Saturday, September 2, 2006

Running in DR Congo

Well, I've run in my 5th African country in 2006. Got in about 4.25 miles in Kinshasa, DR Congo this morning. Interesting run. A lot more hills than I expected -- long and fairly steep and the downhills aren't just an easy jaunt. So, I was pretty tired by the time I finished.

At one point, I was running along a ridge, overlooking downtown Kinshasa, the Congo river, and Congo-Brazzaville. That was pretty neat. It's a huge city of about 10 million people but it feels more like a lot of moderate-sized African towns just crammed together. I just pray that the gospel will penetrate this whole city.

The really interesting thing was the reaction of the people on the street to me while I was running. The only people who initiated any kind of greeting with me were young men and they invariably greeted me with Bonjour. It's assumed that white folks here speak French -- I don't, except for a few phrases excavated from high school memories. I also don't speak Lingala except for the single word of greeting, Mbote. Anyway, other people would generally respond to me if I greeted them first with either Bonjour or Mbote. The look on the faces of a lot of people was one of amused confusion -- Why is this white guy running?

All in all, a good run.

Yesterday, we spent the day with a new missionary couple (one year) and a group of pastors with whom they are working. One of the pastors had just returned from a trip, with another pastor and a layman, to the "interior" and gave a report. A 3 week trip turned into about 3 months and they had clothes and other things stolen at one point, but he was excited because a number of people had given their lives to Christ and several churches had started. I had been asked to share a devotional thought, so I chose Hebrews 12:1-2 which uses a running metaphor to talk about being a follower of Christ. It was a good day.

Perhaps more later about the rest of today. For now, run or waddle well.

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