Humanitarian Crisis in the Kasai

Support Team Providing Meal for H4C’s Farm to Market Team Workers

YOUR HELP NEEDED!
by Brad Graber

Political unrest has resulted in starvation
in the Kasai region of the DRC.

The average price of a big Mac meal at McDonalds is $5.99. I bought two cheeseburgers, fries and coke the other day for $4.89. I am able to satisfy my hunger as it arises each day. Unfortunately, there are many parts of the world where that is not true.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of those places. Many experience gnawing hunger as an everyday occurrence. It is especially severe in the area known as the Kasai.

Political unrest has devastated communities, families and individuals, resulting in starvation. Fields have been ruined, two planting seasons have come and gone. Homes have been destroyed and many people remain in hiding. Recent estimates indicate as many as 1.3 million people have been displaced in this area adding to the already 2.0 million people from other areas of the country.

Organizations such as the UN and MCC Relief are beginning to provide relief, but the need is great and the opportunity to reach all the communities is not possible. The more rural areas continue to be at risk.

Through Hope4Congo’s ongoing twelve-year relationship with the more rural community of Ndjoko Punda we are able to help. We have provided tools and resources for a group of individuals (our friends and fellow workers for Christ) who are hard at work planting new crops and raising farm animals such as rabbits and pigs for meat.

Our goal is to replicate these efforts throughout the community
so that both the present and the future food needs are met.

We are asking for your assistance in this effort.

For $10 dollars a day we can provide nourishment for 15 to 20 of our friends who are working hard to counteract the devastation in their community. Your commitment of $10, 20 or $50 per month will help these men and women, young and old to minister to their communities in the name of Jesus Christ and live out the gospel each day.

This link provides a firsthand account of the suffering in the Kasai.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8AuMJ6VBlE&t=6s

Dinner Break for Farm to Market Team

Donations can be sent to Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission.
Designate “Food fund” on your gift. Mail your gift to:

AIMM (Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission)
1013 Division St.
P.O. Box 744
Goshen, IN 46527-0744
USA

You can also make an online donation at:
http://www.aimmintl.org/

© 2018 Hope4Congo

April News 2018

Your donations have made it possible for Hope4Congo to send 20 soccer balls and 500 French tracts to the DRC recently. These items will be used to share the gospel.

You may remember our priority to invest in the training and equipping of leadership partners in Congo. One such partner is Kalenga. He proved himself to be a good leader among the youth last year.

This year he will again be involved with the youth. Using his good judgment, he will distribute these soccer balls and French tracts at upcoming youth events. It is wonderful to see our efforts to develop leadership coming to fruition.

The leadership coaching team (led by Charles Buller) is in DRC again this month. They began this month in the Bandundu region conducting transformational coaching seminars. This week they worked in Mukedi and will finish the week in Kikwit.

In conjunction with these seminars, they have conducted youth rallies and soccer practices through which they introduced principles of joining God’s team and winning in life.

The leadership team’s activities culminate in soccer games on Saturday along with the final Kikwit seminar.

Charles Buller stated: “We believe God’s Spirit, our presence, and your prayers will result in great fruitfulness for God’s kingdom.”

Prayer Requests:
• Continue to pray for the seminars and youth rally/soccer events.
• Pray for effective ministry and open hearts to hear and apply the teaching.
• Pray for safe travel as seminar team members return to their respective homes.
• Pray that donation monies spent on soccer balls and French tracts
will bear good fruit—fruit that remains.
• Pray for wisdom, encouragement, and safety for Kalenga.
• Continue to pray for peace in the DRC so that God’s Word may spread throughout the country.
• The town of Beni has faced repeated incidents of violent persecution against Christians from Muslim rebels, including an attack on a hospital. Pray for peace to return to this town and for those who have suffered physical and/or emotional trauma.

© 2018 Hope4Congo

Hope for Congo: Providing Hope to the Next Generation

by Brad Graber

Hope for Congo works in the central part of Congo which includes the Kasai provinces where there has been much suffering and community disruption. The political instability has been augmented in the Kasai area by the addition of the Kamuina Nsapu rebellion. This is an ongoing rebellion instigated by the Kamwina Nsapu militia against state security forces in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It is primarily an anti-government militia, which initially aimed at eliminating State authorities in the Kasai provinces, including police officers, military, intelligence agents and public officials, as well as symbols of the State, mainly administrative buildings. The Kamuina Nsapu members are reported to be primarily armed with machetes, sticks and hunting rifles and, to a lesser extent, semi-automatic weapons.

Since August 2016, some 1.3 million people in the Kasai have been displaced within the DRC by the violence that has grown out of a locally rooted conflict, while another 30,000 have fled to Angola. Many people have gone into hiding fearful of being out in the open and at risk of being killed or forced to join the militia against their will. Thus far, reports have identified 2,261 children used as fighters by the Kamuina Nsapu.

