Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The world watches

I’ve been in northern Congo without Internet access for the past 3 weeks, so I at least have a legitimate excuse for this last blogging dearth! I figure to be a good blogger I better post something about the elections which seems to be the topic invading all of our lives, even here in Congo. I don’t have strong political persuasions (unless you count thinking that killing unborn children is a tragedy), so I’ll just give you a little rundown of what the elections look like from here.

Perched in Congo, my view of the US elections has been interesting. I feel out of touch but everyone else around me seems very clued in. I don't have a television, but every Congolese does. Not actually living on US soil, I'm not especially interested in the elections, but the rest of the world is. Today's experience was typical...

I was sitting in a restaurant with Heather licking an ice-cream cone. A man comes and sits at our table and proceeds to ask us 3 questions: Do you speak English? Will you help me learn English? Who are you voting for? When we said we weren't sure if we were voting or if we did who we would vote for, he pleaded with us to vote for Obama. I get the same request every where I go. The stranger today couldn't give us any reason for voting for him other than that it would be a change and he's black. I explained to this man that Bush was in fact the first American president to visit Africa in many a year and that he's given more aid to Africa than any previous president. Like everyone else, he didn't know that. Yet Bush is detested and Obama, solely on account of his skin, is seen as the future hope of the continent.

One night a few months ago I about fell off my chair when our rehearsal was interrupted by one of the common power cuts and a musician declared, "This wouldn't happen if Obama were president!" Wow! If a black man becomes president suddenly the problems of Congo will be solved?!!

My funniest (er, creepiest) experience regarding the election was in northern Congo where a man propositioned me, asking if we could make ‘little Obamas’ together. A Lebanese friend of mine was like, “What?! That’s so offensive. You’re a republican right? That’s political harassment!” I’m not sure if this is going to come across funny on my blog, but at the time it was hysterical.

My American readers are probably going, “Huh? This is all really crude and racist sounding.” I hesitate to post these things, but this is reality--and I got it approved by my mom first :o) I don’t think there’s any such thing as ‘color-blind’ in Africa. Maybe it doesn’t impact you and I that much to consider that a black man is running for president, but we are living in historic times and Congo knows it.

I find it fascinating how the world is following with such great interest the election of the next American president. What will his impact be on our planet? I fear many will be sorely disappointed because surely no one man can live up to the expectations of every American citizen, let alone 6 billion other people around the globe.

Still don’t know if I’ll vote. I got my absentee ballot in the mail, but I don’t know if I can get it back to the States in time. I might try to just for the sake of exercising my American rights, not because I believe any of these candidates are adequate for the task. I think my political strategy will have to be to pray really hard for whoever gets elected because he’s got an enormous job ahead of him.

“I urge, then, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savoir.” 1 Timothy 2:1-3.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Video about Bible Translation in Cameroon

My dear friend Nathan from Ireland recently led a trip to Cameroon and here's the video he put together about their trip. It's a good reminder about the power of learning to read and receiving God's Word in one's own language.

I also like the part about how the people became aware of how special they are when this team came so far just to see them. I always hope that just my simple presence here in Congo might testify to someone of God's love for them. In fact, on my recent trip up north quite a number of pastors told us that it's absolutely essential for the believers there to travel so they understand that the message of the Gospel is universal and not something someone there just made up. A young man testified in one church service: "Doesn't it mean something to you that these people came here on account of the Word of God? It must be true if it could motivate someone to come so far!"