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Bread for Relationships

April 17, 2012

I asked Matthew if I could just make it a regular daily, or every other day, habit to walk down to the Commercial Centre and buy bread.  He agreed it was a great idea.

In Alaska, I made all of our bread products (from scratch, ya’ll…little Susie homemaker, right here).  I once went eleven months without buying a single loaf!  It fit into our lives, schedule, and, most importantly, budget.  It made sense!  (cents! pun!)  Even in Washington, I tried to make my own bread as often as I could, but with a new baby, I didn’t exactly hold myself to the same standards of Susie-homemaker-ness.  I assumed that here, making my own bread from scratch would be a necessity.  I don’t have a car (or the will to drive, just yet) and everything here is generally very expensive.

Except the bread.  It’s the equivalent to $.20 per loaf.  The loaves are little baguettes, like a 12″ sub, or sandwich rolls, or dinner rolls, but still…affordable, I’d say.  But it’s not just about cost.

Last night I needed a few produce items, so we took a family walk down to the CC and bought something from each of the three merchants with tables.  One older gentleman, Papa Joseph, was introduced to me as another MAF family’s regular “vegetable guy” who delivers to their door with their order.  He did that for me last week – he’s very sweet.  The other two tables are run by a couple of ladies.  One had a little baby and I, using my pocket dictionary, was able to ask how old (eight months) and tell her that Amelia was seven months.  On our way across the street toward home, we were able to wave goodbye to everyone and they all shouted “au’revoir!”  We have begun building relationships.

The point of MAF in the Congo, and the point of us being here, is relationship.  Without relationship, we have little lasting impact.  We, as MAF, as an organization, fly goods, services, and people.  That might still happen, but in the process we are busy building trust and friendships.  Those relationships may end on the runway.  They may end at the market.  But, they may not.  We may build something deeper.  And THAT is where we have a real impact.  Where we are invited to share the Gospel and give people here the hope that comes with faith in our Lord.  We have been saved, and we want others to know that there is hope in the life eternal for them, too.  But it won’t matter coming from a stranger…it will be better coming from a friend.

So, every day, or every other day, the kids and I will walk down to the CC.  For a while, we’ll simply be the mundeles (white people) pushing the strange, giant red stroller with two kids in it.  Our French is very limited, but we will learn by conversing.  We will smile, and use our kids as ice breakers.  We will support the livelihood of the merchants in the CC.  We will greet our neighbors on the way there and back.  We will not pinch pennies, but put people above money.  We will take a walk, because it’s good exercise.  We will build relationships and make new friends.  And, of course, we will enjoy tasty, fresh bread!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 17, 2012 0829

    Feel free to knock on our gate on your way and I’ll accompany you if you’d like. Have you met Mama Lily yet? Also, the new cafe has really good fries for about $3 so we could take the kids for a treat and help them get their business off to a good start. We used to have a pizza place and it went out of business. Also, if you are ever looking for a softer, sweeter bread, ask the vendor for gateau (gatoh).

  2. Tally permalink
    April 17, 2012 0829

    So glad to see you getting out and about! My older kids all miss the bagette breads from Congo. Nancy now knows the two depots I use to get a case of Coke from and can show you. Small kiddies like yours will be a delight to all you meet.

    • April 17, 2012 0829

      Matthew took two cases and Levi in a wheelbarrow tonight for Coke…I’m not sure where he went, but Levi said it was fun! 🙂

  3. Sue permalink
    April 17, 2012 0829

    Lisa, you fill my heart with love and appreciation for you both. You are such wonderful witnesses for our Lord and you are such pioneers. God bless your family richly and keep you safe in His arms.

  4. swankfamily permalink
    April 18, 2012 0829

    We enjoy hearing about your life and work over there.
    Happy Anniversary!

  5. May 24, 2012 0829

    Yay bread!

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