Welcoming and Grieving in Congo

Pete in welcome line

 When we returned to Gemena the CEUM had a special welcome for us. It was one of welcome home and we grieve with you. The normal welcomes do not have some speak from the Scriptures, but this one did. Pastor Luyada said “this welcome is special because of your father’s death. The death of a parent, spouse or child is always a shock and this was for you. He went on to explain that my father’s death was a shock for the CEUM and in their welcome they wanted to say that as you are one of us, we are with you in your grief. He then spoke from Genesis 52:1-6, the story of the death of Jacob and how all Egypt mourned with him. He emphasized that while Joseph was a stranger in another country, a foreign land, the entire country of Egypt mourned with him when his father died. In doing so they encouraged him with their love for him. We do the same for you Peter. We love you and mourn with you as we would for any Congolese because you are one of us. Pastor Luyada went on to share that we in the CEUM do not fear death as some do. We know Jesus. But we need to be prepared for death as it will come to all of us.

Pastor Luyada speaking to those gathered

Pastor Koto Kambo, the pastor of our local Bokonzo church, also explained that when he asked me to say a few words about our trip and the funeral, he called me “ndeko Peter” or brother, not Mr. Peter how I’m normally addressed. Why? Because I am a part of the CEUM family.

After these words and a couple songs, former President Duale prayed. He is also 82 and remains very strong and vibrant.


Christine Buettgen, Pete & Cindy in the center of the welcome.

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2 Responses to “Welcoming and Grieving in Congo”

  1. Valerie Hochstetler says:

    Pete and Cindy,
    We were sorry to hear the loss of your father. I was amazed at the ability the Congolese have at comforting others in their grief. When my father died our staff had a gathering at my home and they really did know how to grieve with me. I do hope you felt the same experience or even more so.

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  2. What a blessing to have that support and love from your Congo family! It is a balm to the weary soul indeed when friends take on a grief that is not their own.

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