Thorpe, Peterson Prepare for Return Home

Post a Comment » Written on March 24th, 2007     
Filed under: News
KINSHASA, CONGO (March 24, 2007) – An uneasy sense of calm following days of fighting was enough to allow Covenanters Dr. Roger Thorpe and Curt Peterson to slip out of the compound where they had sought refuge and make their way to a nearby hotel to try and secure airline tickets for a flight out of the capital, possibly as soon as this evening (Saturday).

In a telephone conversation with Byron Amundsen of the Covenant World Mission staff, Peterson said they saw the signs of conflict at every turn as they left the compound to head for the hotel. “They are safe, and Curt says all is calm, but there are a lot of military personnel on most corners,” Amundsen says he was told. “The streets are alive with traffic, though cluttered with the evidence of looting.”

Thorpe, a retired Evangelical Covenant Church medical missionary, and Peterson, who serves as executive minister of the Department of World Mission, had been in Kinshasa since March 12, where they participated in an all-pastors conference in partnership with the Covenant Church of Congo, among other things. For additional detail on the trip and the fighting that erupted, please see an earlier online story, Covenanters Reported Safe.

Two other Covenanters – pastor Harvey Drake and missionary Keith Gustafson – were in Northwest Congo at the time the violence erupted, but their presence was not divulged in news coverage early on out of concern for their safety, though that part of Congo was far removed from the fighting in Kinshasa. Both are reported out of Congo and safe in Bangui, Central African Republic, following a harrowing 12-hour trek by truck on rough dirt roads and a shaky dugout canoe ride across the river between Zongo, in Congo, and Bangui. They were scheduled to fly out of Bangui this evening as well.

Following the previous night of lying awake in the dirt, hiding behind a wall, while soldiers were firing their weapons and rockets, Peterson and Thorpe last evening were able to get a decent night’s rest – Peterson reportedly sleeping about 11 hours and Thorpe nine.

To read more of the current conditions in Kinshasa, please see a special Reuters news report on CNN, Order Restored in Kinshasa.

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