“The African Christians stood like the Church at Pentecost. They are blood-and-guts Christians who did not run from death.”
That is the way Kenneth D. Enright, a veteran United Methodist missionary, described believers in Zaire’s beleaguered Shaba province after the rebel invasion last month. It was the second time in fourteen months that invaders from Angola had come into the mineral-rich area formerly known as Katanga.
Enright was in Lubumbashi (formerly Elisabethville) on church business when the rebel forces hit the city of Kolwezi May 13. His wife, daughter, missionary son, and daughter-in-law were under siege in their Kolwezi house for nearly a week before he saw them again. African Methodists protected them until he returned to evacuate them the day after French paratroopers began to sweep the invaders from the city. While the senior Enright was separated from his family he sat by the radio in Lubumbashi awaiting news. At his side for much of that time was the area bishop, Ngoy K. Wakadilo, anxious about the wellbeing of all of the missionaries.
“If you want to know what is misery for an old man, it is to know your family is in danger and you can’t do a thing,” Enright told Methodist officials when he reached New York. On the day Kolwezi was invaded, his son John, 28, transmitted a message on a mission radio set: “They’ve bombed our house. The war has broken out. Mortars have hit the roof.… The windows are all shot out. What do we do?” The father picked up the transmission just as he was about to return home from Lubumbashi in his light plane.
Rebels had reportedly attacked the Enright home in the belief that Moroccan or other foreign troops were being sheltered there. A driver for the mission screamed at the invaders, ...1
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