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Fleeing from a Volcano - A Personal Testimony

Enoch P. Balike
June 10, 2021
CONGO, Democratic Republic of
A personal testimony by Brother Enoch P. Balike from Goma, DRC.

It was the 22nd of May 2021, and we were spending a beautiful day, a happy Sabbath together. No smoke, no panic, the evening air promised the city a peaceful night. All the activities of the evening were going on, as usual. We perceived no threat.


The Sabbath ended peacefully, and around 6:30 pm, there were flashes of lightning tinted by a red color that we dismissed and attributed to a fire since the houses at the ends of the city are built of boards.  


Suddenly, in less than 10 minutes, people living on the side of city closest to the mountain were rushing towards us screaming that a volcanic eruption was threatening the city. Some people were starting to leave the city, while others were moving away from the hills!


There was no information from the city's media until France24 was already covering the situation in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Everyone was shouting, people were praying, almost everyone was thinking about the danger in which their lives were, or their property, which would surely be lost.  


In my anguish, I was crying and confessing even my smallest mistakes. I was crying for the time I wasted looking out for myself when thousands of people would soon perish in sin. From my heart, there arose a prayer regretting and asking the Most High to grant us a chance to speak again of His mercies to this fallen world.


Observing the direction of the lava, it was proved that it was heading towards Rwanda and that the city of Goma would not be affected. The fear of the people was half calmed. Then, at 9 pm the local news reported that the lava had taken the direction of the city of Goma.


Vehicles became worthless because of traffic jams. It was faster to escape on foot. The rich people lived in the areas targeted as the most dangerous, and given the uncertain situation and following government recommendation, they moved to the side of town where the majority of people are poor. What a lesson! The rich spent their nights under the roofs of the poor, on the sides of the roads.


At 10 pm, we decided to leave the city because the governor's request that people calmly evacuate was repeated on the radios. I, my older sister, and my younger brothers started to leave slowly while my parents were waiting for an older brother who was to arrive shortly. Having gone a certain distance, we received a call from our big brother asking us to return. Ah, where did this decision come from? After our departure, our brother had arrived with his wife and others who had found our neighborhood more secure than theirs. Those who had remained at home decided to stay with them.


Having left already, on the road on foot, I understood in part the journey of Israel. Thousands of people crowded in the streets, each with his own load of suitcases. By the grace of God, the night passed. At 5 am, I had decided to return to our city. A journey that should have taken 25 minutes took us 6 hours by car. We arrived at 11 am because of the traffic jam.


On the way back, people were already eating meat and drinking alcohol. The haughty ones were still talking in their mocking tones, others were mocking God, without thinking about His mercy for having preserved them from the ruin, although a part of the city was affected. The following days were full of earthquakes, some houses fell down. But God did not abandon us.


“Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee.” Psalm 91:9, 10. 


“In the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me.” Psalm 27:5. God’s promise is, “Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My name.” Psalm 91:14.


The inspired pen tells us of a similar situation that will soon occur with greater force. When the voice of God like great waters proclaims, "It is done." Revelation 16:17


"That voice shakes the heavens and the earth. There is a mighty earthquake, “such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.” Verses 17, 18. 


"The firmament appears to open and shut. The glory from the throne of God seems flashing through. The mountains shake like a reed in the wind, and ragged rocks are scattered on every side. There is a roar as of a coming tempest. The sea is lashed into fury. There is heard the shriek of a hurricane like the voice of demons upon a mission of destruction. The whole earth heaves and swells like the waves of the sea. Its surface is breaking up. Its very foundations seem to be giving way. Mountain chains are sinking. Inhabited islands disappear. The seaports that have become like Sodom for wickedness are swallowed up by the angry waters. Babylon the great has come in remembrance before God, “to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.” Great hailstones, every one “about the weight of a talent,” are doing their work of destruction. Verses 19, 21. 


"The proudest cities of the earth are laid low. The lordly palaces, upon which the world’s great men have lavished their wealth in order to glorify themselves, are crumbling to ruin before their eyes. Prison walls are rent asunder, and God’s people, who have been held in bondage for their faith, are set free." GC 636.3


"Graves are opened, and “many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth... awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Daniel 12:2. All who have died in the faith of the third angel’s message come forth from the tomb glorified, to hear God’s covenant of peace with those who have kept His law. GC 636-637


At that time, it won't be only one part of the world that will be affected, and it will be too late to repent of our iniquities. Today we are called to prepare ourselves.


Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I [am] God, and [there is] none else.

I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth [in] righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

Surely, shall [one] say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: [even] to him shall [men] come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.

Isaiah 45:22-24.


Greetings, my brethren.

May the Lord help us,

Brother Enoch P. Balike


You can help the brethren in the DRC and Rwanda rebuild their lives after the disastrous volcanic eruption by donating to the GC Disaster Fund through your Field or Union or directly by e-mail via: