« Pay the Price. Finish the Task »

One of the very first sermons I heard after returning to Canada from the Congo several months ago had two main points to it : 1. « pay the price » and 2. « finish the task ». To be completely honest, it was not really what I wanted to hear at that point in time but both of those things were definitely exactly what I needed to hear. You see, living and doing ministry in the Congo is tough. Continuing to live and minister there does not get easier. It is not the case of roughing it for a couple of days and then moving on  to real life but actually living in a place that's been evaluated as being dead last, bottom of the heap on the list of all countries in the world according to the United Nations' Human Development Index. So on good days it's hard and on not so good days, which are more often than not, it can feel overwhelmingly impossible. Every day is a kind of battle I'm engaged in and in all honesty, sometimes I win and sometimes I don't. What I am coming to recognize is that, in reality, so much of the Christian life can be like that and certainly for all the Congolese that I know, it's their daily life experience always - the vast majority of the population living there are under 20 years old and they have never known anything else, never known another kind of life than that of struggle.

The idea of paying the price requires first of all knowing God's perspective and being committed to God's glory at the core of who I am, of what I do and of how I do it. It means asking myself what is God really all about, what does He care about and what are His priorities. Funny how those things aren't always in keeping with our own ideas, preferences or comfort.   After having committed myself to that, it also means coming back to that every moment that the context, the situations around me or even my feelings would threaten to steer me off course and tell me it's just too hard or not worth the trouble. It really does means embracing a vision that is bigger, much bigger than me. Adhering to this truth does have consequences, for me one of which is not being physically available in the lives of my kids and grandkids on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis. I can't hug them when I want or be here for many of the special events of life. Though I am thankful for Skype, I can tell you that it's not the same as having Liam crawl up into my arms for Grandma to read a story or Garrett to snuggle with after he's been fed. But part of paying the price is about aligning myself continually with God's designs and His global agenda and for me for right now that means returning to live and work in the Congo, if for no other reason than that's the place He can best show me the things I need to learn and the areas where I need to grow in my life.

Sometimes when I look at our friends there, many who are devoted pastors with limited or next to no resources, who basically work for free in their churches, who own nothing, have no retirement, or benefits, some who have received no formal theological education and yet I witness their willingness to pay the price to serve God with an unshakeable faith, I find their conduct and attitude both extremely humbling and convicting. Are they perfect? No. But then neither are we.  Almost everyone we know there has suffered tragic loss, and for most, multiple times – wives lost in childbirth like our friend Pastor Jean a couple of months ago, or our very good friend Lucie, Pastor Ana's wife, diagnosed with breast cancer – in a country of 70 million where there are a total of three doctors who can attempt to treat this; babies or children dying because of sickness like Inspector Mafuta's granddaughter a couple of weeks ago, or from poisoning like our colleague, Esther's son.  People still die there on a regular basis from so many preventable conditions like malaria because they don't have a few dollars for medicine or a moquito net, or even things as simple as diarrhea because of lack of clean drinking water. It's not that hard things don't happen here to people, but there they seem to be normal everyday events. People know only too well hardship – no employment, problems to educate children, problems feeding children - in some families, the older children will eat one day and the younger kids the next. What a terrible situation for any parent to find themselves in. Part of paying the price for us, means learning to share in some small way in their suffering and hardship. It means being aware, caring, doing our part, being generous and compassionate but in such a way that keeps their dignity intact. There are no easy answers or magic solutions to these tough realities. There is a cost to be paid but it can never be more than the cost that Christ Himself has paid with his life blood.

Finishing the task : As we have said to you before, our responsibilities are not the traditional missionary activities of evangelizing and starting churches. Congolese Christians are in sufficient numbers to do that themselves. But rather we have the been asked to do two other mission tasks which will empower them to do missions – help Congolese churches get organized structurally to get involved in missions themselves and secondly, put training in place for the Congolese whom they will eventually then send out as missionaries to other parts of the Congo, French Africa or even globally. We have made progress particularly in the first task and are thinking presently as to how and what needs to be included to do the training for future missionaries. Finishing the task means continuing on until we can say that both of these things have been completed.

So what is it about paying the price and finishing the task that enables me to say yes to God about doing this? Quite frankly it is getting and staying on God's page, remembering what He's done for me, for the Congolese and for others who as of yet have never heard the name of Jesus breathed. I am not anyone special just someone who struggles like everyone else to do something of eternal value with my life.

The Apostle Paul, near the end of his life, wrote in 2 Tim 4:7  « I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful ». Here he speaks of both the aspects of paying the price to be involved in what counts and keeping on until the job is done.

When you think of us and our ministry in the Congo, would you pray for us to be willing to simply pay the price as we finish our task?


  1. Thank you Brenda you are in my prayers and in my heart. Praise God for connecting us again. Excellent expressoin of your heart and God's leading. Truly God is your fist love, and I know you are doing the work He has prepared in advance for you to do for Him.
    To God Be The Glory

  2. Brenda, what a blessing your blog has been to me. My husband and I are adopting young brothers in Kinshasa, and we are desperately looking for some ministry opportunities while there. I've been trying to find contacts, but with no luck.

    Is there any chance you'd be able to connect us to someone in Kinshasa?

    donna_jnk at hotmail.com


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