It was a trip my husband will never forget. You can read much more about it under the listing for Congo here on my blog. Next week he will be returning for another round of teaching. As he did last time, he will also be delivering several boxes of Liturgies et cantiques luthériens for distribution to our fellow Lutherans there.
Last year when he did this I was quite nervous about the distance he was going to be traveling (21 hours of air travel to get there) as well as about his safety. That is still in the back of my mind, but I find myself right now thinking less of those things and much more of what it is going to be like when he arrives once again among his friends in Brazzaville. For they are most assuredly friends, and I can only try to imagine the joyful reunion that will be experienced by both my husband and the people he came so quickly to love and who came to love him. When he said goodbye last year he was presented with several articles of African clothing. One of the things he is looking forward to doing is taking back a picture of our family wearing the clothing we were given. Here is a photo of me, Caitlin and Phillip doing just that at a recent presentation on his trip that Phillip gave at our church.
Phillip will be leaving next week on Thursday. I would appreciate your prayers for his safety and well-being as well as for his work, that it might be a blessing to the Congolese Lutherans. I thought I would leave you with this video from his last trip. It is a drive through the streets of Brazzaville a day or two after his arrival. The other two people in the video are Pastor May and Pastor Mavoungu of the EELC (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Congo). You can get an idea from the video of the living conditions in Brazzaville. But what I am most struck by is the joy of these three men as they do the Lord's work. Shortly into the video they start singing. After a stanza or two of the song, Phillip interjects a comment. The comment is acknowledged, but notice what happens next. Instead of returning to conversing, Pastor Mavoungu picks back up on the next stanza of the song. He will not be distracted from singing! Phillip told me that this is typical: once his Congolese friends started a song or a hymn, whether in a formal (church) or informal setting, they did not stop until they sang the whole thing. We in our hurry-up, cram-it-in, cross-it-off-the-task-list lives could learn from those priorities.
If you would like to support Lutherans in Africa and specifically their efforts in Congo-Brazzaville, let me know and I will put you in touch with the right people.