Leaving behind the bit of historical civilization, the group continued on to the house of their friends. Mwamba and his wife Chantelle greeted their guests warmly. Their simple mudbrick home was miniscule, only two small rooms and a main room. A table and chairs were set up outside for their company.
Supper was almost ready except for the fufu. Alessandra watched with interest as Chantelle carefully stirred manioc flour into the corn meal porridge. It soon became so thick that it resembled corn meal dough. She cut the dough into generous portions, piling them into a large serving dish. When everything was ready, she had her daughter place a platter of meat in red, palm-oil sauce, greens, and the fufu on the table. Alessandra had followed Cathy’s example of eating plenty of peanuts, but she knew she had to make a good show of enjoying the main diet of the Congo.
“Are you ready? Rob asked Alessandra. “Cut off a small portion of fufu and take some greens and chicken. You are allowed to use your fork, but our family prefers to eat with fingers like the Congolese.” Alessandra picked off a piece of fufu and mimicked the Carmichaels. She found it difficult to not wrinkle her nose in dislike.
She offered, “It sure is different. I guess that I could eat it to survive. Did you guys like it the first time?”
“I certainly did not,” Cathy replied, “but my husband and children have loved it from the beginning.” Alessandra bravely finished the rest of her food and drank the orange bottled soda that Mwamba had purchased for his guests. She welcomed the soda’s familiar taste and complimented Chantelle on all her hard work and won her affection by holding her two-month-old baby girl.
One aspect of mission work in a different culture is learning to adjust to the various types of cooking. And Congo is no exception. Being thankful goes a long way in helping to get used to a new cuisine. One verse that always supports people growing accustomed to new food is 1 Corinthians 10:31. It says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Just like Alessandra had to bravely try a new dish, we are also called to view every task as an opportunity to bring glory to God. Let’s learn to be more thankful for our bounty. And let’s remember that even eating can point people back to the Provider of all things.