October 9 at 6:00am we were picked up by Dean Jordan and his son Ben to head to the airport for the flight to Lodja. We were anxious to get there. Marty (Paul's wife - Appointment Congo) describes this process like experience Bedlam...however, Bedlam defintely underestimated this experience. Fortunately, Pastor Leon had taken our luggage the day before and we did not have to mess with anything other than a back pack. The 'staging' for the airlines was in town and packed with people inside and out. We we made it through the room was the size of a two car garage and boy did it feel smaller. It was hot and dark and chaotic and we were so thankful for Pastor Leon and Dean with us.
Finally getting on the plane we flew to Lodja without any further issues. All our luggage had made the trip successfully and was piled and waiting for us on the tarmac. The porters hoisted those 70lb. packs loaded with tools, saws, paint, and various other supplies on their heads! Unbelieveable!
We found Paul outside, loaded up and ready to rock and roll. The trip to the mission station was only 7 kilometers. And so here is where we sigh - phew... from Austin to Kinsasha and finally in Lodja - we have arrived!
Marty and Paul are incredibly loving and committed people. The people of the Congo are truly blessed to have them. The Laws have a nice home. After visiting for a little it was time to open the packages. We popped open the trunks filled with the saw, the transit, the paint, the chocolate chips, and of course the pecans - after all there is more to life than tools, I think - all made the trip safely thank you God.
After a short visit we settled in the guest house. The house is at the end of the station and looks out over the center of the compound. Palm frawns waved in the breeze as if they were welcoming us into their home. There is no electricity, but there are concrete floors one dichotomy of situations that was becoming the norm and yet felt surreal. It was nice.
That afternoon we finally made our first trip to the "dam" site. At the top of the hill was ran into a group of children carrying water up the hill and a few small children on their way down. The hill is much more than I expected.
Saturday morning after breakfast we loaded the saw and headed to the shop. Worker's were unloading the freshly cut lumber. We had our first real conversations with the men of the community. Shaku, Jamba, Michelle, Victor, Daniel, and many others. The kids were everywhere all the time.