Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A tight-spot

On Saturday evening, August 28th, Kristi and I were driving home from a Bible study at the home of a fellow missionary couple.  This couple lives about 15 kilometers south of Kananga, in a village called Tshikaji. Our goal was to leave by 6pm, so that we would have enough daylight on our way home. Unfortunately, we got a late start and darkness began to fall half-way through our journey. Kananga and Tshikaji are separated by an army camp which one must pass through, and it is not recommended to drive through the camp at night. On the way driving down that afternoon, the evangelism vehicle we were driving stalled a couple of times and seemed to be having some trouble. I checked the oil and engine when we arrived in Tshikaji, and we figured there must have been something wrong with the fuel tank. Well, on our return journey this problem persisted. About one third of our way home, the vehicle would only accelerate to a certain point and then would slowly decelerate and would oftentimes just die. Moreover, the problem seemed to be getting worse each time the car died. About half-way through the camp we realized that the car probably was not going to make it.  We prayed that God would help us get home.  We tried to call a friend to alert him of our predicament, but the network failed, so we just continued on.   

Finally, we were barely moving and our vehicle began to make sudden jerking motions as it petered out.  A car came slowly from behind and pulled alongside us. A gentleman in the car asked us in English how he could help us. It was a surprise for us to hear him speak English, as French is the lingua franca here along with four official Congolese languages.  We told him we did not think we could make it home. He identified himself as the General, commander of all the soldiers in the region.  He said that he wanted to help us. He helped us find a place where we could push the car to the side of the road. He comforted us and encouraged us to remain calm. He sat us in his very comfortable, very nice, air-conditioned sports-utility vehicle while he appointed soldiers to watch our vehicle through the night. He then got into his car and drove us home. When he discovered I was a pastor, he said something like, “Wow, this is God’s benediction for me to help you. God has ordained this.” When we arrived home, he asked if I could pray for he and his family. I laid hands on him and prayed for him and his wife and three children. On our way to church the next morning, he called us to insure that the car had been retrieved and that everything was okay. We were surprised to hear from him that morning, as he had told us that he was going to Lake Munkamba that morning to greet the President who was on his way to Kananga.  He went above and beyond to insure that everything was copacetic for us.  At church we sat next to a colleague and told him our story. This pastor told us that he knows well of this General.  He described him as a challenging person to deal with.  He said that only God could use someone of like character to help us. He affirmed God’s intervention on our behalf.  We are praising God for His protection and faithfulness, as we found ourselves in a tight-spot on Saturday night. 

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