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Sun. June 13

 

In Africa, some faces always capture my heart. This young Congolese girl was the one for this trip. What do you see in her eyes and face? Let me know.

 

Back from Africa with an empty suitcase and full heart.

There is no way photos, stories, or even video can sufficiently share about Africa.  However, in the coming week, I’ll be using each of these media to try to convey what we experienced and felt.

To all of you who prayed fervently, thanks!  It was a great trip and God really blessed.  Your prayers to the Father were heard and heeded.

These Congolese boys show off their cassava and bean crop. We're raising $700USD to put in a bean crop for the village of Saki.

The Power of Story

Why use stories?   It’s summed up in this fine quote:   “If you want a boat built, speak not of plans and budgets, speak of a love of the sea.”     -Antoine de St Exurpey

Stories connect our hearts to others.  It touches us.

I’ll be sharing stories and photos from our recent trip to Africa.

“Lord, I’m a little child.”

Pastor Desiree takes my hand and leads me through the mud, shouting, loading/unloading, arguing, yelling, and whistling that is the utter chaos of the Port of Goma.

We’re here to buy tickets for tomorrow’s ferry ride down Lake Kivu to Bukavu. There is a mass of humanity pushing and swaying on the narrow pier. Dozens bump into me, the only white man in sight. Instinctively, I feel for my passport and wallet.

Pastor Desiree squeezes my hand walks me to each of the places I need to be for tickets, permits, and information. In Africa, men holding hands with men (and women with women) are very common. (One of my favorite sayings is “It’s all right to hold hands in public in Africa, just as long as it’s not your wife.”)

I feel a little uneasy as he pulls me along through the hawkers and sweating workers hefting bags of charcoal and cassava into the ship’s hold.

I’m reminded of what I call the “humility of travel.” Daily you are dependent on others to guide, interpret, negotiate, and take care of you. It goes against the ‘John Wayne-independent man attitude’ I grew up with.

Pastor Desiree won’t let go of my hand. I’m not sure John Wayne would let him hold his hand, but right now, I’m glad he has me by the hand. I don’t want to be left, or lost, in this spot.

Once again, I’m a little child, led along by my own father in a world of big people who are strangers. I don’t know where we’re going, but daddy—my daddy—will get me there.  My job is simply not to get separated from his strong grip.

Pastor Desiree’s grip is as strong as my father’s was.

It reminds me of another grip I’m in: the grip of my Savior Jesus.

Jesus Christ (my Savior whom I’m here in Africa representing) himself said it best, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

(John 10:28  KJV)

That’s the best grip of all.

It’s the grip this little child wants to be in.

This little child (who turned 54 on this trip) can recommend the strong grip of my Jesus.  He’s never dropped anyone yet.

Not even a wandering Mzungu (“White Man” in Swahili) walking along the pier at the Port of Goma.

A Strong Grip

About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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