An Experience of a Life Time

In 1998, I was pursuing my Masters in Christian Education at ITC/Johnson C. Theological Seminary in Atlanta, GA. For summer break I went home to Congo-Kinshasa to visit my family. The trip went well and I was very happy to see my family and friends for two months. Nevertheless, the worst happened at the end of my stay.

On the morning of August 2, 1998, I woke up to panic throughout the city of Kinshasa (capital of Congo). A new rebellion broke out to fight the government of Laurent-Désiré Kabila, the President of the Congo. There were shootings and explosions everywhere in the city that day and many people were killed. Most of embassies in Kinshasa closed their offices and all international flights were suspended. I was stuck in Kinshasa for the next three months and could not return to the United States. I was scared, had no money and there was no internet, fax or telephone in the country. I could not contact my school in Atlanta to tell them what had happened. I asked, “Why did God allow this happen to me?”  I could only trust that God knew what He had planned for me next.

Finally, Kinshasa was calm again. The shootings and explosions had died down. However, international flights remained suspended. One day a friend told me about a man in town (a Jewish trader) who had a private fax machine. My friend took me to this man’s home. When I told him about my situation, he said, “Do not worry, I’ll help you.” I gave him the fax number of my recipient and wrote a short message of only five lines. He prepared the fax and sent it without asking me for a penny. When I returned a week later, the Dean of my seminary had replied. He informed me that he had made arrangements for me to travel to South Africa with SCIBE Airlines (the only Congolese airline at the time) and from there I would take my return flight to Atlanta. He also sent me money, via a missionary office in Kinshasa, for my ticket from Kinshasa to Johannesburg (South Africa) and for my needs. When I received this message, I said, “Thank you Lord, Nabiki.” Nabiki is a term used in Lingala, one of four national languages spoken in Congo, which means, “I am saved.” In November 1998, I was able to travel to South Africa with SCIBE Airlines (Congo Airlines). I then continued my trip, via Swissair, to Atlanta. I was happy to return to the USA to resume my studies, even though I missed the fall semester of 1998.

I appreciate all that God did to protect me during this time in Kinshasa. God was holding his arms around me. It was a miracle. I give Him all the glory and recognition for His protection, peace, grace and healing of my spirit.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Vicky Otterman says:

    Thank you for this beautiful testimony of your faith. God bless you.


  2. Ginger Reid says:

    Joseph, your faith and trust in God is an example for all of us in our own personal journeys. I am blessed to know you.


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