CONGO - "To go where you would not"

CONGO - "To go where you would not"

[UPDATE: Major answered prayer for Congo church here>]
Today I just got back from Congo, real Africa! A country I heard much about, saw its wars on TV
, and remember telling a Congolese
student, I don't think I'll ever go there. That student is Pastor Emile, and he just reminded me of what I said as I visited Congo for the first time! A country so mind-blowing to the average westerner, but at the same time exciting, especially when you see the strange and unique work of God, in such a bizarre setting. I remember talking to a man on the street about the personal love and grace of God. In moments another, then another were stopping... until about 50 were gathered, intrigued and listening to the translation into French. I've posted a Speedcast video clip + some footage from Congo on the site. Or.. for those interested in more details of this African journey, continue reading this.. sorry... extended epistle here...............

It began last week, getting my visa at the Congolese Consulate in Ndola. French TV playing on a TV in the room. A new increased price list just posted the day before. And in 20 minutes, I had the stamp.. all in French, so my wife interpreted it for me. Valid for a month,.,. 1 visit. I have realized that if I learned French... well and Swahili.. I would be able to communicate with most of this continent...

Sensing the need to not go alone, I invited my songleader, Sydney from Kitwe. He has been before. But unfortunately, when he went to the Consulate, his documents were not all there, so my trip was delayed a day.

A little discouraged, I prayed and asked the Lord who I could take. For some reason everyone's phones seemed to be off. In the morning I called my assistant Justin, and keyboardist, Martin. They were surprised i was still in the country. Asking them if they wanted to come with they wanted to know when? "In 5 minutes!".................... And so the journey began.......!!..............

The bus to Chingola, $3 each, takes an hour, and from there you take a cab, $4 each, for 20 minutes to the border......

Chaos is the first thing which greets you as you reach the Congo border.
The 2 lane road has 6 rows of cars, going in all sorts of directions. Hundreds of trucks, dirt, carts, wheel barrows, bycicles with crates of goods, wonderful scene... along with the police... "checking" that everyone has everything in order haha'

There's a straight road which you can drive/walk through, pretty much unharrassed, but you are supposed to report to the Zambian side to stamp out.. which we did.. Justin and Martin getting a cheap little "pass" for Zambians. Then on to the Congo side............

You are first ushered into a security booth, where your passport details are taken down. I found the people very friendly and got my first exposure to "Bonjour"... The atmosphere changed big time. In moments you arrive at the office building, where alot of French speaking is going on outside. Money is being changed. Documents and papers and business is moving around. People are offering to "help" you... And of course our good friend, Pastor Emile, has come and escourted us through the whole process.... some how crossing into the Zambian side.. he now takes the lead. Coming back out of the office, he has bad news... not only do you have to pay the "first time in Congo fee" ($10), but there's a "Hygene" fee, a stamp your yellowfever card fee, and a "why did you get your congo visa in Zambia instead of your country of origin" fee... $10 a pop...
Gaizing at the sea of confusion, I spotted a huge tyre-wearing American Mor(m)on... with the elder badge on. I thought to myself, how much man can do without Christ! He can come to these far away places... even wear the name "Jesus Christ" on a badge... all without Christ. I immediately began sharing this with the 2 disciples next to me... how important it is to come to the cross daily and be filled with the Holy Spirit. I sent Pastor Emile back and this time he came back with better news... his angel friend (so we called him), an older man, a Congolese official who had helped him before, had reappeared! So all the fees were waived.. and I finally got to meet this sweet God-sent man, felt his back for angels wings, smiled, and thanked him for his help.

As soon as you walk into Congo you find men with wads of cash... trying to exchange with you. There biggest bill is 500franks... about 50c (US)!!! So to buy anything would be wads... except for the fact that most stores also accept US$.
We found a car, $5 each person, and began the 2hr journey to Lumbumbashi. It is kind of the southern capital. Kenshasa in the north is not reachable by land! There is no road, only jungle! Lumbumbashi is about 6million people. But to get there, you have to pass through police checkpoints!

In 10 minutes we had reached our first checkpoint. Unfortunately for him, the policeman not only waved for him to stop, but stood right in the lane so he had to stop... it was all down hill from there. Because, out of fear, they are used to slowing down but not stopping, trying to just pass, he eventually came to a stop, but touched at the last second, the policeman's pants... Bad mistake... angry, upset, he put his foot on the hood, and dusted off his pants... which looked perfectly clean to me. At that point he was arrested... and in an hour, they had found a charge against him... he was insured... put only for 4 passangers... he had 7.

