Unforgettable Chapter 4

“But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:”—Matthew 2:222013 africa.2.giraffes

 

I came to America during the 1980s when my country, formerly known as Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was in political turmoil. The President at that time, Mobuto-Sese-Seko, had been the country’s leader for more than twenty years. After fifteen years in reign, he started practicing tribalism [discriminating among the various Congolese ethnic groups]. This brought about chaos and divisions among the groups. It was my ethnic group, the Lubas of Kasai, which had come against the leader for political change. This made him angry and he declared a “silent war” against the entire Luba group. This “silent war”, which lasted close to twenty years, affected everyone in some way. I lost my privileges as a Second Lieutenant and was returned to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer.  But I am so glad; God had a plan for my life.

As an officer in command of repairing American-made trucks and jeeps for more than five years, my assignment was at the Kokolo Military Camp in Kinshasa. Being in that military base gave me the opportunity to work with an American delegation, which trained sergeants under my leadership. My ability to speak both French and English allowed me to serve as translator between the Americans and the Congolese. Eight months after the Americans left Africa, I was recognized for my work and was rewarded a merit scholarship to come to America to continue my assignment in the American Army.

With the silent war in the Congo, I was denied enrollment into the Congolese Officer English Training School several times. Finally, I got in and completed the class but was not allowed to travel to America with my classmates because of the discrimination. I lost hope for a while. But one morning, I decided not to go to work but to go to army headquarters. I just wanted to do something about this discrimination; I was tired of it. The captain in charge advised me to change my name, adopt the President’s region name and keep quiet about my true origin. I walked away.  On my way out of the building, I saw the American sergeant who was in charge of the Institute of American Languages and told him my situation. Taking me by the hand, he marched right down to the army chief general and requested that I get all the provisions I needed to go to America. God made it happen for me. Within forty-eight hours. Surely He had a plan for my life even when I knew not. I was on my way to America.

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