August 9 & August 10
The end of our trip is just around the weekend, but before we could say goodbye to Lubumbashi we went to visit the town of Likasi. Likasi was two hours away from Lubumbashi, but it felt like a whole different place.
To start our weekend trip we woke up at 6 AM to board a bright green Japanese bus to Likasi. We were mizungos on an Asian bus in Africa. It was the mizungo magnet. Unlike what we were used to, Likasi was a bustling city compared to the slow paced villages our team was used to.
Saturday was filled with nothing other than eating food. We literally ate breakfast, napped, ate lunch, visited a church, then ate a few hours later for dinner. Each meal was no more than two hours apart, and by the end of the night I was stuffed. I couldn’t eat another bite, but it was all so delicious that I couldn’t resist. In the middle of the day, we did happen to leave Pastor Phillip’s house to go the church in a village 30 minutes away. To get there we drove on a dirt path with only enough space for one vehicle. The village itself had houses made of huts, absolutely no electricity, and a hole dug in the ground for a restroom. It was so rural and poor, but as always the people of the church were rich in love. They welcomed us with song and dance. Their church building had holes in the ceiling, which let in beautiful rays of light, it was loud, and many people were dancing. At the end of the service, we had the opportunity to lay the ground work for a new school. It was the first school to be built miles from any of the schools around. It’s crazy how my typical day here involves loving on kids and building schools. All of it has been a humbling experience.
Sunday was church, and church here in the Congo means five hours of praising Jesus. There were choirs singing and dancing, we witnessed the church be initiated into the Nazarene family, and at the end we were even presented with gifts. Niko led Sunday school again and told the story of Jesus ending the storms while He and the disciples were out on a boat. Niko explained that storms in our life will come, but God controls everything. God can control the wind and the rain, and He will be with us through all the storms. This lesson meant a lot to me, because it’s the foundation to how I live my life. So often storms have come and disrupted everything I had planned, but God is constant. He will never leave us. He has a plan for us much greater than my own or my parents’ or my friends’. I just have to trust in Him through the storms.
This entire summer has been an opportunity for me to follow God. It has been a summer of growing closer to Him and building a big faith. A faith so large that others shouldn’t dare to question my beliefs. I’ve followed God to Hawaii, where I lived out ministry. Hawaii taught me how to be a children’s pastor. It gave me the courage to lead, to speak, and for the first time, to share my testimony. I’ve followed God all the way across the earth to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa. I am so out of my comfort zone. I don’t have my cell phone or nice clothes, but instead I have the same two dirty skirts I wear over and over again. I don’t have plumbing, but I have buckets filled with water to flush. The DR Congo has taught me what it means to be content in any situation. To always be appreciative of what you do and do not have. I’ve witnessed genuine love and joy and happiness.
Following God is not always easy. For me I’ve gone to one of the most beautiful places I know and one of the poorest places I know in the same summer. I’ve been challenged to do things I’ve never tried before, but it always ends out ok. God has taken me on some pretty amazing adventures.