I really don’t know how to put words to our experience in Congo.
Since we have been back home, we’ve been trying to see friends and family and catch up with everyone. It’s been busy since the moment we landed and I feel like I’m still processing everything we saw and felt and learned. I wish I could answer the question, “how was your trip?” with a simple tied-up-in-a-bow response. But, I can’t. Honestly, it feels impossible to describe our experience with words.
Congo is a place of extreme contrasts.
The joy and love and gratitude were palpable in the home of Dr. Laure and her family. That home was a place of refuge and hope and peace during our trip.
The moments with S were surreal. Wonderful, magical moments learning about her personality and memorizing her features. And, moments where her fear was as real as her tears. It was so hard to want to hold her and comfort her yet knowing that my arms would not bring any solace to her right now.
The children we met were beautiful. We tread on holy ground in those orphanages. We felt hope rising out of these places of despair and gloom. Yet, we also felt such heaviness at the reality of day to day life for these precious, innocent children.
The landscape was beautiful past the smog and the diesel fumes and the dirt and the trash of the city. We saw small glimpses of the beauty of this country but we also saw the overwhelming need and anguish.
We sang Beautiful Things in church this morning and it was the exact reminder I needed today…
All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You
“This song is an expression of hope that God will make beautiful things out of the dust in our lives, and God will somehow use us, use our obedience and love, our feeble human effort, and build Himself a kingdom. I see that God is using suffering to bring us closer to Him.” – Michael Gungor
He makes beautiful things. ALL things will be beautiful and made new. Even the chaos and the despair and the hurt and brokenness that we witnessed firsthand. And, I know with my entire being that He is drawing me closer to Him through this painful journey.
Revelation 21:4-5: And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
I’ll have so many stories and moments to record from our time in Congo. I will share more in the coming days. I don’t want to forget a single memory from this life-changing experience.
Until then, enjoy this little glimpse into some of the fun we had with some of the most precious children I’ve ever met…