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REFLECTIONS: Time with the Saints in Congo

September 5, 2012 Published by Rev. Eugene James

[Michigan Regional Minister Eugene James reflects on his recent fraternal visit to our Global Mission Partner, the Community of Disciples of Christ in Congo (CDCC), in The Democratic Republic of Congo.]

There is a saying with which most of us are familiar: “You don’t miss your water until the well runs dry.” How about first having to find water to miss? Coming home to running water that I could actually drink made vivid the point of just how blessed I am to live in a community where it is taken for granted.

During our time in Mbandaka, we visited two clean water sources developed by the church where we witnessed first-hand just how critical to the community they are. [see photo file below]

There was a steady stream of persons, mostly women and children, coming down the path to the water source with buckets and containers of various sizes to obtain water to carry back to their homes. They filled the containers, balanced them on their heads and made their way back up the hill and onto the road to their distant homes.

I particularly remember one young mother with her three children, probably ranging in age from six to twelve years old, standing tall in her determined dignity, telling us that life for her family was hard and how having the clean water source was very important to them. The image of her youngest child, with a bucket of water almost as tall as she was balanced on her head, is burned into my memory forever. [see photo file below]

None of the children whined or complained about it being difficult to walk up the path or the containers of water being too heavy. They simply did what had to be done. What a profound example of shared responsibility for children in our privileged society.

Eugene W. James, Jr.
9/5/2012

To view photos taken by Stephanie Line during the nine-member delegations trip to Disciples churches in Congo, click here.