CATCHING UP

News on Three Continents

“What do you know Paprika Parrot, we’re back on our blog. I almost feel like I need to reintroduce you, my pretend pet, sitting up there on top of our blog page.”

“It’s good to be back. I’ve been pecking at you, screeching at you, and even nibbling your books, but you were too absorbed to even lift your head.”

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“I know Paprika. I’ve been buried in my research and writing project. Poor Suzie has felt much like you, I think. She sits by the patio door and screeches at the birds. Yes this is her.”

“I’m getting tired of hearing the word research? What’s that about?”

“It’s discovering what life  was like in the time-frame of my book. Your Dad and I feel it should be as historically accurate as possible, which isn’t easy since the events took place so long ago. I’ve  had to sort through sources and account that often don’t agree. Many days I almost give up.”

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“But doesn’t Dad know all about that? He’s an old history professor.”

“Your Dad taught American history. That’s a whole different area and era.”

“Oh, I see. I forget now, what’s this book about?”

“It’s book two of my ancient trilogy that is set in Alexandria, Egypt in the time following Alexander’s conquests and the beginning of the Greek Empire, and it’s about all the hassle that went on when the Bible was being translated into Greek.

“What’s the title?’

“Andreas of Alexandria.”

“So first you wrote about some character from Babylon, and now it’s Alexandria. Where will it be next?”

“Rome of course, but that’s down the road aways.”

“Why these three places?”

“They’re three cities of ancient times that represent the three major Empires of history: Babylon, Greece and Rome. These cities also mark the time when the Bible exploded into the world through its first three translations: Aramaic, Greek and Latin.”

“So are you about finished with, “Andreas of Alexandria?”

“I’m afraid not. But I decided to pull my eyes off the project today to connect with the  friends who drop by our site.”

“I like the way you say ours. That makes me feel important. Woopee!”

“Will you please quit flapping your wings in my face? That’s very rude.”

“Sorry Mom,”

“I’ll try to let you carry on. Meanwhile I hear some exciting things are about to happen in Congo where we both came from?”

“You’re right and we need to tell folks about that too.”

“So what’s going on?”

DSC_0039 - Version 2“You know very well that my brother Clement, or “Bud” as we call him, is leaving very soon for the Democratic Republic of Congo, and that a big recovered military truck has been purchased, thanks to God’s gracious providence and provision. This truck was shipped off last week, and scheduled to arrive at Boma, the sea port on the Congo River, the 10th of next month.”

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“That’s amazing! Now he won’t  have to hire someone to drive him on those awful roads where they keep getting stuck or breaking down, or having to squeeze into an over-crowded bus. Last trip he had to almost sit on top of the driver. That was funny.”

“Not funny, uncomfortable would be a better word.”

“True. Many of the roads are as bad as they were when you lived there.”

“Actually worse because of the wars, and poor maintenance of both roads and vehicles. Thankfully, one main highway is being built that goes within 6 kms of Matende station where all this activity is going on.”

“The truck looks like it’s big enough to handle even these roads.”

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“It should. It’s a 1980 MAN diesel 150 HP truck with 4-wheel-drive that has only been driven 7,000 miles. It has some age on it, which is a concern. However, Bud has mechanical skills, and he was also able connect with a Belgian gentleman who had served as director in the military driving centers. He’s thus an expert on this type of a truck and still owns manuals and notes from his training years that can be a great help in training others.

“Wow! Why don’t you remind folks about Matende, Mom.”

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“Well Matende is where I lived when I was a little girl. It’s a mission station that my Dad opened after negotiating the purchase of the land through a local chief. ” The book “Shiny Shoes” volume 2 tells about it.”

“That’s the biography you wrote about your Dad.”

“Right.”

“Matende is like “holy ground” to me because it was there that the loving arms of God drew me to Himself and justly convicted me of sin. There it was that, by faith, I was born into His family, and where I took my first baby steps in learning to walk with Him, trusting Him, hiding in my heart His Precious Word, and also serving Him by serving others. Memories of Matende follow me constantly.”

“About the truck, was Bud able to load it with stuff to take along?”

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“Indeed. Friends from Stuttgart, Germany brought a truck load of equipment including tools, axes, two table saws, drills, hoist, shovels, hammers etc that will be very useful and Bud’s wife, Charlotte, filled a filing cabinet full of  canned goods, books and Sunday school materials.

“Below are the folk who loaded the truck. From left to right: Jean Luc (one of my previous collaborators in Belgium, some strong and willing young men: Spiro, Jérémie, Manu, Jean, Charlotte-Bud’s wife, Jose, Bud, Nelson who is from Matende but presently living in Germany, and Oliver, my niece Esther’s husband.”

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“Seems like I saw a photo of some kind of wheelchair?”

“You saw right. It’s a practically new wheel chair for a lady called Chantal who has been lame since birth, and has spent all of her 40 years crawling around in the dirt.”

“Ah! Sure wish I could be there to see her sit in it.”

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“Me too, Paprika, and I plan to pray for her too. I don’t know the details of her disability, but maybe some medical treatment could help her as well.”

“About time, I’d say.”

“So when is it that Bud plans to leave Belgium?”

“On July 8 Bud flies from Brussels to Kinshasa. On the 10th he’ll reach Boma where he’ll clear customs for the truck. We need to pray for that because it appears that the cost will come to some $6,000, and last I heard he still didn’t have ‘t the funds! On the 16th he’ll drive from Boma to Kinshasa where he’ll purchase a generator, paint and whatever other supplies are needed. On the 18th he plans to drive from Kinshasa to Matende where he’ll unload the truck and settle into whatever quarters will be provided. You and I know the conditions there.”

“Can’t wait to hear about all the adventures coming up.”

“We’re going to be praying often.”

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“The truck will be a big help for work like this. Apparently they plan to do a lot of roof repairs.”

“So much to think about. Mom, you look so tired tonight. Don’t you think you should give yourself a break?”

“Well, Dad has just announced that we’re eating dinner out tonight.”

“Woopee! That means I’ll get some treats.”

“Of course, and Suzie too.”

“So good bye folks, we’ll try to do better in keeping you updated in the days ahead.”

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