As I sit here, I can hear the high school band on the field across the road from our apartment practicing for tonight's graduation ceremony. For many this is an exciting time of year. I got to attend another graduation a couple weeks ago, thanks to the kind invitation extended to me by two friends: Justine (whom I met when I hired her to help me learn Lingala) and Emily. Emily and Justine work with a ministry called the Tabitha Center. There are many similarities between the Mitendi Center I often write about and the Tabitha Center. Both reach out to at-risk women and offer discipleship and job training. Here are a few photos from our day.
I have been to a few major celebrations here, and music is an essential part. Sometimes a sound system and DJ are hired and sometimes, as in this instance, a local band is hired. Personally, I prefer the bands.
Dressing up is also a key part of any celebration here. I have no idea who this fellow is, but I thought his tie modeled after the DRC flag was cool.
My lovely friend, Justine. I am really grateful to have met her this year. She is passionate about her faith and about helping women in Kinshasa.
Emily is also one of my newer friends here. She received a gift in appreciation for her service to the Tabitha Center. She blows me away with her talent and her compassion.
There is no joyous celebration quite like a Congolese joyous celebration, so here is a little sample of the excitement of the day. When the graduates paraded in, I started crying. Their joy is just so contagious and I was really happy for them. Sorry about the quality. It was the only way I could get it small enough to upload for you.
A.A. Milne, the author of the Winnie The Pooh books, once wrote: "One of the advantages of being disorderly is the JOY of discovery." It's true, too. I am surrounded these days by a great deal of disorderliness. Mostly of my own doing, but some can't be helped as we are packing and preparing for furlough and because we live in a place that often lacks order. I've been going through papers and folders and scanning back ups of things that are important. The other day I was going through some old genealogy papers I had printed twelve or thirteen years ago and found this on the backside of one:
All these years I never knew that was in my files, so it was a joyous discovery. I know without a doubt which child did the drawing, and I am sure at that tender age she didn't know what she was drawing on, or that way in the future it would bring a smile to her mama across the ocean who misses her so much. We love what we do here, but we can't wait to see our grown kids and the rest of our families again. Maybe I can even get them to draw me a picture.
Please pray for the people who live here in the midst of disorder, that they will have the joy of discovering new life in Christ and peace that passes understanding.
"For God is not a God of disorder, but of peace..." I Cor 14:33a