Pray with the Democratic Republic of Congo, October 15, 2023
Lectionary Selection: Philippians 4:1-9
Prayers for the Democratic Republic of Congo
Dear God of Peace,
Dear God of all that is noble, just, pure and beautiful,
We rejoice. We always rejoice, even though we lack not reason for tears.
We thank you for the beauty surrounding us here in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The forests, the magnificent landscapes, the mighty animals, and the noble population make a beautiful country.
Thank you, God, for those who strive for peace and justice.
We are amazed by the beauty and all that is noble, but we are not blind to the suffering surrounding us.
Through our prayers, let us relieve our hearts of all that torments them and find peace.
We pray for those who suffer from wars and conflicts and must flee their homes and live in poverty and strife.
We pray for the victims of senseless violence in North Kivu, Ituri, and Mai-Ndombe et Kwamouth. Give strength and wisdom to those who seek solutions for the conflict and who struggle to maintain unity.
We pray for those who have been hardest hit by the rising cost of living with the value of the Congolese franc plummeting. We pray for the population in Kalehe in South Kivu who are still suffering from the flooding and landslides of last May.
We pray that the upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo will be fair and transparent. We pray that whatever the results, the country will not be again scared by violence.
We pray for those seeking ways to protect the valuable rainforest from destruction.
Dear Lord, despite the numerous problems and catastrophes, we rejoice because we know that you hear our prayers. We rejoice always.
Mission Moment from the Democratic Republic of Congo:
Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians reminded me of the tribal conflict between the Tekes and the Yakas. In this passage, we discover Evodi and Syntyche, two Christians who are obviously in conflict. Their conflict disrupts and disturbs everyone around them. Paul implores and even begs them to put aside their differences and make peace from his prison cell in Rome.
The conflict between the Yaka and the Teke started over a year ago. Like Evodi and Syntyche, they are almost exclusively Christians. The conflict has affected not only the population but also the Church. Schools and medical centers from communities of the Church of Christ in Congo (ECC) have been burned. Ministers and their families have been forced to flee their villages and congregations. Youth who grew up in the same congregation have joined opposite militias. Thousands have left their homes and live in permanent insecurity. Of course, the conflict between the Yaka and the Teke is on a much larger scale than Evodi and Syntyche, with hundreds of violent deaths. But the need for understanding and dialogue are just as important.
The Protestant Development Service and Diaconia (SEPRODDIA in French) began by surveying the displaced population to understand the conflict. More than 150 people participated in the survey, including 40% Teke, 30% Yaka, and 30% other tribes. Interestingly, the tribes have lived in harmony for generations, and most of the people surveyed had a positive view of the other tribe before the conflict began.
Looking for paths for better mutual understanding, SEPRODDIA works with an organization called the Civil Service for Peace. Last month, SEPRODDIA organized a workshop with a conflict resolution expert from Bread for the World to initiate dialogue between the Tekes and the Yakas leaders. Thirty leaders, which included tribal chiefs and ministers who had fled the conflict, participated in the workshop with an equal number of participants from each tribe. At the end of the workshop, the general impression was that the two parties were more acquainted with each other, compared to their first meeting, where it was feared that the two protagonists would get into an altercation during discussions.
We hope that the climate of mutual trust established during the workshop can be taken to another level in the region and that the Church of Christ in Congo can play a role in their healing process.
Prayer and Mission Moment written by Rev. Bryan Parrish
Mission Co-worker in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Church of Christ in Congo/SEPRODDIA (Protestant service of Development and Diakonia)
Mission Partners in the Democratic Republic of Congo
- Church of Christ in Congo
- Congo Protestant University – Kinshasa
- Community of Disciples of Christ in Congo
Global Ministries Mission Co-worker in the Democratic Republic Of Congo:
Bryan Parrish serves with the Church of Christ in Congo. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts. Make a gift that supports the work of Bryan Parrish