The Encounter, Part one: A Beautiful Woman from Congo

The two things I knew beyond any doubt were God’s faithfulness and my calling to preach and teach the Gospel. God showed me that, since I knew my calling, I should not consider marrying anyone who rejected it.

At Duke I was helping Joe, the InterVarsity staff worker, disciple students. Joe informed me that one of the new doctoral students who would be attending our meetings was from Congo. A woman named Médine Moussounga had been part of the French-speaking arm of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students; InterVarsity was the U.S. branch.

When I first saw Médine, I was struck by her beauty-her large black eyes, her thick black eyebrows, her brown complexion and slender figure. My second realization was an amazing coincidence. The thought had recently crossed my mind that the ideal partner for me in ministry might be an African whose studies focused on African American history. That happened to be Médine’s dissertation focus.

Ministry commitment mattered most, though. And it probably would not work out between us anyway. My confidence was at rock bottom. Thus I tried not to treat her differently from any of my other peers. Still, she was not easy to forget, and I mentioned the matter to the Lord.

Our next group meeting came about a month later. Knowing that Médine from Congo, I tried a conversational long shot. I mentioned the only other person associated with Congo that I knew-even though I was aware only of his ministry in the other, larger Congo (at that time called Zaire).

“Have you ever heard of a Swiss missionary named Jacques Vernaud?” I ventured.

Médine’s eyes seemed to light up. “He was close friends with my father.” She laughed. “He started ministry in our Congo before he moved to Zaire. How do you know of him?”

Despite her appearing pleased, the tone of her voice sounded casual, almost offhand. I had a sinking feeling that she was merely amused by my attempt to converse about her vastly different culture.

“I went to college with his daughter,” I explained. “As a baby she was healed of leukemia after prayer, and she told us some of Jacques Vernaud’s stories.” I told Médine that I was impressed by that fact that he stayed secretly in Zaire even when missionaries were being killed. “I got to meet him and his wife when they were visiting their daughters,” I added. We chatted further.

This content is by Craig Keener, but edited and posted by Defenders Media.

For more, please check out Dr. Keener’s Impossible Love.

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