Andrew and I spent much time in the presence of the Lord is the morning, asking for his guidance, asking Him to show us his glory, asking him to do what he may with us but especially asking him to bind us together in one accord. The whole day didn’t go as planned, everything we were supposed to do was postponed for one reason or another. But we still wanted to do SOMETHING, so we called Pastor Paul and his family (which consists of a wife a 6 children) and said “bring all the children,” we are going to make all of you dinner. Pastor brought his family, we had Phillip (our dear friend and translator) help us prepare a large meal and we began to eat, dance and have a good time. . .
It was past 8 o’clock when suddenly, the power went out completely. This is something common in DRC (the power cutting unexpectedly) but what we heard afterward was something I’ll never forget. We heard the sound of people screaming. There’s a certain kind of scream that transcends all languages, it’s the guttural scream that God gave us to communicate one word with the rest of humanity: danger. When we opened the windows and saw, immediately smoke filled our eyes and we saw flames building from the other side of our compound.
We stay in a large (4 floors high) compound which is holds about 100+ people who are mostly MONUC staff (MONUC stands for the military operations of the United Nations in the Congo). Both INSIDE and surrounding the entire compound are petrol (gasoline) stations. As soon as we saw the fire, the pastor gathered all the children and began to run downstairs to the van. Andrew and I immediately grabbed flashlights and started grabbing our most precious belongings. Within, 3 minutes we were also running out of our compound with Phillip. DURING THAT VERY SAME TIME, Phillip received a text message from the CEPAC Barackas Church prayer meeting (Phillip was missing a prayer meeting to spend time with us). The text message said they saw a vision of Phillip and us fleeing toward the border with extreme chaos surrounding us and that they were praying for us.
When we got out of our apartment, we saw chaos. UN staff (a lot of them were foreigners like Indians, Uruguayans and Europeans) Running out of their homes in their sleeping wear grabbing everything they could in there hands. Furthermore, there was a mass panic in the compound because no one was able to get the keys to the UN cars. People were screaming, I saw some European girls (maybe a few years older than me) standing and sobbing in terror. One man who was able to get the keys to the UN vehicles began to try distributing, as Andrew struggled to get our motorbike (which happened to be blocked in by other motorbikes), I watched this grown man trembling so terribly he couldn’t even hold the keys trying to distribute keys that he had gotten the vehicles.
We got our things and got out of the compound with the motorbike, but there was even more chaos outside the compound. Everyone knew that MONUC was in the compound and street children and bandits were on the prowl to rob everyone as they ran away with their belongings. It was dark and we were very much in a catch 22 situation where we could stay with a compound surrounded by gasoline or take our chances by running through the streets at night with all of our belongings (this is something EXTREMELY dangerous in this city, people die all the time from being hijacked and there is no justice system).
After Pastor took his wife and children far enough away to find refuge, he came back for us. The guys insisted I get into the van, while Andrew followed behind. It's really tough to seperate from you're only loved one in a situation like that. It was even harder when Andrew, Paul and Phillip left me and Solang (Paul's wife) alone with 6 children at hotel near the border to go back and help rescue our belongings.
Through a series of events, we got away… Thanks to Andrew and Pastor Paul (if it wasn’t for him being there, its likely we could have been hijacked right off of our motor bike as we attempted to flee the fire in the darkness).
Since the UN had a vested interest in the compound, the United Nations eventually brought a large fire truck to put out the fire. Had that not happened… The whole city of Goma would be in flames right now. We had SOOOO much gasoline where we were. It would have been tragic.
I don’t know why things happened the way they did, but I know God was with us. He made sure Pastor Paul was there, He told the intercessors to pray…. He was there. Our compound is full of smoke and without power, but the fire is out. We are staying at a hotel to prevent from bandits looting us in the midst of the post-chaos.
Paul's wife, Solange said it perfectly when we talked about how God's hand is on us.
"God is binding us into a close family. He put us through this together, because that's what families do. You're problems are our problems and our problems are your problems. We are truly becoming a family. God has destined it."
Thank you for your prayers.