Pray with the Democratic Republic of Congo, October 23, 2022

Pray with the Democratic Republic of Congo, October 23, 2022

Lectionary Selection:  Luke 18:9-14

Prayers for the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Loving, Living God,

God, may we come to you
in humility and repentance,
ready to encounter you in love

At times, we see the suffering in the world, and we feel overwhelmed. 

We turn to you looking for signs of hope.

We entrust to you the population of Congo. Those who suffer from famine, from injustice, and those who have fled their homes because of the conflicts.  

When we see suffering in so many parts of the world, help us to find concrete ways of helping those who are in need and to do so humbly in your Way

You have given us assurance
that the prayers of those who suffer pierce the clouds,
and their cries reach the heavens.

Teach us to be wary of our complacency

Nothing can allow us to justify ourselves before God. None of our actions, no matter how good. It is in a face-to-face in truth, in this movement that goes deep within ourselves, without shadow or artifice, that we can explore our flaws and discover that we need another, need God, his love.

That’s when we can get up, stand up.

Our humility allows us to be raised up.   If we are raised, it is not to remain passive, but to stand before God, to face the world, and why not become one of those who seek to lift up others. 

And help us with as much honesty as possible
to love justice and to seek mercy,
We ask this through your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Mission Stewardship Moment from the Democratic Republic of the Congo

In the city of Goma in the Eastern province of North Kivu, the landscape has changed with new hills that were not there a year ago. In May 2021, the volcano Nyiragongo that overlooks Goma erupted, and thousands of families lost their homes and livelihood. New hills and mounds were formed by the lava that poured into the residential area. 

During a recent stay in Goma, I saw families trying to find approximately where their houses were before the eruption to start rebuilding. Many other families are still in tents and are still homeless. 

Not far away, there is a new population that has arrived. This time, it was not a natural disaster that drove families from their homes but rather human greed. A rebel group called M23, backed by the government of Rwanda, started a new offensive last June. Cities have been occupied, and thousands of families have been driven from their homes.

The Church of Christ in Congo and the Protestant service for development and diaconia (SEPRODDIA) have been searching for ways to support the families and the Protestant Churches in the area. Collects were made in the congregations countrywide, and partners such as Global Ministries have also contributed. One of the most important actions is prayer with services organized all over the country. 

My work in Goma was to help the team of the province of North ECC on the best way to use the resources that we were able to gather. The needs are tremendous. The families fled with clothes on their backs and lacked everything from food to clothing and even drinking water. There were many children that had health problems and young mothers with infants. More than 200,000 have fled the fighting. In the Goma area, the churches and the schools are used as shelters by more than 1800 families and 8000 persons. The families that had found shelter in schools during the vacation are now looking for other protection since the school year has started. Besides water, which is a necessity for everyone, we tried to determine criteria so that the most vulnerable would be helped. Thanks to the help of many, distributions were made to the families that were the most in need with cornflower, beans, water, cooking oil, blankets, hygienic supplies, and soap.

For the moment, there is no way of knowing when the fighting will end, allowing the families to return to their homes. The international community seems relatively indifferent without sanctions or pressure put on Rwanda. The population has even started protesting against the United Nation forces that they see only as “observers” and not protectors of the civilian population. After 30 years of conflict, it is easy to understand their frustration. The Democratic Republic of Congo is rich in cobalt, coltan, gold, and many other minerals. The Congo has the world’s largest reserves of cobalt and coltan. Cobalt is that precious mineral needed to develop batteries for electric vehicles and coltan for cell phones. In a very cynical way, the conflicts are useful to Congo’s neighbors, who continue the pillage its natural resources. All of the horrors the Congolese population has suffered have never been before the Justice, and the rapports such as the mapping from the United Nations that show the responsibility of its neighbors have seemingly been ignored. There is a drastic need to raise awareness. I was honored this week to meet Reverend Dr. Denis Mukwege, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018. Not only is he a minister in one of the communities of the ECC he is also a gynecologist in charge of the Panzi hospital, which treats women and children survivors of sexual violence. Rape is one of the “weapons” to drive families from their homes to better exploit the minerals. The work at the Panzi hospital involves physical, psychological, and spiritual healing. At the end of our meeting, he requested that we pray for the Congolese population.

Prayer and Mission Moment by Bryan Parrish

Mission Partners in the Democratic Republic of Congo

More about the Democratic Republic of Congo

Global Ministries Mission Co-worker in the Democratic Republic of the Congo:
Bryan Parrish serves with the Church of Christ in Congo. His appointment is made possible by gifts to the Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.
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