Samoutou Family Blog
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About This Blog...

Family of 5 
from Gabon, Hong Kong and the UK   

Living in Impfondo,   
Republic of Congo   
Since April 2012 

Blog by Joyce the mum, 
Homeschooling novice, 
Eye Charity founding doctor / director. 
Reluctant domestic goddess 

Passionate about sashimi, 
helping people see 
physically and spiritually,   
and Jesus   


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Recent Posts

Trip to Gabon Part 2
November 27, 2013


I am sorry that I have not written here for a long time.  Let me bring you up to speed with some of the things that have happened since I last wrote.


We did go to Panga, the beach in Gabon where I first answered God’s call to Africa 13 years ago.  God did speak to me again.  I was refreshed.  I was strengthened.  I felt ready for Congo again.


We did come back to Impfondo, the hospital in Congo where we have been serving since April 2012.  We unpacked our bags.  We kicked off an exciting new season.  Then within 2 weeks, out of the blue, we received the phone call that turned our world upside down.  I felt ready again… but this time to leave Congo.


Henri was the youngest of 12 children.  Ten of his eleven siblings died before he was born.  His mother was so discouraged that she did not give Henri his father’s surname ‘Mouboumbi’.  Instead, she gave Henri the surname ‘Samoutou’, which in their dialect meant ‘no hope’.  She then died when he was about four years old.  Henri’s elderly and blind father fell earlier this year and became bed-bound.  It has always been very hard for us not to physically be there to take care of him.  Our weak consolation was that he was being lovingly cared for by Henri’s one remaining living brother Julian.  And then, the phone call came from Gabon to tell us that Julian was on a business trip when he started complaining about a headache.  By the time they reached the hospital, he was already in a coma.  A few days later, he died.  He left behind a shocked and devastated wife and 8 children, the youngest of which was only 3 years old.


Henri hurried home to Gabon to support his family during this heart-breaking time and to settle his father’s future that now looked more unsettling than ever.  I cannot imagine what it must be like for Henri’s frail blind father.  He is an incredibly strong man, but how is one to endure the pain of mourning at his child’s funeral for the 11th time!?  I cannot imagine how much it cost Henri and his father to let Henri come back to Congo this time.


Our four-year-old son Ezra asked, ‘Why did they bury Tonton (Uncle) Julian?’
Our eight-year-old answered, ‘Because he died.’
Ezra said, frowning, ‘But I don’t get it!  He was young! He was well!  He was healthy!  It doesn’t make any sense!’


Son, we don’t get it either.  It really doesn’t make any sense.


To work in a remote backward foreign land can be frustrating.  To live without the conveniences and comforts of 21st century can be tough.  To be far away from loved ones can be painful. (I sulked about all this at my previous blog: Trip to Gabon Part 1)  But nothing can even begin to compare with how hard it is for us to be away from Henri’s dad now.  He is too frail to travel to Congo to live with us.  Yet we still feel that we are called to stay and serve in Congo.


We don’t get it.  It doesn’t make any sense.


Of course, when we answered God’s call, we knew that we would have to leave our beloved families and make certain sacrifices.  But this,.. THIS!?!?  Surely, now that circumstances have changed, God will change His calling and His plans?!  Surely, it only makes sense for us to leave Congo to go look after Henri’s father in Gabon?!  Surely, we can come back to Congo a few years down the line?!   Surely, if we stay in Congo, we will be the heartless fanatics who lost the plot and abandoned family in the name of God?!  Surely, such a bad testimony will drive people away from God?!  It is cruel not to be with our own father when he needs us more than ever!  How can God expect or ask us to leave a blind old bedbound father to be without his now only son? 


Don’t you get it, God?  It doesn’t make any sense!


Oswald Chambers wrote, ‘If we obey God, it is going to cost other people more than it costs us, and that is where the sting comes in… We can disobey God if we choose, but we shall be a grief to our Lord.  Whereas if we obey God, He will look after those who have been pressed into the consequences of our obedience.  We have simply to obey and to leave all consequences with Him.’


God, we don’t get it.  It doesn’t make any sense.  And it stings.


But we choose to obey and leave all consequences with you, God, ‘because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day.’ (2 Tim 1:12)


If we ‘get it’, we do not need faith.  If it makes sense, we do not need faith.  We don’t have to ‘get it’ and it doesn’t have to make sense because we do not walk by sight, logic or reasoning.  We walk by faith.


Yes, we don’t get it.  But then I also don’t get how God can create all the amazing animals and intricate eco-systems.  I don’t get how big and complex the universe is.  And I certainly don’t get how the Almighty Holy God would love, adore and use a dim-witted fickle spoilt-brat like me.  Some things are not supposed to make sense.  God says, ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways… As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.’ (Isaiah 55:9)  Therefore, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.’ (Proverbs 3:5)


We don’t need to ‘get it’ to trust Him.  We don’t need it to make sense to trust Him. This is because we don’t trust with our understanding.  We trust with our hearts.  He has completely won over our hearts, and so we can trust Him with all our hearts. 


One day, we will look back, we will get it, and it will make perfect sense.  We will see the higher way that God met all our needs including our need for Henri’s father’s needs to be met (Phil 4:19).  Until that day, we will keep on believing and trusting, for we are ‘confident of this: we will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord’ (Psalm 27:14).



In loving memory of Julian.
We miss you.

Filed under: Musings, Living in Congo, Developing countries, Make a difference


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