True Treasures

The prisoner is set free.
Moses (an alias) will finally go home. A prisoner for over nine years, he was recently released in Kinshasa, a thousand miles from his home in Ituri.

Ituri is a mineral rich province with chronic violence and a raging Ebola epidemic. It has hills and plains and deep forests.

I met Moses through a friend who knew I could help him find competent medical care now that he is free. He has suffered from years of untreated diabetes and hypertension.

Moses’ Story
Nearly a decade ago, Moses and a group of friends were arrested, snatched from their entrepreneurial farming lives in their war-torn homeland of Ituri. Never tried nor charged; they were branded enemies of the state.

“We just wanted to make a living and keep our children from joining militia armies,” Moses said.
The men were transferred from one prison to another and time passed. Moses lost everything–children, spouse, land, and his productive years. He grew accustomed to isolation, hunger, abuse, disease, and neglect.

Moses described one point where he “went crazy”–headaches, dizziness, anxiety, tremors, and lapses of consciousness. Now, aware he has diabetes and high blood pressure, he recognizes those feelings as symptoms of uncontrolled disease.

“God was with us in prison.”
He told me emphatically.
“I survived.” Inmates became “brothers.”

Moses found purpose in helping others and doing cleanup jobs. Sometimes guards gave him money or allowed him to make a phone call “home.”

Our mutual friend visited Kinshasa prisons and gave Moses a Bible. Through the Word, God reached into the prisoners’ lives with solace and courage.

Moses’ release was as unexpected as was his imprisonment. A Christian family, also from Ituri, welcomed him to share a corner of their crowded Kinshasa home.

I helped him find medical care in the maze of Kinshasa. Coping with chronic disease is daunting for anyone, but especially for a broke, newly-freed prisoner whose knowledge of Kinshasa was through crumbling prison walls.

The Journey to Physical and Spiritual Health
Anchored by prayer, Moses is making steady progress on the long journey to health, strength, and hope. Each time Moses stops by for a blood pressure check, or money to buy medicine, he admonishes me, “Never forget prayer.”

He won’t leave without a prayer . . . “God and prayer are all I have. I will get home because of what Jesus has done for me.”

This week I gave Moses a suitcase for his flight home. All he had was a small sack from prison containing the few things he owned.

Our mutual friend provided a ticket and ‘settling in’ funds. It will be a few more days to confirm that medications control his blood pressure, and he should be on his way back home to Ituri.

He is so thankful.

How can someone subjected to so much injustice express such joyful faith?

I am grateful Moses came into my life to remind me to be thankful for the abundance of blessings in my life, and that God and prayer are treasures.

###

We are grateful to Katherine Niles for sharing Moses’ story with us. She is a physician’s assistant working in Kinshasa. She and her husband, Wayne are American Baptist missionaries.

Remember to pray for the peace of every corner of the DRC. And to pray for all of the missionaries working within the country.

Moses lost everything, including his health. So, how can someone subjected to so much injustice express such joyful faith? God and prayer are everything—the true treasures.

© 2019 Hope4Congo

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