God’s Sovereign Care!
Wednesday, October 29th, we were visiting the refugee camps just outside of Goma in the afternoon in preparation for ministry in the four camps the following days. We had to meet with the overseers of the camps and the security officers there just to make sure that things were ready and they were comfortable with us going in to minister.
We were on the way back into Goma around 3:00 PM or so when we were met on the road by a huge convoy of Congolese troops exiting the town at a high rate of speed. There were tanks, personnel carriers, trucks with huge guns mounted on them, and an assortment of private vehicles packed with soldiers on the run. We had no idea of what was going on. Then we notice that pedestrians began running away from town too as the convey of soldiers passed.
We pulled off the road and stopped momentarily as the convoy passed. Suddenly one of the tanks lost control, leaving the road and heading straight for our vehicle. Just before it looked as though it would run right over the top of us, it suddenly diverted back onto the street, missing us by no more than 2 feet! This happened so quckly that we had no time to pray much less respond. The Lord protected us! Thank you for those who prayed for our safety!
We continued our journey into town after asking and receiving no clear understanding of what was going on from the fleeing pedestrians. They were in a panic. As we traveled in to town we notice soldiers commandeering motorcycles and cars ahead of us, stealing them and leaving town in them. Our driver became concerned that our hired vehicle would be stolen and diverted us onto some really horrible side streets. We darted in and out steering clear of soldiers as they eyed our vehicle and motioned for us to stop! Forty five minutes or so later, we arrived safely at our hotel.
As we ate dinner that Wednesday night, fighting once again erupted a couple of miles form our hotel. The sound of tanks and big guns firing could be heard in the distance for several hours. The electricity was cut off a few hours later so as not to bring attention to our hotel. Machine gun fire could be heard in the streets fairly close to us during the night hours. We found out later that 20 or so soldiers and civilians were killed in the fighting, 13 or so civilians were wounded; several women were raped by soldiers and a number of stores were looted.
We canceled our planned meetings at the refugee camps on Thursday so as to access te situation. Several UN monitors came by our hotel the next morning for breakfast in the dining area. I can see the hand of the Lord in this. They told us what had happened the night before and advised our leaving Goma to stay in Rwanda, just across the border. Another UN negotiator came by the dining area and gave a clear assessment to us of the situation and advised our leaving the city during the night. The situation had calmed but was certainly volatile. On Thursday afternoon we moved from our hotel in Goma to a hotel in the Rwandan border city of Gisenyi. Ministry began on Friday and continued through Tuesday.
The Lord protected us as He promised! We were able to get the information we needed so we could make sane and safe decisions as to ho to proceed. Certainly underneath us are the everlasting arms. I’ve posted some pictures for you of some of our ministry experiences. I’ll show a brief 5 minute video synopsis of our ministry in Goma Congo in our services on Sunday.