Children are the main victims of the conflict. UNICEF estimates that 440,000 children have not been able to complete the 2016-2017 school year following the violence, destruction of school infrastructure and killing of teachers.

The increasing violence and displacement in the region have resulted in two lost harvests, exacerbating food insecurity in the country. It is reported that 7.7 million people are now on the verge of starvation.

While the situation is very dire with no definitive resolution in sight there remains hope. One person reporting from their visit to the Kasai, Anne Davies, has seen extraordinary resilience and kindness. She reports, “I was struck by the great generosity of ordinary people. Although they have weathered inexplicable atrocities, they expressed a simple wish to get back on track with normal life. They are traumatised by what happened, but instead of direct handouts of food, they want seeds and tools so they can continue farming,” she says. (Kasai: On the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe August 17, 2017 Reliefweb.int)

Hope for Congo works in the Kasai province in the village of Ndjoko Punda. The news we have received corroborates other reports. Currently we have provided seeds and tools for the next planting season.

We look to God to provide the harvest. The younger generation of the community is doing the work (see photo below of garden preparation). This generation needs hope.

Your prayers and giving are a significant part of the hope needed to face the daily struggle to survive. Hope for Congo can be your hands and feet.

Please pray and give generously to keep hope alive for the next generation.

Make your checks payable to: AIMM or Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission 

Designate your donation to:  
Hope 4 Congo and indicate which project you wish to support.
Example (1): “I would like this donation to be given to Hope 4 Congo for the Bible project.”
Example (2): “I would like this donation to be given to Hope 4 Congo for seeds and tools.”
Example (3): “Please apply my gift wherever it is needed most for the Congolese people.”

Send your tax-deductible U.S. Dollar Donations to:
Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission (AIMM)
P.O. Box 744
Goshen, IN 46527-0744

Send your tax-deductible Canadian Dollar Donations to:
Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission (AIMM)
440 Main Street
Steinbach, MB R5G 1Z5

Donations are tax-deductible.
We’re all volunteers here at Hope 4 Congo. No one receives any compensation.

© 2018 Hope4Congo

Daniel and Joseph Return Home

by Brad Graber

Joseph (L), Daniel (R) crossing the Kasai by canoe.

After spending the last six years in Kinshasa, Daniel and Joseph returned home to Ndjoko Punda as “rebuilders.” While away from home, all their time was spent in preparation for their return. They furthered their education, faced many challenges, participated in a local church in Kinshasa, and waited patiently for God’s timing.

Today in Ndjoko Punda they quickly engaged with the people to help rebuild and restore the larger community. They assisted the church and community with ongoing projects and began additional projects.

Both young men are serving God with spiritual passion through their specific talents. Daniel has been trained in theology. He is gifted in areas of teaching and evangelism. Joseph has great technical skills and can fix about anything.

Sewing Class, 2 machines/40 women

At the present time, Daniel has focused on the establishment of a sewing school for the women of the community. The local hospital provided classroom space for the school.

Forty women from several area churches signed up. Some come as far as twenty kilometers away to attend the school. The wife of Ndjoko Punda’s medical doctor has the training and the skill to teach these sewing classes.

Hope for Congo purchased two sewing machines for the school. However, due to the response there is an immediate need for another eight machines.

Garden Beds Prepared

Joseph’s first job was to repair the hospital generator. Since he made it operational again it has provided electricity for the hospital. He helped to provide electricity to other community buildings, too.

Joseph also began an agronomy and animal husbandry program utilizing interested people. The photo on the left shows them preparing garden beds for planting. Seeds have been purchased, too. Goats and poultry have been obtained to begin the breeding program.

Daniel and Joseph are involved in the local church through music, teaching, and evangelism. Because these two young men represent the next generation of leadership they give the people hope for the future.

Guesthouse on the left. Entry road to the mission ends at the church. This road and several others are being repaired.

The children in the featured photo (at the top of this article) are carrying bricks to repair the guesthouse. A major storm damaged the outside walls. This guest house (formerly known as Dr. John Zook’s house) is being renovated to include a sewing classroom. Hope4Congo has contributed money towards the installation of windows and doors.

Hope4Congo will continue to provide periodic reports and updates on the progress being made at Ndjoko Punda. Your prayer and financial support have made this happen, and we encourage you to continue to support these two young men as well as Hope4Congo as we look to expand our efforts.

© 2018 Hope4Congo

Mangungu Repair Work, Part 2

Mangungu children carrying boards

We’re glad you joined us today for Part 2 of the recent activity at Mangungu carried out by David, Bud, Nelson, and Mark. This letter was written by Clement (Bud) Kroeker. Read Part 1 of Bud’s letter at this link.

