Dear ITEM Partner,
Yesterday was a day filled with uncertainty and, to be honest, anxiety. As I reported, my stomach was cramping throughout the day forcing me to visit the “necessary room” frequently. That is what was certain. The cause or causes were uncertain. Did I contact a stomach “bug?” Was it caused by anxiety brought on by internet documentation telling me I would be tested for covid upon arrival at the airport and quarantined until the results of the test were posted? Would I even see any of my team at the airport? Would they know where I was going to be quarantined? By the time I went to bed, the cramping had all but vanished. But there was still the uncertainty. What I found when I landed was quite different than what I had read on the internet.
DEPARTURE AND ARRIVAL
I had an early flight and set the alarm for 3:30am. My stomach felt normal. My ride picked me up at 4:15. One question mark was the possibility of traffic even at that early hour due to the major construction project of the Nairobi Bypass. I’ve posted pictures in the photo album. Well, there was no traffic to speak of. I got through the health check (to show negative covid test), security, check in, and immigration smoothly. I was in the lounge getting breakfast by 5:30.
I was feeling more relaxed now but there was still the question of the immediate test and quarantining. When I deplaned in the middle of the “plane parking lot” a young man met me, he knew my name, he took my luggage tag and said he would meet me inside. After another official looked at the necessary paperwork I had filled out in advance, the pointed in “that direction,” which was in the direction of a tent. That was the covid testing tent. It was well organized. There were not that many on the plane, so it went quickly. I was tested and left the tent. NOTE: I was thinking “quarantine is next.” There was no crowd to follow so I started walking towards the terminal and saw a bus with passengers. I thought that might be the bus taking us to the quarantine location but the faces didn’t look familiar. I stepped aboard, looked around, and one passenger shook his head “no” and pointed at the terminal. NOTE: I was boarding the bus of departing passengers getting ready to board the plane going back to Kenya. OOOOPS!
I then entered the terminal, cleared immigration with no issues, stepped into the baggage hall and the young man who met me when I deplaned was there with my luggage. He then took me to an adjoining room where one of ITEM team members, one who speaks pretty good English, greeted me. We left the terminal, caught a taxi, and went to the hotel where I am now.
As we drove to the hotel, the streets were as packed as ever here in Kinshasa. Some were wearing masks, most were not. WHAT QUARANTINE?
The DRC is said to be at a Level 4 Covid Alert but from what I am seeing on the internet, it doesn’t make sense. The population is about 80 million and there are, on average, just under 300 new infections per day. Overhype? Under reporting? Can’t say.
What I can say is that I felt a little foolish having allowed the perceived uncertainties cause or add to my stomach cramps of yesterday. I still may have had a stomach issue due to something I ate. I don’t know. But I do know that I feel pretty normal right now.
I am reminded of a quote from Howard Ball, one of the ministry directors when Brenda and I were with Campus Crusade (early 70s). He’d say, “I’ve stopped worrying because I didn’t have enough faith to believe that everything was worrying about was going to happen.”
This is a short stop. I am settling in today, Wednesday. Tomorrow I will spend much of the day with the ITEM team, getting reacquainted. It’s been over two years since I’ve been here. I’ll get reports from each one of them. And I’ll review the E4 Church Strategy and talk with them about the role of mentoring and remind them we are not trying to take thousands of pastors through our seminars as much as we are committed to seeing our training used to transform churches. If churches are not being transformed, then our training is falling short of its intended purpose.
I am not sure when you will see this. But I will need to have the result of the covid test in hand to return to Kenya on Friday. I am not positive how it will be delivered. I have no internet (yet) here at the hotel. No WIFI. We are working on that issue I am told it will be delivered by email. It was in Nairobi. Just pray that there are no glitches. It will be difficult to get back to Kenya without it and with a quick turnaround, there is no time to waste.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and pray.
By His grace,
I took a few pictures from hotel room balcony and will put then into the picture album. CLICK HERE to go to the album.