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Greetings from the Congo,
We began our class today with about 45-50 participants. At first blush, it appears that some of the more distant village pastors did not make it this year. The hosts have not yet told me why this might have been. Because we are only teaching through Wednesday we can only cover one unit from Theology 101. However, with two tests, and sufficient class hours, we will finish by noon on Wednesday. Today went well with the exception of two changes in my interpreter. Getting used to one translator is work enough but three is very exhausting. I had to repeat myself alot today and it was very tempting to be frustrated with the process! Fortunately, we were able to complete the section for today and took some questions afterwards. This is what it is like to communicate in another language and culture. Patience in this context is not just a virtue, it is a necessity! I was also pleased with the attitude of the pastors and other students who came today. There appears to be a collective teachable spirit.
After the class ended today we ate a late afternoon meal at the home of one of the pastor’s residences. The houses are extremely small and no more than 300-400 square feet. Six adults all ate from a coffee table. The custom here is to wash hands in a basin while the host pours water over your hands while you wash. Then you are handed a group towel which you use and then pass to the next hand washer, and so on. You do this before the meal and after because they don’t use silverware to eat from their plates. I used a spoon but washed twice anyway!
Before we left to get a taxi, the hosts asked me to pray a second time for them. I prayed for them, and in particular that God would give them a baby. They have been trying for a few years now. Then we began the 30 minute ride through congested streets all the way back to the other side of Bukavu. I always see things I have never seen before but it all is rooted in the most abject poverty and desperateness I have ever witnessed. Until the government begins to acutually focus on building infrastructure and creating industry the cycle just keeps rolling on. Here is the richest country in the world in raw materials and natural resources and it is still one of the poorest and slowest in making any progress for its people.
However, the spiritual possibilities in such a place are great becuase the distractions we have in materialistic cultures as our own are not here. Pray for the class that God would raise us spiritual leaders who will commit their lives to the Lord and be used of Him.
The answer here is strong churches led by dynamic an dedicated men and women who love Jesus Christ.
P.S. The attached picture is in Kigali just before leaving for the Congo. The man in red is Pastor Fidele our host pastor here in Kigali. The shorter man is Pastor Baraka, our host pastor in the Congo.