Living in the Democratic Republic of Congo means I listen to at least two languages that are not my mother tongue every day. Sometimes checking in on Facebook, or reading “the news” from the US, is just a way to relax my brain after interpreting French, Lingala or Swahili (maybe Beni, or Kikongo….). But most of what pops up on my feed is far from balm for the soul. We are at that time in the US election cycle where divisive language seems unavoidable whether it is among families, churches, friends or colleagues. It may surprise many of you that here in the DRC, tensions around elections are also very high. It is probable that the elections that are supposed to occur in DRC in November are not going to happen and that leadership struggles could deteriorate.
So into this world of mounting tensions came the gift of stepping back last week, as I was invited to participate in a Healing Retreat led by the Pilgrim Center from St. Paul MN. They gathered us together at a hotel on a surprisingly quiet little street on the east side of Kinshasa. We delved deeply into our inner experiences of peace and reconciliation and what disturbs that peace and interrupts our relationships. We talked about leadership that is gentle, respectful, inclusive, providing safe spaces, and is deeply connected to God’s justice which flows from God’s love. There are all kinds of things that are difficult to imagine. perhaps even living peaceably with one another, but it is what we are called to do.
So to nourish this, we were invited to start a small group that would meet regularly to encourage, pray and check in with one another. This morning was the first meeting for the women from our group! 6:45 a.m.! A beautiful and quiet time in this city of 15,000,000. What a blessing it was and I am so thankful for this time to renew and to “take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.” (Romans 12: 18) Peace be with you all!