Congo Daily Life, Part 1

For the next three weeks Hope4Congo will share a series of stories
from Brad’s most recent trip to the DRC.

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Daily Life in Congo means: Hunger, Malnourishment, and Suffering

In March 2019 I visited the provincial capital, Tshikapa, in the Kasai province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This area was deeply affected by the Kamwina Nsafu uprising. Many people fled for their lives during that time. They left the area and/or went into hiding.

Southern Kasai region’s massacres and mass graves of 2017 have given way to general insecurity. Personal safety concerns remain after two years of poor harvests – hunger and malnourishment. The suffering and pain was palpable as I moved about this region.

I had been to Tshikapa on several occasions in the past but this time was different. Things were tense. People were living on the edge.

Over the next weeks I want to share three stories from my time there in an effort to make us more aware of what life is like for many in Congo as well as other countries where there is extreme political unrest among societies mired in poverty.

During breakfast with our host at Tshikapa, he introduced us to a small girl. She was about seven or eight years old. Scars around both wrists of her crippled hands suggested some type of injury.

My host told me her story. She and her younger sister were at home with their parents when some militia entered their home and fired on the family to kill them. In her terror and fear she hid behind her mother and wrapped her arms around her mother’s waist.

Her father and mother fell to the ground. Terrified and crying, this girl and her little sister ran from their hut through the village. Someone reached out to them to ask what the problem was. They told this person they had been attacked and their parents had been killed by the militia.

This person took the children under her care. She learned that the father had been killed, but the mother survived unharmed. The daughter had saved her mother’s life when she wrapped her arms around her mother’s waist.

The bullets intended for her mother struck this girl in both wrists. The emotional and physical scars may never be fully healed unless someone can reach out to this child and her family to provide the spiritual counseling and care most desperately needed.

Please pray for this dear family. Pray for their spiritual and emotional healing.

© 2019 Hope4Congo

Kasai Violence Displaces Children

DR Congo Kasai violence displaces 850,000 children

An estimated 850,000 children have been forced to flee fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kasai provinces, the UN’s children’s agency Unicef reported in July.

This makes it one of the world’s “largest displacement crises” for children.

Many of the affected children are now in foster care or with relatives.

Fighting broke out in Kasai in August 2016 after a traditional leader was killed in clashes with security forces.

It has since escalated leaving more than 3,000 people dead. The UN has also discovered dozens of mass graves in the area.

In all, 1.4 million people have had to leave their homes “with 60,000 uprooted in June alone,” says Unicef’s acting head in DR Congo Tajudeen Oyewale.

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This area is in the heart of where Hope4Congo focuses our work.

Prayer Requests:
• Please pray for an end to the violence in DRC
• Please pray for these precious children
• Please pray for the needs (physical, spiritual, emotional) of all Congolese

© 2017 Hope4Congo

What Does That Mean?

What Does That Mean?
by Brad Graber

Someone has asked me to explain what I mean when I use the phrase,
Put your yes on the table and let God put it on the map.

I first heard the phrase from Ed Stetzer, Executive Director for the Billy Graham center in Wheaton. I am not sure where it originated. However, it has stuck with me because I think it encapsulates the essence of discipleship. Let me explain.

What Table?
The term table is designed to conjure in one’s mind the idea of a conference table.
It refers to a place where ideas are discussed, challenges presented, and decisions made.
When something is on the table, it’s an option, an opportunity, something that could be negotiated.
However, one has not said, yes or no to an offer yet.

What does Put (it) on the Table mean?
To put (something) on the table means it is on display for everyone to see.
It is the opposite of under the table, which usually refers to something that is covert or unlawful.

What does my Yes on the Table say?
It says, “You can count me in.” Or, “I’m in agreement. I’m ready for the challenge, ready to take the risk and ready to participate.”

Typically we like to be sure of something before we do it. We want to know ahead of time what to expect. After all, isn’t good planning prudent? We want to make our plans and decide instead of agreeing to whatever.

However, sometimes God calls us to obey without giving us all the details. Sometimes He asks us to agree with Him before we know His whole plan. That can be quite unsettling for sure.

Then how do we: Let God Put it On the Map?
Mother Teresa is a good example. At the age of eighteen, she said, “Yes,” and allowed God to put it on the map. Her yes is reflected in a prayer request she sent to a spiritual confidant:

“(Pray) that I let Him (God) have a free hand.”

Thus began Mother Teresa’s journey. Eventually God led her to Calcutta, India where she gave wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor.

