Extracts from Carlson’s Chronicles, October 21, 1991

by Dennis and Mary Lynn Carlson

Monday, September 23 began like any day [in Kinshasa, Zaire]. I went for a jog with Homer, a dog we had recently inherited from a Mission Aviation Fellowship couple. Shortly after 8 am our day worker arrived saying not to go into town today because of the unrest. Such news comes periodically so we were not too concerned. Within an hour, however, the sound of gun-shot could be heard coming from the main boulevard about a mile away.

Nearly all the gun shots for the next day-and-a-half were up in the air, not targeting people, but one did land in the yard behind us. By early afternoon, tables and chairs were parading by in front of our house atop the heads of dozens who joined in looting the Portuguese Club nearby. Monday evening was somewhat calmer, though the report came that the home of a German missionary family had been broken into. They hid in the bathroom while their valuables were taken.

By midnight the action had progressed to our neighborhood. Monday night and Tuesday morning were pretty tense. We packed an emergency bag of absolute essentials, not knowing if we, too, would be hiding in the bathroom or fleeing out the back door. The house behind the one across the street from us was completely sacked.

Tuesday morning brought radio reports of French paratroopers landing at Ndjili Airport and at the beach ferry crossing to Brazzaville. By Tuesday afternoon, they had worked their way up to our neighborhood. When they arrived, we had ten minutes to throw our bags in the car, close up the house, and drive to meet a dozen other car loads of missionaries to form a caravan escorted by the French soldiers down to the designated point of refuge.

Thursday morning, together with several other missionaries with young children and many US embassy dependents, we crossed the Zaire River to Brazzaville, Congo for the first of three US chartered evacuation flights. Travelling via Frankfort, London, and New York, we finally arrived in Chicago late Friday night.

God has protected us and, though the future is uncertain, we know He walks with us. Pray especially for our Zairian brothers and sisters who face tremendous difficulties which will likely include real hunger before significant rebuilding can take place.