Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | November 3, 2015

The Day of Trouble

Democratic Republic of the Congo | 24 October 2015

Trouble often lurks in the shadows, waiting for the right moment to strike. After five days of fruitful work among the Congolese Taabwa, trouble came looking for us. We had just finished lunch when I noticed a man walking in our direction. Something about him bothered me ā€” the look on his face, his walk. Whatever it was, I had an uneasy feeling about this guy.

I have had uneasy feelings like this before. Over the years of taking the gospel to hard places I have met too many guys like him. I have been questioned by authorities, followed by police, surrounded by angry people, run out of more than one village, physically pushed by a Muslim imam, and had my stuff confiscated. This guy, I thought to myself, had the unmistakable markings and swagger of trouble.

His first order of business was to identify himself as a person of authority. He was, it turned out, a low-level official who was despised by locals because he is a bully. Although we had all of our documents in order and had permission to be in the village, he insisted that we did not and threatened jail numerous times over the course of what became hours of back and forth.

Over the years I have learned that you cannot reason with bullies whose only agenda is to flex their scrawny muscles and cause unnecessary trouble. When the woman who had prepared our meal asked him why he was causing trouble for us, the guy flexed again. He warned her that she did not know who she was talking to and should be careful lest she and her husband end up dead in the jungle.

Tents
By now the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Our partner motioned to us to break camp and to be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. Meanwhile, a military official showed up and got into a back and forth with bully boy. He told him to back off and that bullies like him are the reason people are afraid to come and bring much needed help to their village.

Bill Under Stars
By nightfall things finally quieted down. We made preparation to sleep under the stars since we had already taken down our tents. We had a sleepless night and stayed on watch lest trouble return in the night. When the sun came up, the bully was back for yet another muscle-flexing round. And then the military guy came to our rescue once again, giving us time to load our gear onto our boat. This time our military ally threatened the bully with arrest and told him to stand down in no uncertain terms. Bully boy finally slithered away.

Scenic View of Village
Going to hard places requires that we do so with the awareness that the enemy is always looking for ways to push back and to extinguish the light. And although we had to leave the DRC a day earlier than planned, two more young men came to faith in Christ the morning we left ā€” a reminder that no matter how hard the enemy tries, he will not frustrate the purposes of God. Ultimately God will prevail in spite of any bullies or any troubles that may come our way.


Responses

  1. Praising God for his protection and his victory!

    • Although the situation was tense, God kept us calm and we remained polite throughout the exchange.

  2. Wow! Just finished reading Gary Haugen’s book-The Locust Effect. This is exactly one of the things he talks about in poorest communities around the world. The bullies who bring fear, seeking bribes, threatening the ones who generally cannot protect themselves. A very eye opening book. So thankful for your protection and acknowlegment that taking the gospel to these areas is indeed dangerous at times, but oh so necessary!! Will be in Katy next week and hoping to come and see you!

    • Thanks, Auntie. Yes, I think that beneath it all the bully was likely looking for a bribe. Look forward to seeing you next week.

  3. I’m so happy to hear that 2 more came to know Christ. I’m asking our Lord God to help me remember them in my prayers so that they continue to grow in the Lord and spread the LIGHT.
    I’m reminding my PreK class (and myself) that we can pray and communicate with our God anywhere, anytime, always and these young men will definitely be remembered & prayed for no matter where they are in this big ol’ world.

    • Thanks for praying for these two young men and the others who came to faith in Christ in the DRC. Our partners will follow-up and equip them to continue the good work.

  4. Well Omar, You guys were bathed in prayers from a lot of brothers and sisters here in Katy. I am SO glad that our God is a God who traspasses borders and is able to take care of us. I am so glad HE did in this occasion.

    • Thanks, Selim. You are exactly right ā€” God indeed took good care of us. Thanks for your prayers.


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