As chaotic as the ferry ride was, the port in Brazzaville excessively more. Alessandra first encountered opposition at the health officer, checking her immunizations in the back of her passport. A slight misunderstanding, and the issue was resolved, moving her forward towards the immigration office, a small building with open windows.
The crowded port area was being purged by over-zealous armed soldiers. One soldier, trying to corral people out of the front gate had decided to use a bull whip to motivate them to get moving. People on the outside of the crowd had the unpleasant experience of being stung by the end of the whip. The mayhem was complete with the noise of AK-47’s being shot up into the air to terrorize the crowd.
Alessandra took several seconds to watch the success of the other passengers in getting the attention of the immigration officers. The forceful-confusion method seems the most effective. She placed two gospel tracts on top of her passport, squeezed her way through the throng, and waved her hand in front of the rather calm government employees.
“Zwa na ngai,” Alessandra pleaded. “Take mine please,” she added in English. The only woman working inside the office heard her voice and took her passport. Without a word or even a glance, she opened it to the appropriate page in the passport, stamped it, and handed it back. She kept one track and handed one to her colleague. A slight smile and a sly wink finished the transaction.
Once through the gate, Alessandra found her way to the Hotel International bus and forced her way into a seat. Many steps still lay between her and home, but she knew she could trust God with each obstacle. Two flights and many hours later, she was reunited with her family at JFK Airport.
Immensely thankful to be safely home, Alessandra teased Daniel about not giving her a well-deserved “I told you so” for his predicted turmoil on the African trip.
Alessandra survived her summer adventure in the Congo and learned the truth of Proverbs 18:10, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runs into it and is safe.” God Himself is the Refuge for His children. Just as our character lived her through her turmoil with God’s safety and guidance, we too can learn to depend on God.
The Carmichael family continued to serve in the Congo.
Wesley became a believer in Jesus and later married Alessandra.
Join Julia in her Congo trip in Congo Terror.