Congo Grief

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/sunday-review/congos-never-ending-war.html?_r=0

This is a sad article but one worth reading. Please pray for the Congo. With God, there is always hope!!!

 

Advertisements

Am I helpless to help?

I was reading an article the other day on the DRCongo and it gave me pause to think about why this country is in the state that it is in and why it isn’t getting the support that it needs and why we seem to have given it up as lost.

To quote the article:

“Yet the fact that Britain, the UN, Rwanda, the DRC government, the M23 and other parties directly or indirectly involved in this tragedy continue to act irresponsibly, or fail to act at all, is partly a result of the ignorance and indifference to Congo evident among public opinion in the developed world. In theory, the world cares, which is why the UN is there in strength. But for whatever reason, Congo does not register internationally as a cause or an issue. It is a stain on the global conscience that is largely ignored. For this lethal state of denial, all are to blame.”*

This makes it seem quite condemnatory but, taking a deeper look, I don’t believe it is that people and governments don’t want to help, rather I think it is that we feel powerless to help. Governments need the people in their countries to make it an issue before they feel they can step in. Individuals feel like the problems are too great for them. So where does that leave us?

Well, honestly, I have hope for that nation because of what God wants to do there. And there are already individuals seeking to make a difference in their nation. What impacted me about the DRC is the number of individuals of that nation, in that nation seeking to make a difference. They need us to come alongside them and help them in their work but it is such an encouragement to see the people say “we can’t wait for others to come and do the work for us, we need to lead the way”.

Application (what can I do?):

You can help! You can partner with that nation.

  • You can pray for them. You could become involved with a ministry.
  • You could get your school, church, workplace, social group, or sport’s team/club involved.
  • If you need help connecting with a ministry let me know (RedefinedMinistriesDRC@gmail.com)! I’ve met a range of people working in a range of areas.
  • And of course you can check out Redefined Ministries International, which I am a part of: http://australianmercy.org/redefined-congo/

*Below is the link to the article in full:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/19/agony-congo-drc

Redefined Ministries is moving forward.

Read the latest newsletter from Redefined Ministries International – DRC:

http://eepurl.com/or5w5

Please consider partnering with us:

http://www.youcaring.com/fundraiser_details?url=redefinedministriesinternationalofficeland&fundraiser_id=7398#.UCgJezfARpY.facebook

 

I hope to get new blogs out soon. Please excuse my lack of communication, which has been due to travel in DRCongo and Uganda with limited internet access, as well as limited time to sit down and write during this time in the field.

Did that Mountain just Move?

Are my eyes deceiving me? Did I see that mountain move? A little to the right, now a little to the left . . . I think I’m going crazy!

Could money have Mt Everest moved wholly from where it stands into the sea? I don’t think so. Can my God? Oh, yes, He can!

And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Matthew 21:21-22).

What would happen if we had such faith?

I worry about what people will think of me. What if I give up all I have to chase the dream God has laid on my heart? What if I do this and He doesn’t come through?

Oswald Chambers wrote:

“I may not understand what Jesus Christ says, but it is dangerous to say that therefore He was mistaken in what He said. It is never right to think that my obedience to a word of God will bring dishonour to Jesus. The only thing that will bring dishonour is not obeying Him . . .

“Many of us are loyal to our notions of Jesus Christ, but how many of us are loyal to Him? Loyalty to Jesus means I have to step out where I do not see anything (cf. Matt.  14:29); loyalty to my notions means that I clear the ground first by my intelligence. Faith is not intelligent understanding, faith is deliberate commitment to a Person where I see no way.”

Today we admire the prophets of the Old Testament. We see them as heroes of the faith. Their neighbours, however, mocked them, ridiculed them, beat them, killed them, spat at them . . .  They were persecuted for following the call of God.

God may call you to do crazy things. In fact, much of what He asks you to do won’t make sense at the time. Or the end goal will make sense but the path to the end remains a mystery. Don’t worry about the how – just take the first little step that you can see.

He does not shine a spot light right ahead; rather He lights only the section of path right in front of us with His lamp and asks us to trust Him to lead us safely.

As an example, take Redefined Ministries of the DRC, which we are currently seeking to set up. Last August I couldn’t see that I’d ever get the opportunity to go to the Congo. He was laying the nation on my heart but I could not see how it would eventuate. Now? I have visited the Congo, seen the potential places for the ministry, and we sit waiting for an arrival of money so that Innocent can take the registration documents in, and thus formally establish the ministry in the DRC. This is not by our hands – it is by God’s.

 Life is an adventure when you dance to God’s tune. He can do the impossible.

Step out in faith and trust Him to make your way straight.

