When I first arrived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, all I wanted to do was leave, but when we left all I could think of was how thankful I was that God allowed me to spend three weeks serving Him. Everything was so different- the lifestyle, the culture, the setting. I kept praying that God would allow my entire heart to be in the Congo, because I wanted to be more than physically present. At the end of the trip my heart was overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation, because God worked through me in ways I would never have expected.
In the three weeks that I was there I learned how to love, how to be thankful, and how to be happy. To love my neighbor, though he or she might be a complete stranger. The children of the DR Congo loved us with all that they could give. They hardly knew us and we hardly looked like them, but every day they would come running at the sight of our van to greet us with warm hugs and hands reads for high fives. To be thankful no matter what my situation may be, because it could be worse. I used squatty potties for a toilet and a lit candle rather than electricity for three weeks. It was far from what I’m used to, but it made me realize how many things I take for granted back home. I would never think that sitting on a toilet or getting to use the faucet when brushing my teeth was a privilege, but now I know. To be happy throughout all my long and wonderful days. Pastor Celestin smiled in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night. He smiled after a long day of meetings, and he smiled during the whole five-hour church service. He never complained about work or said he was exhausted, but he always laughed and danced his worries away. He would always tell us that God is good all the time and all the time God is good.
So thank you Democratic Republic of the Congo. Thank you for teaching me even in my uncomfortable positions. Thank you for welcoming a complete stranger into your community and loving with all the love you could give. Thank you for showing me God’s light and making me realize that He truly is everywhere. Though we are miles and miles apart, we follow one God, and under Him we are one.