Are we confident in God? Can we trust Him to orchestrate everything toward something good, beautiful, and beyond what we could ever ask or imagine? The ultimate yes, is committing to God without knowing the specifics, without knowing what He will ask of us.

So what is the Map?
A map speaks of location. However, it can also refer to clarity, direction, arrangement, order, or assignment.

With God we may not always be able to make out the plan or make sense of the plan, but we can trust Him. Why? God delights in the details of our lives. God has promised, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

My brother and I have said yes to God without knowing where it will finally take us. Hope for Congo was born out of our yes. I don’t know what God has in mind. I don’t know how He wants to use our commitment to shape our lives and the lives of others, but I do know that the outcome of this journey is totally in His hands.

I invite you to . . .
Put your yes on the table and let God put it on the map.

When you do . . .
things will happen.

It’s an exciting and fulfilling way to live.

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Thank you for the challenge, Brad.

News from Congo: The tribal conflict has claimed more lives. The enemy of our souls is at work.

Charles Buller reported: “Please pray for Adolphine, a dear sister who I got to know well during my last trip to Congo. She serves as the ‘Mama Presidente’ of women for the CMCo family of churches, and attended the AIMM-sponsored literacy training at the same time that I was in Kinshasa this past April. Adolphine, whose husband passed away some time ago, has since been supported in part by her younger brother who has managed a small farm in a village called Inga some 40 miles from Tshikapa. Adophine just found out that her brother, his wife and children, along with other family members were all slaughtered – caught in the tribal conflict going on in the Kasai Region. When I called her yesterday, we ended up weeping together over the phone for nearly an hour. She is broken to the core.”

Prayer Requests:
• Please pray against the evil and for an end to the deceptions, which lead to violence.
• Please pray for God to raise up wise and godly leaders who find favor in the eyes of all Congolese.
• Please pray for the people to receive Christ’s grace and strength to forgive.

© 2017 Hope4Congo

Summer Posting Schedule

This is Hope4Congo’s last post for May.

As in the past, Hope4Congo will return to our summer posting schedule for 2017. We will post twice per month in June, July, and August unless there is a pressing need to post more frequently.

Look for posts on Thursdays: June 8th & 22nd, July 6th & 20th, and August 10th & 24th. Until the next post, please consider the prayer requests below as ongoing concerns.

Prayer Requests:
• Please continue to pray for peace in Congo. The unrest caused by the political turmoil is stretching relationships and rekindling ancient tribal issues even among Christians.
• Pray for wisdom regarding all ministry efforts.
• Pray that God would impress the hearts of those He wants to be involved in ministry to Congo
– through prayer
– through finances
– through short term mission trips

Please join us June 8th for our post on the Nehemiah Project.

© 2017 Hope4Congo

Dedicated to the People of Congo

This week’s blog post honors Michael Sharp and all the other Christians (missionaries and nationals) who have lost their lives laboring for the people of Congo.

We also honor Zaida Catalan (Michael’s fellow UN worker) and Betu Tshintela (their Congolese interpreter) who shared the same grave with Michael.

It is believed the three died because of their work to bring peace and justice to the people of Congo.

Please read the link for more insight into Michael’s life, motivation, and work: http://mennoworld.org/2017/03/29/news/sharp-pursued-peace-around-the-globe/

Urgent Prayer Requests

  • Negotiations have broken down. The violence has increased for civilians including children, especially in south central Congo’s Kasai region which is home to many Mennonite congregations. Please pray for the people of the Kasai region. The situation is critical.
  • Pray for an end to the violence and greed. Only God can bring the balance of justice and grace that are so desperately needed.
  • Pray for the safety of those whose God-given work takes them into dangerous areas. May our Lord Jesus who made blind eyes see, make the seeing eyes blind of any who seek to do evil to His servants.
  • Pray that these recent deaths are not in vain. As God brought good out of the evil Joseph’s brothers intended for him, so may God bring good out of this situation. (Genesis 50:20)

Please pray with us.

© 2017 Hope4Congo

 

 

 

 

 

Sad News

Last week we sent out an Urgent Prayer Request for the safety and release of six kidnapped victims. If you did not read that you may use the link above to do so.

Today we received the following news:

Two Caucasian bodies have been found in shallow graves in the search area, one male and one female. Since no other Caucasians have been reported missing in the region, there is a high probability that these are the bodies of the American, Michael Sharp and the Swede, Zaida Catalán.

Dental records and DNA samples will be used to confirm the identities. This will take some time.

Please pray for Michael’s and Zaida’s families.

Please pray for peace in Congo.

© 2017 Hope4Congo