Church services in Kinshasa
Trip Start Jan 15, 2009
34Trip End Feb 15, 2009
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The hall we had arranged to rent was only several miles away, so we reached it and were able to start services by 11:30. There were about 50 people present including children. They started by singing a few simply hymns in Lingala, the local language, then switched to French and sang several hymns from our hymnal. Jacob gave a sermonette on the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. The congregations sang a special song of welcome for me in French; it was the first time most of them had seen me. A man sang a beautiful vocal solo for special music. Then it was time for the sermon. I spoke on the fundamental doctrines of Hebrews 6 as I had done in La Mé. It's a subject that allows basic but vital subjects to be covered. Jacob translated phrase by phrase as we usually do here.
After services, we took some photos of the group,
We could have gone longer, but we had only rented the hall for two hours, so we ended and shook hands and said we looked forward to meeting again. Several of the people I talked to have been members for 15 years or so, several for more than 20 years. The last time most of them had a visit from a church elder was in 2004 when they parted company from the previous association over doctrinal difference. They've been more or less alone physically, although they have been receiving sermon CD's and letters of fellowship from the generous group in Belgium that I will visit next month at the end of this trip. They were very excited to have a visit and to be able to ask questions face to face.
On leaving, we walked half a mile or so to a dusty, sandy intersection where we worked several minutes to get a taxi. It was in usual taxi condition: poor. It had a shattered windshield still holding together, and worn out parts - only one wiper blade on the driver's side - with cloth wrapped around the metal on the passenger side wiper to protect the glass, it shimmied and shook us back to the hotel. And we were very happy to have transportation.
The local leaders and talked in the garden for another couple of hours continuing and wrapping up the discussion from yesterday. Francis mentioned that the manager of the complex where we had services today told him afterwards that he had been afraid we might make lots of noise and carry on like some groups do. He was impressed that we were an organized, well-behaved, serious group. He said he had listened in on part of the sermon and was intrigued by what we taught. He said he wanted to know more about our church. They'll follow up with him.
I left enough money with the men so that they can start the registration process, buy Bible for people who don't have one, and buy one concordance they can share between them for studying the Scriptures. Then we took our leave.
Jacob should be back to take me to the airport tomorrow at 6:45. You have to be really early at Ndjili Airport, since there is practically no computerization. All the check-in registration, baggage processing, everything is done by hand. Arrive 90 minutes before the flight and you may not get on (that nearly happened to me a few trips back). It's been wonderful visiting the church folks here, but I have to admit I'll breathe a sigh of relief when we go wheels-up tomorrow. Of course they have to live in these conditions all the time....
Next stop: Nairobi.