DISCLAIMER: THIS IS A BIT GRAPHIC. Imagine for a moment that you are a young child in a Congolese family in northeastern D.R. Congo. Night has fallen on your jungle village. As you lay in your bed about to drift to sleep your are jolted awake. The sound of gunfire rips through your village. Moments later you hear a chorus of screaming. Panic barely has time to set in before the door to your mud hut is broken down. You watch in terror as a gunman kills your parents with an automatic rifle. He turns to you and drags you kicking and screaming from your bed and off into the night. Through your tears you look back to see the thatched roofs of a dozen huts ablaze. It is the last you will ever see of your family or your home. If you are a boy, you will soon be given a rifle, expected to kill, and then be told that no one could ever love you anymore. If you are a girl, you will soon be stripped, beaten, and raped beginning your new life as an indentured “wife” to a rebel soldier.
It’s pretty painful just to think about such a situation! Sadly, for many Congolese children, this isn’t a figment of their imagination–it’s a horror story that they are living out day after day, year after year.
Stephanie and I recently attended a screening of Invisible Children‘s Tony. The film is being shown as part of their Congo Tour to raise awareness and support for the children who are victims of Africa’s longest running war. The violence is being carried out by the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel group that has it’s roots as an anti-Ugandan government movement. US Congressional findings estimate that the war has left nearly 2 million people displaced and that over 66,000 children have been forced to fight as child soldiers. It saddens me–even enrages me–to think that this can happen! How could anyone ever do this to their fellow human beings…and think that they are doing God’s will while they do it?!
When we mention that we are going to Congo, people often ask Stephanie and I if we are afraid to go there. One of the things MAF does is to help provide relief to victims of LRA violence, and there have been times where fighting has directly affected the operation of our program in eastern Congo. However, Bunia, where we will live, is a relatively safe city which is also home to a UN base. Most of the attacks take place in more remote areas. Even so, I can’t help but think that maybe people don’t see past our safety to the problems that lie beyond; there are people in Congo that need the good news of Jesus Christ and who need to be shown love. This is why we’re going to serve with MAF. How can we choose to disobey God in exchange for a little more security? If you’d like to join us in this ministry, please see our Partnership page for ways you can help.