AMAZING JUNGLE EXIT - Valiant Men get us to Airport in time to fly
Exit from Kalima was filled with Godís marvelous care. Strong hurricane winds dropped more than 7 trees across our path. The electricity stayed miraculously long enough for us to finish packing and take a 30minute rest. We then finished loading our little bags and started off for Kindu 3AM. We were so happy for the generosity of many who came along to make sure of our safe exit. The kind valiant ADRA worker took his machete and chopped away at all the fallen trees. Some trees took a few strokes with his strong arms, others were 12-14 inches in diameter. He never seemed angry or complaining though he probably was annoyed. The ADRA driver had a water soaked mud road full of holes and slippery mud to get us through. He had an intense 100 kilometers of road. Sometimes the road was filled with water and he had to guess where the best place was. He is so skillful. I admired his courage and ability to keep the car moving through areas that are impossible. It is the only way in and out of that village.
The ADRA Land cruiser took a spill over onto its side with all the 500 pounds of luggage and at least 9 people on board. We had quite a climb getting out. Shovels were borrowed and also the machete was used to dig about the tires. Then nearby men were awakened to come and help us. The strong men just put their hands on the side and all pushed while the driver had the car in reverse.
The 50 miles took us from 3AM to 11AM to complete. The last portion had a flat tire included in the challenges. By 5p we were finding accommodations. We were grateful for Bravo helping us to the place to stay. We were so exhausted from traveling so many hours without sleep and food. Someone had given us a pinapple as a love gift for our services in Kalima so we borrowed a knife and had that for our one and only meal of the day.
Finally we crossed the river and hurried the luggage going on to Goma then Rwanda and our few things going through Kinshasa on the way home. We could hardly hold our eyes open as we made quick arrangements for Dr. Matenda to port the rest of Godís equipment and supplies remaining after clinic on to Rwanda. Dr. Matenda had symptoms of malaria that last day. His high fever and sweating worried me. We did not have money to buy more medication. We had given all we had to patients. He worked so hard as a volunteer doctor for his people. He helped me that last day trying to immobilize a foot and get it strapped into my sandal. The poor woman had no accident she just had almost died with an overwhelming infection involving her leg up to her knees. For 10 years she has struggled from day to day as a widow without any money for food. Her leg was just rotting away. She could walk by clinging to a stick. She has a bright look of hope after her baptism. She was carried into the water and after baptism, we put new bandages on her leg. We have seen great progress on improved sensation and decrease in swelling and hope in her face.
After that Dr. Matenda helped me pulling teeth. He really risked so much to do this project. He loves God and has such a tender heart for those suffering. He lost his position at the university because they did not want him to do this project for his home village. He had to move out of his home and position. He bravely put God first. He has a wife and several children and his widowed mother to support. In faith, wanting to see his whole tribe receive the gospel, he worked as God moved mountains of difficulty. God blessed in a big way. We had more than a thousand there listening who did not know the gospel. It was Godís plan for us to be in Kalima. He urged us to be persistent. Dr. Matenda says it is a miracle how he was given funds for his schooling and like me, he has determined serve God. He wants to relieve the suffering of the unserved tribes with his doctor skills and bring in bibles, raise up churches like Dr. Luke of the Bible. Many donít understand a doctor who will leave the security of a nice paying job and do this but it is GOD WHO PLANTS THIS DESIRE IN THE HEART. These poor people robbed by war and genocide have no hope of even paying the doctor for services. There is no way he could support his family here. He is concerned for Godís leading in where to establish a clinic. I promised to pray about it.
He dreams of getting many churches going in that jungle region. We have enough now from several kilometers in each direction to place 3 little churches and schools.
The school I visited just before dark that last day was a thatched roof little dirt floor building with bamboo to sit on and a simple plank. Seventy little ones crowd into each room the size of 6 foot by 10 foot. All students were lined up singing and greeting us in English. The war caused deliberate burning of what they had and now in a simple leaking shelter this jungle school is training more than 300. I could not hold back the tears as I looked at this valiant people moving in faith to train when they had so little. They eat only once a day because they have so little. With big smiles they greeted us and sang and kept singing and jumping for joy.
Can you imagine trying to study and write when the water is pouring on your paper? I never saw one book. The Bibles I gave them were clutched to their bodies when they carried them. I could see it through the holes in their shirts. 99 percent of these dear children had clothing that had big 3 inch gaping holes yet with sweet smiles of joy their loving greetings. They came running to the 2 daily Bible classes Jenny gave. They wanted to hear every story. Like ocean waves they came for meetings and demanded baptism. Some were attending other schools that are better equipped.
Dr. Matenda and the pastor worked from sun up till 9 pm daily in spite of their own lack of food and running such high fevers. They were encouraged by our efforts for them. Their appreciation for the picture roll and felts was so exciting to us. The ADRA man worked so hard to get through the jungle to the airport. Over all, I am amazed at these men who never gave up in trying to help their people.
