Feast of Trumpets in Kinshasa

Trip Start Sep 27, 2008
Trip End Oct 22, 2008

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Flag of Congo - The Dem. Repub.  ,
Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Today was the festival of Trumpets which we celebrate as a Holy Day. So the local members took off work and we met for a service at Jacob's home.  
Jacob had trouble with the taxi on the way to pick me up, he didn't say exactly what the problem was, but we still arrived right on time for our 10:30 service. The Mukendi family was present and Mr. Bamongo also came with one of his young sons (the Bamongos have 18 children...). 
They sang a hymn they knew by heart in Lingala, and I sang along with the words I recognized: alléluia and Yesu came up in the chorus each time, so I could at least chime in with what little I understood. I asked an opening prayer and then Justin gave a 15-minute sermonette which was mostly translated for me. It was on the topic of "bring forth fruits fitting for repentance" which he tied to the judgment at the second coming of Christ. We distributed the new French hymnals that I had brought along and the CD of piano accompaniment, so we could sing one of our old familiar hymns. It was a first for the group here, and not everyone understands French well enough to sing along, but it was very much appreciated nonetheless.
I gave a short explanation of the offerings to be given on the annual Sabbaths mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments, and then we took up the offering. The amount per person was very small by Western standards, but it most things spiritual it is the heart that matters, one is to give "as he is able" God told Moses, and "God loves a cheerful giver" as Paul reminded the Corinthians.  
Following that I spoke on the topic of what the day represents. We went through many of the events prophesied in Revelation as well as in the Gospels and the Epistles, and that are connected with trumpets. The power went out about the time I started the sermon, which meant the fans stopped working. The heat became more intense as I spoke. There was no lectern; I spoke standing behind the dining room table, and as I glanced down to my notes from time to time, I noticed them becoming lumpy from drops of sweat blistering the paper. Such situations can be a bit arduous for listeners. I paused after each phrase said or each verse read, and Jacob translated into Lingala for those who had trouble with French. Trying to keep things concise and direct, I made sure I didn't go overtime.
After the service, I showed a video update of what's been happening in francophone areas, including my last visit to Kinshasa. They really enjoyed seeing themselves on the computer screen, as well as getting news of other areas in Africa and Europe.
Following the video we had a soda each, then went outside to take group photos. Then we came back in out of the oppressive sunlight to sing some hymns together. This was the first time Jacob and Justin and others that meet with them had heard most of our hymns. For the Mukendis and Mr. Bamongo it was the first time to hear some of the hymns we have added to the old favorites of years past.
Singing is a very important part of life here; it was important that we get them off to a good start with learning the hymns.

I anointed one woman for glaucoma, and we discussed as a group arrangements for the upcoming festival of Tabernacles.
By that point it was time for people to begin the trip back to their homes. Some had a fairly long way to go, relying on public transportation which can be very time consuming.

On the way back to the center of town, we stopped at a little hotel to see if we could find something that would be a better deal than the ones I've tried so far. It might be acceptable, but there is no internet access, and it's become difficult for me to get along without that for very long. For example, last night I downloaded another publication sent to me by our layout assistant, I'll be working on finished that up as I go along over the next few days. I'll give the hotel some thought.
Jacob, Justin, the Mukendis and Mr. Bamongo agreed to meet again tomorrow. I'll visit one member, who is sick, and we'll also try to flesh out plans for this upcoming Feast of Tabernacles and the future of the Church in Congo as far as registration and legal recognition is concerned.
Tomorrow will be my last full day in Congo, and it should be another full one.
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