After much negotiations, an hour later, he had paid them the total amount he would receive from all of us... $35, and we were on our way.... We had for 2 hours been watching how most cars did it... slow down, hand out of window... give a dollar... split between both officers... and off they'd go... This driver was new.

The city is huge. Huge mine dumps greet you. Lots of motor bikes. And... by the time we got to the Methodist Guest House... I was pretty beat. It was afternoon.. Electricity was off, but the place looked pretty nice so I settled in, unpacked, had a shower (water still warm from when the electricity was working!), and was ready to go see the city!

I would be sharing the house with a lovely missionary from Boston.. Joel Gray. He instantly saw the B on my family Roberge Redsox cap, and we began talking. He grew up in French speaking west Africa, an MK, and went back, now living in the 50% muslim country of Berkina Fasso. I mentioned that I had been with a Pastor Bamouni from there a couple of weeks ago at the Ghana convention and.... vwaalaaa, he knew him and had been with him last month as well! Small world... He was teaching leaders for a couple of days, interactively, in Congo. He does a missionary training school for Bible school graduates in West Africa. Also interested in what we are doing.. it took quite a while to explain who we are... Who are we?.... hmmm.... hard to put us in a box... but we have Someone, have received a ministry from heaven... and it's unique and special... I suppose in some ways... we are a voice... of grace... crying in the wilderness of legalism... Well I didn't put it like that.. but we got really good friends and the next night spent hours together fellowshipping around the word of God.

After that we went into this Frech signed town... very interesting... so many people... found the main grocery store.. "Jambo Mart", where you could get almost anything. And quite cheap too. I bought a huge red fish, which I have been craving since Ghana...
Then off to Pastor Emile's... where he stays on the same property as his brother and AMAZING COOKING sister in law... who cooked the fish, and welcomed us as family. Justin and Martin were shocked at the different Nshima (cooked maize dough)... a bit harder than what they're used to... and that the Congolese don't chew it... just swallow!!

While there it began to POUR... Congo style! We decided to leave before the river overflowed (it often does), and made it in time.

At the guest house I slept like a baby........

Next day we began soulwinning in Pastor Emile's area. At a large soccer field.. thousands of people... None of us speak french so we split up with Pastor Emile, and I had Billy... one of his french speaking disciples.
People were so friendly, willing to chat, warm, welcoming.. and once one would stop, a conversation would get started.. then another and another till literally 50 people.. a crowd was gathered... and more wondering what's going on. They seem to enjoy listening through a translator and almost felt like a rap type atmosphere where I was able to ask them questions in the crowd... what do you think of when you think of God... Any questions or comments? Or at times I would just focuss on the one I had began with and everyone else would seem to just be soaking it up too.

Pastor Emile met a man who said he used to be a Pastor but was backslidden. He started sharing with him Hebrews 13:5 and I couldn't understand the man but almost in tears I could see him motioning with his hands as if to say say it again, give it to me again, over over, one more time, in circles, again, give it to me, as his heart was being touched by God.

Pastor Emile's men were arriving one by one, four of them, and the day was filled with mass visitation... the 7 of us, walking around, meeting their families, such hospitality... spending their little to throw prepared banquets! Such sweet hearts, hungry as anything for the word of God. It turned into one long moving revolving rap.... spontaneous, life, fun, bible filled, laughter filled, love filled, awesome body time.. culminating in a meeting with a group this other pastor, friends with Pastor Emile, had assembled in a mud brick church.... I preached on the Good Shepherd... leads and carries his sheep... Doesn't drive them!
Their hunger draws it out and people I could tell were very touched.

Today we left early... and with our hearts full and memories fresh I wanted to put some of it down... for if it were put all in order, not even all the blogs in the world could fit it..

Pray for us, Pray for Pastor Emile, pray for Congo, pray for these guys that went with me, Pray for his discipes, John, Billy, Gabriell (pronounced with  a french ell)... Pray for Congo, and for Zambia. For God's work. In people's hearts.

Pastor Adam Speedy
17Feb2012 KITWE