A Feast in Kinshasa

Saturday, February 09, 2019
Kinshasa, Kinshasa, Congo - The Dem. Repub.
This morning I woke a bit queasy, after a poor night’s sleep. I was on the verge of coming down with something, so I would need to be especially careful. I recognize the signs of a stomach bug coming on and have found that sometimes, extra precautions can prevent it from taking over. Precautions mean eating very lightly and carefully, taking preventative vitamins and supplements, drinking more water than usual, and not pushing myself too hard during the day. 
Justin arrived just before 09:00 to escort me to the church hall. The journey was a colorful as usual. We started the service immediately on arrival. After hymns, there was a good sermonette on seeking God’s will rather than our own. After a few local announcements, I took the pulpit for more general announcements and to conduct the blessing of the little children. There were three very young babies to be blessed; they stayed quiet through the ceremony. 
This is always a joyful occasion, though I was especially aware of how challenging and precarious would likely be the lives of these little ones. Divine protection and providence is needed here even more than in most of the rest of the world. Poverty, illness, accidents, political unrest all will haunt their future. Of course that can be the case for anyone in the world, and the West is likely to more often be victim to these plagues in the future, but the disparity at the moment is almost indescribable. 
A case in point: after the service I anointed another person for typhoid fever, which is caused by a Salmonella bacteria spread fecal-oral vector either due to poor hygiene person to person (unwashed hands), a contaminated water supply, or even by flies. Personal hygiene is often poor due to ignorance and/or lack of means. There are flies everywhere. Food eaten by many poor people is sold on the street. Unwrapped bread is laid out on tables or carried about in open baskets. Meat hangs unrefrigerated in open-air stands. And this on streets channeling open sewage, dust and grit thrown into the air by smoke belching vehicles. It’s no wonder so many people contract typhoid fever, among a myriad other diseases. God bless all children everywhere, but these, it seems to me, need special intervention. 
I gave a sermon on why the Church of God exists, which allowed me to give a few reminders that not all “christian” churches are the same, and not all function in accordance with the Bible; in fact some very far from it. This is not always an easy truth to grasp at first and bears repeating. I still wasn’t feeling well, and hoped I would make it through the sermon without a problem, and was thankful when this turned out to be the case.
After the service, I anointed some who were ill and counselled with a few members who had questions, or more commonly, pleas for financial assistance. By the time this was done the ladies were ready to serve the meal for which I had provided funds two days earlier. 400 dollars would feed 100 people until they were very full. In this case attendance was only 75, so there was even more: rice, yam, fufu (a large dumpling made of corn and cassava flour, but may also include plantain or yams), beans, matambele (a spinach-like leafy green made into sauce, which can also be made of sweet potato leaves), smoked fish, and fried chicken.
The ladies formed a serving line outside the hall and dished out the food to the waiting members. I heard one man utter a low growl of anticipation when he picked up his fufu. The children were excited and focused. Parents in particular were very happy to see their children eat a copious meal. People sat at tables here and there and talked as they ate. The sky was overcast so there was no problem eating in the open, no more torrid than eating in the shade.
I shot lots of photos and video to post on my Instagram story and for other uses. If you would like to see some you can find them at cogwa_joelmeeker. As the lunch was wrapping up, the conversations became less animated. People were enjoying the feeling of satiation, and gradually drifted away to go home. One lady took a portion home to her husband who was sick. All she had to transport the food was a plastic sack of the kind we find at grocery stores or hypermarkets. Everything was just spooned into the bag to be tied closed and carried home.
I was ready to rest, so we called the taxi and Justin accompanied me back to the hotel. I will rest this evening and try to bounce back so I can start my trip home tomorrow in good conditions.



please take special care of your own health. Prayers going your way.