A Day in the Life of a Missionary — a Procurement Agent

From time to time I’m asked a question such as: what are your responsibilities or what does a “normal” day look like for you?  Well, there are lots of responsibilities and I don’t know what a “normal” day is, or even a “normal” Sunday.  Example.

One of my responsibilities is to maintain the stock of JetA1 fuel.  Jet fuel is highly refined kerosene.  We have 2 uses for it: 1) to fuel MAF planes when they request it, and 2) to burn in the kerosene fridges at Smiths’ and Marta’s.  I have to plan ahead and anticipate our fuel needs plus allow adequate time for the order to be filled, shipped and arrive.  Looking ahead we have a MAF trip with John Wenrich, President of the Covenant, his wife and several others that will require 3 barrels of fuel.  In early October the MAF Caravan from eastern Congo is coming over and needs 4 barrels.  We also need 2-3 barrels per year for each fridge.  As of July 1 we only 4 barrels on hand, so it was time to order.

5 barrels of fuel per truck

We buy the fuel in barrels from MAF in Kinshasa, have it shipped up the river to the port of Akula and then trucked the last 140 kms to Gemena.  As you can imagine that process takes some time a minimum of a month and up to two months from when I start the order process to actually receive the fuel.  They key unknowns are: when does the shipper we want to use have a boat leaving and how long will the boat take to travel from Kinshasa to Akula with a stop to unload in Mbandaka.  The most recent shipment only took 3 weeks to arrive in Akula.

Unloading the barrels

Saturday afternoon I received a text message confirming that the shipment had arrived at the port of Akula and that I needed to have some go get it.  I arranged with my friend Dawili to go get the 10 barrels in his 2 Land Cruisers.  So Sunday at 7AM I gave Dawili 100 liters of fuel for his LCs and some money for the expenses at the port.  He returned about 5:30 Sunday afternoon with all the fuel.  We thank the Lord for the shipment’s safe arrival and that now we have adequate stock until next summer.

Jet fuel (orange barrels) in storage. The full barrels are on the ground with empties sitting on top of them.


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