During the past several months a lot of our flights have been in response to serious health issues here in the Congo. Four of the provinces in DRC, including Kinshasa, where we live, had been suffering from a severe cholera outbreak. Even an individual who is otherwise strong and healthy can die quickly from cholera. Though cholera is highly contagious, good hygiene, such as washing hands before eating or preparing food and being sure to use safe drinking water, can prevent infection. Many Congolese do not have fuel to boil water, or money to buy soap. Our pilots have flown numerous loads of soap, chlorine and healthcare personnel to areas suffering from the outbreak.
As first world citizens, we have had the luxury of growing up in a culture that teaches the importance of washing hands, brushing teeth, and food safety. We have always had easy access to soap, clean water, toothpaste and other hygiene items. We know the hazards of neglecting to take care of our bodies. As people here become better educated about the importance of good hygiene and we help them in Christ’s name to gain the means to practice it, it is our prayer that they will come to know Him and learn about “spiritual hygiene” as well.
We know we must guard what we put into our bodies and consciously and regularly maintain them because we want them to be healthy, look and smell nice, and last for a long time to come. In that same way, we need to guard what we allow to creep into our thought life and regularly spend time studying God’s Word and praying in order to keep our spiritual life healthy and fruitful.
Bacteria and viruses are so small we cannot see them with unaided eyes, yet they can be deadly. Temptations can get past our spiritual eyes and infect our lives just as easily if we are not diligent to stay healthy. One I have struggled with is the snare of becoming so busy that I am too tired and distracted to take care of myself. I need my teammates to encourage me and hold me accountable, even to help me learn to say “no” sometimes. You might say it’s sort of like getting a checkup. Because, let’s face it, we can all use a little help when it comes to staying fit––spiritually and physically––in this messy world.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” ––Heb. 10:24-25