Monday, June 27, 2011

Cross-cultural Logistics

We are in the process of preparing for a youth conference for the CPC. Youth representatives from all of the 12 synods in Congo have been invited. It has been 4 years since a conference like this was held for youth, so we are hopeful that it will be a big encouragement and source of equipping to the faith of the youth. Both Bob and I have been involved in planning conferences and events in the past in the US and Rwanda. We expected the logistics to be more challenging in a place like Congo where infrastructure is limited. But it still takes me by surprise sometimes…

A few weeks ago, we were discussing the invitation letters that were sent to each of the 12 synods. It went something like this:

Bob: “Central Synod. check. We took their invitation with us last week to Munkamba and asked Pastor Wetunganyi to deliver it. Synod of the North. Check. I sent it via e-mail last week to Pastor Mboyo. We should call to confirm that they received it.”

Pastor Mbikayi: “I also sent their invitation via train last week. And the one to the Synod of the South East went right away, because I knew someone going there.”

Bob: “What about Tshikapa? How do we get the invitation to Tshikapa? Is there a way to send it by vehicle, or by plane? Can we call them and ask?”

(Pastor Mbikayi tries to call the synod exec, and the call does not go through. He finds the number for someone else in Tshikapa)

Pastor Mbikayi (on the phone talking to the clerk of the Tshikapa synod.): “How should we send the invitation letter to you? By plane? Is there someone at the airport that we should address it to who can get the letter to you?”

…yes, we live in the age of instantaneous communication. But we are also in a part of the world where sending a single piece of paper can be a major project.

That was just one piece! Then we have the matter of where people will sleep, how the cooking will be done, etc. The conference will be held on the site of one of CPC’s nursing schools, so the dorms will house the students. But, of course, there are not enough mattresses, or bathrooms, and only one burner to cook for 200 people. This promises to be a good learning experience for us. :) Thankfully, our colleagues have plenty of experience and connections to hopefully find solutions to all the ‘logistical challenges.”

We welcome your prayers for this youth conference. It will be July 26-28 in Tshikaji, near Kananga. In Congo, unpredictability and flexibility are a way of life. We trust God to guide all the preparations and accomplish HIS purposes in the conference!

1 comment:

Jerry said...

Doesn't sound much like organizing a Montreat youth conference. Please give us a followup on the conference when it's over.

Jerry Nagel
Covenant PC
Johnson City, TN