a blog for the summer missions training team from Bethel Baptist Church

Friday, December 22, 2006

Bridget's Bunia Blog 34

Ten Years On

- 1996 -

Then it was Christmas in exile;

A refugee in Kenya

Along with the many evacuated from Zaire.

Borrowed lodgings, clothes and toiletries.

Unknown present; unknown future.

Fighting 'back home';

Danger, fear and loss.

- 2006 -

Now it is Christmas 'at home';

A resident of Bunia, Congo.

A new country, a new president, a new democracy.

Plenty in the stores to buy.

Known present but future still unknown

Christmas celebration in peace.

Much hope for prosperity.

We do not know what will happen tomorrow.

What is our life? We are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

We ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.

James 4:14-15

Message from Emmanuel:

Your heavenly Father knows what you need.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.

Each day has enough trouble of its own.

With all good wishes for a joyful Christmas celebration,


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Bridget's Bunia Blog 33

Monday morning

I agreed to do the bookkeeping for the school; I received the title Administratrice du Budget; I inherited the unenviable task of ensuring that school fees are paid. There were some, many, too many students who were late with their payments, and salaries and overheads needed to be settled. I didn't relish the thought of going to school on Monday morning. I thought hard as to the wording of the notice so that it would be as objective and unobjectionable as possible.

Le service des finances de l'ISP/CECA-20/Bunia The records show that the following students have not paid the first instalment of their school fees and are, therefore, not eligible to attend class.

There were only 10 out of the 21 students in my first year class that morning as the others scurried around to 'find' money. It never ceases to amaze me how tardy and reluctant students are to pay their fees, how they intimate that it is the authorities' fault that they have to pay!

Rom 13:8 "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another"

Monday evening

A roar went up as for the winning goal by the home team. Was there a football match at this time of evening? A sudden burst of noise sounded all around the block like the gathering swell of an approaching swarm of bees. For a minute I experienced a frisson of fear. Is this what it would be like were there to be an uprising against outsiders and everyone was gathering with machete and hoe? I went outside on the veranda to see what was happening and in the moonlight I noticed a chair left by the young people of the family downstairs. I found them gathered around the TV. The high court had just announced that Bemba's charge of election fraud had been dismissed and Joseph Kabila had been declared president of Congo. Ah, this was the reason for the noise! Bunia is very much Kabila territory and there was an incredible response of joy and delight. "Do the British get excited like this when they have elections?" Kangano asked. "Not really," I laughed. "But it is our first time of voting." It was indeed something to celebrate with as much noise as possible. There was a spontaneous outburst of cheering, blowing of whistles, banging of drums and beating of metal. A church bell began to ring. Cars hooted. Groups of young people marched around the streets singing till long after the usual curfew hour.

People here are very happy with the result. But one wants to warn them - don't anticipate too much; temper your expectations. It's been a hard row to hoe in South Africa and Kenya and the recent events of these neighbouring countries should be salutary. What's going to ensue - peace? prosperity? progress? May it be a time of living openly without fear. "When the righteous triumph, there is great elation; but when the wicked rise to power, men go into hiding." Prov 28:12

Bridget Howard