As soon as we crossed the river and got to the BRAVO airlines office a couple blocks away, we were whisked off to the airport. We wanted to say a nicer goodbye to those hard working brothers who assisted our exit. Anne was busy getting inside the transport vehicle as I tried to express my gratitude. Matenda, the ADRA man were ever watchful and shouted at the man in the dug out canoe who got too close as we were loading into the boat. The appointed security guards were watching to protect our every step.
When we shook hands each evening at the gate the guards stood 2 feet from us watching for any weapon or any inappropriate behavior. Here we were staying in the very shelter and walking on the very soil that a couple years back was stained with blood of a merciless slaughter of jungle people.
IT WAS GODS PLAN FOR US AND NO ONE COULD STOP IT. NOTHING WILL STOP THE GOSPEL. Not lack of funds, lack of helicopter to get those Bibles and supplies in there over those fallen trees. NOTHING WILL STOP GOD. He is moving now to finish up the work. Lack of electricity, broken down internet station in the jungle, and lack of food will not stop Godís work. It is now Godís plan after the warring has stopped to get the gospel in. Language barriers will not stop it. The Keny Bibles have the wrong Swahili but were better than no Bibles. The gospel is moving forward. Those who found the light are now singing the gospel in the jungle. Their 12 voices sound like 100 because angels are joining them. Nothing will stop it, not bullets in Kinshasa and expensive transfer costs; not Dr. Matenda loosing his job and not being able to support his family, not lack of food, Bibles, money. It is Godís plan to warn all that He is coming soon and we must be ready. 200 have been baptized there and more are getting ready.
We praise God for Bravo helpers who assisted us kindly and efficiently. Coming back through the airport in Kinshasa, I did not even want to exit the plane to get into the mad house of porters. We quietly looked for the representative we had been promised. We pulled our own bags to the bus and were quietly and safely transported to the office to again check our bags on for Lubumbashi the next morning. We could not find any food to eat but had a pineapple. God sustained us.
The immigration people acted like we were leaving the country. It is not easy to pass from city to city out there in the jungle. They treat you like they are a separate country and want to charge for visa papers. Going in we had Kindu custums like it was its own country. We already had paid the ambassador in Nairobi 300 some dollars for visa. Now again this little tiny spot in the jungle demanded 80 dollars, a visa passport size photo and during the exit onto the plane they tried to charge 20 dollars again. I refused and asked for the Bravo representative. They kept the passports. I told them to give them back and they said they would not until I gave them the money. I told them it was my property. I promised to call the ambassador for US citizens. They had to give back my passport and my tickets. They demanded money. This lasted a full 30 minutes. I told Ann to go get the BRAVO man who so kindly helped us. He helped us through that horrible barrier. It is still DRC. I did not have any funds. I knew God was about to do something for us. The Bravo airlines manager came in the back door and talked to the immigration chief for us. Anne saw him take some dollars with him so he satisfied the immigration man somehow.
Then in Kalima the man in charge of immigration acted like we were entering the country again. He wanted to examine every document just as if he was making out our visa. That was done in Nairobi prior to entry at Lubumbashi. Now I see why the Union headquarters in DRC does all this for Godís servants in that city. Wish I could have brought him along.
We felt ashamed to pay so much and be so comfortable when the people in the jungle are crying for Bibles, going hungry and wearing rags. WE HAVE TO GET BIBLES IN THERE. It is our burning desire. We have some challenges in Lubumbashi and Nairobi in our final departure out of Africa. I know I can trust Dr. Matenda and the pastor with Bible funds and church building funds. I will see Dr. Matenda again Jan. 9. He is moving with the sanctuary to Kigali for us. God will bless him. I know his faith and desire to serve God will be rewarded. He insisted the fees for the building we used be paid by himself when he gets a job. He tried to shield us from ungrateful demands and in parting at the meeting he informed them all the sacrifices and expenses incurred in delivery of their free medical camp. He calculated the medication costs and did all the math and told them.
Kinshasa over night lodging then on to Lubumbashi, Nairobi, Amsterdam and USA
The Kinshasa Baptist guest house rooms were clean but cost so much that we tried to drop fees by all using the same room. It brought things down only 20. We did not need air conditioning after living in the jungle for 2 weeks. The kind BRAVO representative helped us to have accommodations. He even drove us here in his car. God will bless these men who have been like brothers to us.
SOOOO tired. I am falling asleep while writing this. By 5AM we need to be in a taxi and headed for airport to get to Lubumbashi. Once there we have speaking appointments. When reaching home, we have 6 days then we will be in Baltimore for Jenny will speak at the youth congress. Time will fly quickly then after the congress we have 8 days till departing for Rwanda. Pray that we will have a replacement of Jennyís Bible. She is grieving at its disappearance. Her uncle Jack gave it to her after our house fire burned hers up. She has so many marked promises and it is her constant comfort. We looked everywhere. I guess the BIBLE hunger was so strong someone might have decided that even though it is in English it would comfort them also for they all loved Jenny and even wanted samples of her hair and anything she touched. She loved them all. May God bless the new converts with more light. How can they find more without Bibles??????
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