Part 2

It was quite a challenge for David to organize the various crews of workers–the men from Matende as well as the volunteers from Mangungu. He gave responsibilities to some of the men who worked with him the past three trips and let them supervise the different construction sites. But he faced the problem of having too many volunteers, not enough tools, and not enough supervisors. So we decided to use one group to work on the stone house and another in the Health Center.

Three ladders (built on previous trips) came with us on the truck. Two others needed to be built plus the scaffolding. A crew of young men started digging the cistern for water. Another crew started digging a hole for the septic tank.

The shovels (made in China) that we had purchased in Kikwit were not sturdy enough and soon the handles were breaking one by one. But in true Congolese fashion, the men would quickly replace the handles with sturdy wooden branches or poles they cut down with their machetes to fit.

The electrical generator was installed under the huge mango tree and this was the wood-working shop. I found an old piece of concrete broken off of an ancient bath tub made by some missionary sixty years ago. This served as a chair for me. It became my director’s office. However, I didn’t spend much time there because bits of stone and concrete flew in every direction as the young men tried to straighten up the old walls and pour concrete on top of the door posts and windows to give added strength.

Nelson brought up sand from a spot near the river. It was very hard to drive down there with the truck in order to bring water. So we asked the children to each haul a quart of water on their heads when they come up in the morning. Gravel will probably have to be hauled up in the same way by the older fellows.

Mark with children at Matende

After the first day’s work we already saw the progress made: two huge holes dug, each around 6 feet in depth; half of the old tin roofing panels were taken off the Health Center and the walls were strengthened with concrete in the cracks, after putting in solid iron bars.

In the evening a parade passed by our house, everyone carried a board to take the entire stack of boards over to the school area where they would be protected. The big men each carried one board, the younger men each took one end of a board, and the children (sometimes as many as six under one board), carried it on their heads!

I had only a limited stock of Bibles with me on this trip, 50 in French and 50 in Kikongo — but I gave one copy to each pastor in the villages surrounding Mangungu. Everyone gathered under the mango tree for a meeting of gratitude, to sing and pray and express their thanks to God.

Our hearts were blessed to be able to live these moments of true worship and praise. If we didn’t accomplish anything else on this trip, it was worth the time and effort spent, just to have been in that meeting with others of God’s children!

Kikwit by the Kwilu River

Psalm 67
May God be gracious to us, and bless us
and make his face shine upon us;

so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.

May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.

May the nations be glad and sing for joy…
(verses 1 – 4)

With grateful hearts for your prayers for us in Congo,
Bud, Mark, David and Nelson

_________________________

What a joy it is to see the Congolese teamwork to accomplish a goal for the common good. If you wish to know more about Clement (Bud) Kroeker’s work visit his website: http://congoopenheart.org/projects/

© 2017 Hope4Congo

Mangungu Work, Part 1

Sandy roads leading to Mangungu

The following post is taken from a letter regarding recent repair activity at Mangungu. Four men made a trek there this summer. Part 1 of the letter from Clement (Bud) Kroeker follows:

July 12, 2017

Dear Friends,
First day in Mangungu. Our trip here took 5 hours with a one hour stop because of rain. Mangungu covers a vast area and the road coming in is barely visible among the tall grass and trees.

When we arrived in the evening, we were welcomed by a huge crowd of children singing and calling welcome. By then it was dark, but all the folks gathered for a big welcoming ceremony. The Pastor Mushifele Degaule had emptied his house to let us use it for our living quarters. But in the black of the night, inside and outside of the house, it’s very difficult to find anything at all. We just had to wait until the cock started crowing about 4:00 a.m. to have the light of day. People began strolling by to visit us at 5:00 a.m. and there was a constant gathering around our house all the time!

David, Bud, Nelson & Mark at Brussels Airport

Women cooked on an open fire outdoors in a tiny hut at the side of our house to provide us with meals. They cut the wood, boiled the water, and did everything from scratch. Down on the other side, the chickens walked around our court yard, looking for crumbs falling from our table or drinking the water from the basin on the ground where we washed our hands.

We started the day with a guided tour around the mission. The Pastor, our tour guide, explained each thing. The men who came with us from Matende were very astonished and touched to see the sad state of the buildings here. They didn’t realize it was so bad.

The Health Center is in ruins and can no longer even be called a Health Center. The Secondary School, which used to be a Bible Institute, has had a few tin roof panels stuck on, but the entire roof is open to the sky. The Church building consists of a few adobe bricks still standing that haven’t given in to the rain.

Finally we walked by the stone house we had come to rescue. After 60 years without a roof, the walls are still in better condition than all the other former buildings, at least they have fewer cracks in the walls. The folks here at Mangungu have emptied out all the trees and grass growing inside and around this stone house.

__________________

Join us next week for part 2 of their adventure. All repairs in Congo are an adventure in ingenuity.

Clement Kroeker’s website: http://congoopenheart.org/projects/

© 2017 Hope4Congo