Even though we have already visited Congo and Zambia once this year in January, in late July of 2013 it was time to return again. While there in January it was indicated to us that August would be a much better time to visit. For one thing august is the height of the dry season making the Congo roads much easier to navigate. For another thing the children have off school and would be able to participate in our visit. So mid way through July, Vanessa and I returned.
Our first order of business was a trip up to the North of Katanga province in Congo. This was the most difficult mission trip I have been on, but well worth the effort. We started early Sunday Morning, 6 am. Muzakuza and his group meet us outside our hotel with a large Land Cruiser. One of the largest of the off road vehicle, none of its seemingly excessive characteristics were wasted on this journey. Even with a land cruiser we ended up stuck a couple times. At one point in the journey it took us 4 hours to make it 50 miles. I have some pictures down below to show just how bad some of the roads were.
After two and a half days of travel we finally arrived at Keponga the first congregation we came to visit. After this we visited two more congregations in the area. At each place we baptized, ordained those who were ready, married, preached and taught. There were more congregations and much more work to be done, but we ran out of time. Altogether the trip took eight days. We baptized 80+ people of all ages, ordained 3 pastors and more elders and deacons, and married 8 couples. You can see these villages listed on the map below.
One young girl came to be baptized with a head full of beautiful long hair. I was about to baptize here when Muzakuza reached over and pulled the hair right off. turns out it wasn’t really hers.
It was customary upon entering a village to go and present ourselves to the village chief to show respect and let him know we are there. Coming in to one of the larger towns late at night we waited till the next morning to visit the chief. When we arrived at his house we found out he already knew of our arrival as it had been broadcast over the local radio station the night before. This despite the fact that we were only staying for barely a day to visit a small church on the outskirts of the village.
At was at this same town that we had our first chance to drink soda since leaving Lubumbashi. It was homemade, cherry flavored, and overpriced, but we didn’t care. It was sooo good.