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Gourdet Travels to Congo with OGHS and WOC Leaders

November 16, 2009

Africa area executive, Sandra Gourdet, is leading a trip with Susan Sanders, team leader of the UCC One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS), Amy Gopp, director of Week of Compassion (WOC) and Eyamba Bokamba WOC board member. They will be visiting projects supported by OGHS and WOC in the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sandra reports on their arrival in Mbadanka where the headquarters of the Community of the Disciples of Christ in the Congo is located:

"We arrived in Mbandaka today (Saturday November 14). There are no words to describe the warm welcome we received. I am so grateful that the flight was on time and the church people who came out to greet us did not have to wait in the tropical heat for to long.

As we exited the aircraft, we found the executive committee of the church waiting for us on the tarmac. As we moved towards the terminal building, we met many more who wanted to greet us. However, the team (Susan Sanders, Amy Gopp and Eyamba Bokamba) was not prepared for the greeting awaiting them as we left the terminal -- the handshaking, songs, palm branches, the children's dance team, and the wonderful mix of people. 20 minutes later we arrived at the downtown church where we were greeted again by hundreds of church members from the Mbandaka and Bolenge districts. After prayers and a celebration of thanksgiving for our safe arrival, we were taken to the guest house for a short rest.

Mrs. Bonanga and her team prepared a feast for hungry travellers who had not had a chance to eat breakfast before leaving Kinshasa. We were joined by some of the executives from the office. The joy and laughter were contagious. Rev Bonanga presented a Lingala book to Amy and Susan with encouraging words to learn the language. Inspired by his moving presentation, both Eyamba and I asked for our copy of the book. Besides, Amy's and Susan's instant success was certainly noticeable and brought much more laughter and fun to the table.

This afternoon, the 3 women returned to the downtown church to attend the wedding of a young couple active in the church. Of course, it was second to none -- the singing, the dancing, the upbeat/down to earth sermon that encouraged the couples and the audience to "do for others what you would have them do for you", the vows, the participation of the families, the godparents encircling the couple, the signing of the register. It was an event to be remembered.

The day came to a close following another wonderful meal prepared by Mrs Bonanga and her team. We all look forward to going across the river tomorrow to worship in one of the fishers' villages. Please keep the people of the DRC in prayer, especially members of the Community of Disciples of Christ in the Congo who seek to be faithful to their call under very difficult circumstances."

To read Amy Gopp's Congo trip reflections, click here: http://www.weekofcompassion.org/from-the-director/

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