So, to finish with Oswald Chambers:

Are you debating whether to take a step in faith in Jesus or to wait until you can see how to do the thing yourself? Obey Him with glad reckless joy. When He says something and you begin to debate, it is because you have a conception of His honour which is not His honour. Are you loyal to Jesus or loyal to your notion of Him? Are you loyal to what He says, or are you trying to compromise with conceptions which never came from Him? “Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it.”

DRCongo Adventure

This past week I returned to Uganda where I met up with Innocent again and together we made a dash to the DRC. The purpose of the trip was to further the progress in establishing a ministry in the DRC. Due to the shortness of time I had available plus some delays in Uganda, we ended up spending only 2 ½ days in the DRC – although it felt like 2 weeks! By God’s grace we accomplished all our objectives and some!

Region visited: North East, right on the boarder of Uganda

In the DRC we met up with Innocent’s Grandpa who at 80 years old is still striving to see progress in the DRC, is a leader in the community, and goes around on the back of a motorbike! The only ailment he complained of, on one occasion, was sore knees (and this after being on and off a motor bike for 2 days straight!). In addition, we went with 2 of his Grandpa’s associates from Medical Aid for Poverty Eradication (M.A.P.E) who doubled as drivers.

Our mode of transport was motorbikes; the best option over the (often poorly-kept) dirt roads. They enabled us to get from town to town and out to various land plots of interest. With John’s bike being temperamental at best, Innocent and I were left to share a bike, driven by a legendary kid called Phillip.

I was impressed in our travels with the hard work ethic of the people. Much of the picture painted is dim. We learnt that most are lucky if they eat one meal a day. The children lack school facilities and hospitals/ health clinics lack adequate medications. We watched school children carry bundles of green reeds to repair the thatch on the school buildings – and this on a Saturday! It certainly makes one appreciate their own school days more. School children also work the school gardens, bringing hoes and other equipment from home, and may also be expected to help harvest the coffee plots of their teachers. But there is a flip side to the coin!

As mentioned, the people are hard working. Part of the reason for the coffee business project we are working on is that whilst there are many established coffee plantations in this region of the DRC, the people lack transport to bring the coffee to market. People will carry bags of beans over 20+ kms to get them to market; they may use bicycles to help them or occasionally motorbikes. As you can guess, they cannot take much at a time and if they run into delays they may miss the market altogether, at which point most simply abandon their bags rather than cart them the day or two back home.

Farmers also lack education regarding the best methods of planting, harvesting and pruning. It is a fertile area and the climate is cool (yep – not all of Africa is scorching hot. I spent most of my time in a sweater).

What we hope to do is several fold. We want to start a coffee business which will trade in Congo coffee and also to begin a NGO in the DRC. I’ll give you a brief outline here; sorry about the briefness of it!

Coffee Business:
The business will have local, small storehouse where farmers can bring their beans to rather than try and get it long distances to the markets. We hope to have a processing plant and a main central storehouse. The idea is that the business will eventually support the ministry but will also be a ministry in itself. Innocent’s Grandpa has 3 agricultural scientists who we wish to employ to provide local farmers with training in how to best maintain and care for their coffee plantations. We also hope to provide education to women and equip them to manage small plantations. The business will create vocational opportunities in the DRC and locals will be employed and trained in all sectors. Again, the ag scientists will be utilised to upskill the workers.

Ministry:
Our main heart at this time is for the women and children of the DRC. We want to help provide vocational opportunities for the women and also counselling. We hope to expand Soldiers of Christ (the ministry in Gulu, Uganda, working with ex-children soldiers) in to the DRC to support children affected by war.

This is a massive project and I’m sorry that I have only lightly touched on all our plans here. There will be more coming! If you have networks or suggestions they will be most welcome! It is exciting to see how God progresses this in the coming months and years!


Finally … some quirks and mini adventures:

• My cold had its up sides – I couldn’t smell the latrines, the child behind us vomiting on a 6 hour bus ride and what I am sure was a none too pleasant aroma wafting from my person after the days in the field.
• Going 3 people and 4 bags on a dirt bike – for several hours at a time!
• Forgetting cultural differences, I arrived in Uganda budgeting for 1 and ended up paying for 6! But it was worth it. Traveling in convey with Innocent’s Grandpa and 2 others from his NGO (non-government organisation) was a blessing. They opened doors and introduced us to many influential people. They didn’t have the personal finances to come on the trip out of their own pocket but their contribution was invaluable!
• Lost John, one of the drivers/ M.A.P.E representatives, overnight when his motorbike broke down again. Apparently his horn doesn’t work either and so driving at the back we weren’t sure when we lost him (phone reception was also non-existent)! The poor man pushed his bike through the night to reach the hotel where we were staying.