A couple of weeks ago Stephanie and I joined Gary, Anthony and Joan in a presentation about our mission trip to the Congo. It was on a Thursday night and everyone who was interested in hearing about our trip were invited to come out and listen to some of our stories. The presentation was a way for us to share some of the amazing experiences we had while over in the Congo as well as a way to cloose the loop on the entire trip from a church-wide perspective.
What I mean by closing the loop is that by inviting everyone out and allowing them to hear and see what we did while we were in the Congo it lets them get a better feel for why we went, what we did while we were there and how it has affected us. This is a very important thing to do as the church body gives a lot of money each year to support both short and long-term mission trips, so it’s good for them to see where the money goes and how it gets spent. It also brings back a strong sense of being part of a church community that is doing some incredible things (like going to the Congo) in the name of God, which is also very important.
Before the presentation all of us decided that we wanted to tell our story of the Congo in a way that was beyond just listing out our goals for the trip and how we checked each one off of one by one. Instead of talking about how we helped out the people of the Congo with this and that we decided to put more of a focus on the realtionships we built why we were there and how we’ve realized that we need the Congo (and these relationships) much more than the Congo needs us. Each of us chose someone who we had built a strong connection with while being over in the Congo, which ended up being a pretty easy decision for all of us. We felt like by focusing on these relationships we built as opposed to the things that we did everyone would get a much better sense of what truly impacted us while being in the Congo.
Stephanie quickly chose Sarah, who became an amazing friend of ours during the trip. Sarah has one of the most amazing stories of survival that I’ve ever heard and despite the fact that she has been educated in the United States and could get a job with pretty much anyone she wanted, she still chooses to make her home in the Congo where she is making an incredible impact. She’s super awesome and she has a pet monkey. Like I said, awesome.
Sarah gets ready to translate Gary’s sermon to over 2,000 pastors. No pressure.
Sarah strikes a pose in her house
When it was my turn to present I talked about two guys who made a big impact on my trip, Texa and Zubusu. Texa and Zubusu are some of the most loyal and hard-working guys I have ever met. They both live and have families in Kinshasa, but they always seem to be traveling throughout the Congo helping out the church in any way that they can. Texa was our main contact while we were in Kinshasa at the beginning and end of our trip, which meant that he was there to pick us up when we first arrived in the Congo (I was never so happy to see him) and he also made sure that everything went smooth on our way out. Like I said many, many times while being over there — Texa is my homeboy.
Texa poses with his kids and Zubusu’s wife and kids
Zubusu, my other Congolese homeboy, is one of the best dressed guys I’ve ever met and as Gary puts it so perfectly, “is a beautiful man”. Wherever the president of the church was, that’s where Zubusu was, too. Like me, Zubusu has a serious passion for taking photos and video which meant that he was always running around getting great footage of all the people and places he saw each day. If he wasn’t holding a camera he was usually translating Lingala for us and doing other things that helped make us all feel as comfortable as possible. Like Gary said, Zubusu’s a beautiful man.
Zubusu and Gary at the pastor’s conference before the opening service
After the presentations we showed a video that I was asked to put together as a way to highlight some of what we did during the trip. The fact that I was forced to have something ready to show finally motivated me to edit up some of the hours and hours of video we recorded while being there. It wasn’t easy to squeeze 3 weeks of a trip into 3 minutes of video, but I think that it will give you a good sense of what life is like in the Congo and will also show you some of the experiences we were able to have while we were there. You can view the video below or over here.
As you can see, we definitely need the Congo a lot more than the Congo needs us.