from a missionary. I was told that he was from Kasenga, a habitual offender, and had actually escaped jail from a 5 year sentence in Zambia! All he could see was that I am an American, and therefore assumed to be very rich. He had no idea that I had given up all that I had in order to tell him that Jesus loved even him. I was not allowed to speak to him directly, however a picture appeared in my mind of Jesus hanging on the cross, with a thief on either side of him. One thief asked to be with Jesus in heaven that day, and the other did not. I thought about how this man, who was only 20 years old, had a choice every day to choose Jesus or to choose hell. I wanted to ask the young man if he knew that story, and give him the opportunity to know that he had other options for his life- to know that Jesus could change his life if he allowed it.

 

After the questions were completed, I had to verify my possessions and sign a statement. We were allowed to go outside, however could not leave until 10% of my recovery was paid. This would have been about $300-400; the policeman had also seen a “muzungu” (white) and dollar signs. Two UM pastors were allowed to go back into the station to negotiate on my behalf. I was told these bribes were common every day and were taken from everyone and not just Americans. But of course the assumption was made that I would have much more money! As the pastors pushed to lower the amount, the question was raised as to where the $600 was that had not been accounted for during interrogation. The police left to search the thief one more time and “suspiciously” returned with another $300 they had found. When I was informed, I was anxious to leave because I knew the rain was coming and the roads would be bad. I asked if the $300 could be split between the police in Kasomeno and Kasenga; the pastors returned to continue negotiations. Approximately 45-60 minutes had passed. When all parties came outside, I was told that the Kasomeno police would be taking $200 of the $300 that was “found” on the thief. (This means that the Kasomeno police had a “take” of $500 that day…Can you imagine??)

 

I questioned Franck on why something like this was happening to me again, and he replied “Only the Lord knows”. His answer had to be sufficient for the time being…

The car was loaded and we began our return trip to Kasenga with the taxi driver’s motorcycle and the thief in the back, accompanied by the armed guard and the other passengers. As we approached Kasenga, the rain started. We stopped and pulled out a large tarp from the tool box for the passengers in the back to be protected.

 

As we drove into town and near where I was staying, a mob of 1500 people began running toward the truck. The officer inside the truck told me to “split” the crowd, and to keep the vehicle moving at all costs, for the crowd was there not to welcome me, but to kill the thief. Franck told me that he knew of an incident where a thief was taken under such circumstances, placed inside a truck tire and burned to death. I was afraid at that moment for the thief, and told myself that I could not be the one responsible for his death. I split the crowd and discovered a large tree branch blocking the road in front of me. I decided to veer to the left of the branch and hit it (if necessary) in order to keep moving. The crowd surrounded the truck from all sides, but somehow God allowed the truck to keep moving. Franck and the officer were shouting directions to the jail over the roar of the crowd and showed me where to park. The officer and guard immediately yanked the thief out of the truck and across the yard into the jail. Because we had been unable to stop and pick up Sylvain, he followed us to the jail on the motorcycle and came to meet me as the thief was released. I scooped him into my arms and began sobbing for all of the stress and tension of the day. As I released him, his face was also wet with tears.

 

When the thief was out of sight, the emotion of the crowd changed from anger to celebration. People were jumping into the back of the truck; once I had to stop in order to pull off those hanging on the bumper. They were cheering and chanting from the truck and from the street. Some wanted to buy me a drink. Others wanted to shake my hand and thank me for bringing the thief to justice. Those who had not yet seen me just wanted to see the now-famous missionary!

 

By the time we arrived at the gates of Sylvain’s house, there were still hundreds of people surrounding the truck and the house. Those who were waiting at the house were those who had been praying all day when we were in Kasomeno- not just Methodists, but Catholics, evangelists, Pentacostals- all faiths!! Sylvain had stayed in Kasenga, and was telling me that it was a sight that was incredible to him. Various pastors had been leading prayers, and hundreds had assembled from the time to the arrest was announced until our arrival. It was difficult for me to comprehend. Sylvain was sharing that many had recognized what God was doing in our midst. They were making comments to him such as “this is truly a powerful God the DS and the missionary are serving, for no one could have ever recovered this thief who was running for 5-6 hours!” The people in the yard were shouting and glorifying God, and for this we were so grateful. As with each of our previous challenging adventures, this was my sole desire.

I said quietly to Franck, “do you think this is the reason why the thief came today?” And he smiled.

 

As I write this, I am still missing my passport with my DRC visa that cost dearly at $2000. But we are posting and announcing a reward if it is returned, and praying for God to work yet another miracle. The thief did not want it, and threw it on the ground near where he emptied the money. We are praying that someone picked it up as a curiosity and will return it for the reward. We ask you to pray with us, too.

 

 


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