The words of a favourite hymn have been running through my mind for the past few days. Last week, I listened as a group of our elders sang it at a Zone Conference with Elder and Sister Ellis of the Seventy. You have never heard singing, until you hear singing in the DRC!
The thing is… these past couple of weeks have had a few ups and downs for me and though I very much needed the words of that hymn, I just wasn’t in the mood to hear them I guess. “60” is only a few weeks away for me and spending two years living and travelling in the DRC just wasn’t part of my plans. I am living in a country that couldn’t be more different from what I would describe as my “happy place” and at times, it seems my self-pity knows no bounds! It’s the travelling that really gets me down. I really cannot describe all that one must go through to get from city to city here, but can I just say…”It’s Hard!”
Okay. So let me give you a list of some of the “downs” first.
– Having a lot that I wanted to say (No surprise there, right?) and not being able to say it.
– Feeling like a briefcase and having to just sit and wait… and wait… and wait.
– Riding in the Land Cruiser for hours on wild roads, snuggled up to Brent (this is actually an”up”) with one cheek on and one cheek off the seat that is meant for one, not two.
-Eating dry chicken and french fries for five days in a row. Actually, the fifth day it was freeze dried chicken and rice.
– Having no water or electricity for most of the week.
– Having no connection to the internet.
– Sleeping in “hotels” that wouldn’t rank one star back home.
– Going without a shower for 8 days.
– Getting crushed (and I really do mean crushed) as people tried to be the first ones through the door in order to get on an over-sold airplane.
– More waiting… and waiting… and waiting.
– Being greeted with an out-stretched hand by pretty much everyone you meet, and I’m not talking about a hand-shake.
– Wondering if we’re really making any difference here.
Now for the “Ups”:
– Being able to say some things that I wanted to say, and being understood.
– Hearing and seeing the elders sing with such feeling and joy.
– Having it pour rain in Luputa, just before bedtime, cooling down an otherwise unbearably hot night, in the “Luputa Hotel”. (You have NO idea!)
– Having a toilet seat in one of the three “hotels” we stayed in.
– Coming home to a clean house.
– Being able to finally shower and see all that red dirt run down the drain.
– Finding a restaurant just around the corner that serves real steak.
– Sharing dinner with our amazing senior couples and Elder and Sister Ellis.
– Knowing that our dear friends and loved ones are safe in Heavenly Father’s care.
– Remembering, that I know He wants us here for a special purpose.
Zone Conference with Elder and Sister EllisBrent is translating for Elder Ellis, from english to french. In some meetings, it had to go through one more translation, from french to the local tribal language.
The road to Luputa. Those ruts are much deeper than they look.
I guess it’s better than walking!
Now, I don’t want to sound too melodramatic but I was at one point, ready to “pack it in”, so to speak. Fortunately, the “Ups” won out and I found myself humming the tune to the hymn I mentioned at the beginning, and then the words began to follow.
Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear; But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear, Grace shall be as your day.
Tis better far for us to strive Our useless cares from us to drive;
Oh this, and joy your hearts will swell- All is well! All is well!
Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard? ‘Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take. Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we’ll have this tale to tell- All is well! All is well!
Here is a feeble recording I made with my camera. Maybe, just maybe you will get a feel for the spirit of these missionaries. And you know what? They’re right! Tout est bien!