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Things I Did Not Expect

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These days in Congo it is rare to see anyone being carried in a chair on the shoulders of bearers, and consequently I had not thought of ever traveling in that fashion. When I agreed to make a trip to the villages in an area out from Boma I knew that motor transport could be expected only for the return trip and then only if I were able to make contact with a truck going back to Boma. The first nine days I expected to walk at least two hours each day, as we went from village to village. The people walk, why shouldn’t I?

However, I had not reckoned on the eagerness of the people to have a visit from a missionary. Neither did I take into consideration that the walk would have to be made in the heat of the day. They knew that I would never be able to endure the sun once we had left the forest and were in open country, through which most of the journey lay. Therefore, they prepared a chair by fastening the hide of an animal over two poles. When I tried to pay them for this unusual service, they would not accept a penny for they said to do so would kill the blessing of the Lord on the trip. . . .

One thing I did depend upon as I undertook this journey was the presence of the Lord. He fulfilled to me His assurance that He would encompass my path and that His Spirit would not flee from me. Refreshing rains fell just ahead of us . . . but not upon us, and each day’s progress and labors were marked with other indications of God’s care. . . .

But best of all was the joy of seeing penitent sinners seek the Lord and backsliders return to fellowship with their Saviour. People may have been attracted to the meetings by the presence of a white woman with an accordion and the illustrated messages, but the Holy Spirit was the One who worked in their hearts to draw them to God. At one plantation camp 230 people gathered for the meeting. They had never heard this message of salvation before. About 12 repented and now they want a preacher to work among them. . . .

Ten years ago I should not have considered taking such a trip, but today I count it the most joyful and interesting experience of my life. There are many things involved in the missionary life which are unexpected and for which I feel unprepared, but with the assurance that this is God’s plan for me, I would choose no other.

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