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Saying Goodbye: A Cultural Education

March 23, 2013

We are just four days from our departure from DRC.  A little (but very much needed) R&R in The Netherlands, and then we hit the grind of complete busy-ness again as soon as we land in Nampa.  While being on deputation (how we will spend the next several months – making people aware of our mission and partnership opportunities) may seem like one long leisurely road trip and vacation, it is actually a very busy time – we will need your prayers!  Being homeless with two little ones and no regular routine is something we’re excited about…and scared of…all at the same time!

But, first, we need to say our [temporary] good byes to the people here in Kinshasa that we’ve met and befriended over the last year.  Saying good bye to our ex-pat and missionary friends is easy because this is the fourth major move for Matthew and I (Seattle -> Alaska, Alaska -> deputation, the US -> Africa, now Africa -> deputation…”deputation” = homelessness), so we’re getting good at it (oh, maybe that’s sad).  But saying good bye to our Congolese friends has been…educational.  The Congolese we have hired and invited into our home are special to us.  They helped shape our views of the culture here and how we can be part of it.  Even, sometimes, how we can affect it by living as Jesus did…or at least trying our best.  We’ve really enjoyed their company and appreciated their help to us so much.  But, saying good bye is hard, not only because we will miss them, but because cultural habits of asking for one more thing come out.  It could end on a sour note if we let it, but we’ve tried to find the sweetness amongst it.  And some are worse than others, so it hasn’t been all bad – and we don’t hold it against them!  Actually, we do the same thing in many respects, but it’s hard to learn such a lesson as we’re saying good bye.

Some of you have asked about the many people we’ve hired and had in our lives, and if they’ve found other work, so I thought I’d pass along an update:

Alex, our sentinel, was working for the family whose house we’ve been using all this time, so he will await their return by working at the house and keeping it safe.

Mosengo, our other sentinel, is one of the best workers in all of Kinshasa, so Nick and Jocelyn are hiring him to work at their house until the next new MAF family arrives this fall.

Papa Willy, our house cleaner and tortilla-maker-extraordinare, also will begin working for Nick and Jocelyn on the days he used to work for me, twice per week.  He, too, has skills that are valuable and no one wants to see his talents go to waste!

Pepe, my driver once per week, has a steady stream of work, and while no one has specifically hired him for Wednesdays, I have no doubt he’ll be out of a job for long!

MaCele, my nanny for the past three months, has a temporary job for a friend, but then will be looking for work.  She is a hard worker and very timely (a hard quality to come by here), so I do pray that she finds a job, especially one working with children!

Faustin, the tailor, does have work from other families regularly, and I have also created a catalog that I will soon post for adopting families to be able to get in touch with him and order with ease, despite the language barrier.  I hope this system works well – Faustin was quite excited when I showed him the catalog.

My two vegetable providers, Papa Joseph and Mama Victorine, do not have new customers specifically and were quite disappointed when they learned I was leaving.  I sent them with a little extra income for the month and pray that they will soon recover the lost income with new families.

As for a personal update, we are now staying in Nick and Jocelyn’s guest house and loving the freedom to know that the house we’ve been using is nearly empty of our things and ready to return to its owners.  We also love the last few days with our dear friends, though it does make saying good bye harder!  Levi and Amelia have already adapted quite well into sharing a room with Mom and Dad, a skill important to a traveling family who will be staying in other people’s homes a lot this summer.

You can pray for us in so many ways.  While we tried to stay ahead of the game, there are many last minute details to wrap up, as well as last minute plans in place.  We hope to leave rested and prepared for our upcoming busy weeks.  There is no immediate downtime once we land stateside, so we are really looking forward to the brief layover in Europe to regain our footing in a Western World.  We have already booked half of our tickets to Alaska (YES!) and have a road trip planned, with details being confirmed daily, all the way through the end of July…and that’s only the first half!  So, yes, please pray for us – pray that we will be ready and excited to share about our past year, that the questions and answers and stories never get old, and that the love of Christ and our passion for seeing it fulfilled in the Congolese hearts, minds, and culture will show through our words!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2013 0829

    God bless you and your little family! Wish we would have had the chance to meet! We’re starting deputation next month as newbie missionaries, so we’ll learn all about entertaining two little ones on the road. Maybe you can blog about that to give me ideas. 😉

  2. March 23, 2013 0829

    We will be following you and praying for your family during your travel time! Can’t wait to meet you in Enid!

  3. Tally in Congo permalink
    March 23, 2013 0829

    Praying for you as you finalize everything in Congo, and hit the ground running, stateside.

  4. March 24, 2013 0829

    We have all been praying for you guys. Looking forward to hopefully seeing you this summer!

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