Friday, November 28, 2014

Fothergills In The DRC: The First Two Years

January 2013 - 3 weeks after we arrived

I can’t believe that our first two years here in the DRC is nearly at an end.  23 months ago, we arrived in Lubumbashi tired, hot, and ready to serve the Lord.  It’s hard to believe that this first term is at a close. The things that were the most difficult at the beginning are the things that barely faze us now.  Of course, we think about electricity, water, internet and other things related to comfort as the things that were hard for us at first. Though now we realize that the difficult things are much deeper than these minor annoyances.  The hard things are the mindsets that bring people down and hinder the work of the Kingdom.  We have come a long way in these 23 months; we are forever changed by the Congo.  I can’t quite explain how we’re different, but it’s clear that we have all been deeply impacted. 

October 2014 - 6 weeks before we leave
Connor doesn’t remember the US at all, except for his family members that we keep in contact with via video chat.  He arrived as a scared, shy boy who wouldn’t shake anyone’s hand but gladly frowned at everyone.  The Congo hasn’t made him an outgoing person, but he greets people in whichever of the three languages that they choose to use and almost always shakes hands with a smile.  Macy came to the Congo excited to live in Africa, but was the first of us to be thrown deeply and fully into the French world a few days after we arrived.  Through school and church she has made many friends and grown up with a diverse understanding of cultural differences; specifically concerning opportunity and justice.  I know that Jill is different too.  She has grown in her confidence as a minister and is being used to empower other women to do the same.  Not only does she keep our family afloat in an ever-evolving process of problem solving, but she also inspires others with gentleness through relationship building.  I know that I’m different too, but it’s hard to explain how. Perhaps we’ll ask Jill for a synopsis of how these last two years have changed me.  I can tell that I’m different in the way that I see people and am filled with hope.  My close friends know that I like to play the part of the pessimist and the complainer, but the Congo has striped this of me.  There is too much potential, too much that God is poised to do, for me to not be changed by His hope and to see it in the people and the powers here in the DRC.  The Congo, no less than any other place, needs the saving grace of the Lord.

We have seen many amazing things, proof of God’s power and love for the DRC.  New churches have been started, new leaders have been raised up, and the Gospel has been spread.  We have become witnesses to the Lord’s mighty hand and redemptive Spirit.  People at war have laid down their arms, people in personal conflict have come to peace, and God has brought physical and spiritual healing to so many.  We have seen with our eyes, and heard with our ears, felt with our fingertips and we cannot forget what the Lord is doing in Congo.  There’s no way to know what the Lord has in store for us or how long we’ll be in the DRC, but I am sure that God will make us witnesses to many more examples of His goodness and will continue to use them to change us.  Let us be changed!

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