I’m an advocate for not becoming overwhelmed by the amount of social justice needs in the world, and feeling like we can solve them all. I am also an advocate for being aware (and not apathetic) of what is going on in the world and supporting and praying for those on the front lines as you are able. So I wanted to pass along this update on what is going on in the Congo, sent by World Relief‘s Senior Vice President Amy Lucia, 1.) If you are unaware of the crisis there, you should know about it. And 2.) Once you know about it, please pray. If you or your church are unable to give financially, that is understandable, though maybe you are able to give, and that’d be great, but we all can pray. Amy does a great job of detailing the situation as well as what we can do about it, below:
It has been said that in the Democratic Republic of Congo you can find all of Africa’s problems. Failed national leadership. No rule of law. Tribal conflict and armed militias fuel rape, used as a weapon of war. Nine out of 10 women in Eastern Congo have been raped, one every 60 seconds. HIV/AIDS has permeated deeply into society. Child soldiers are used as proxies between more than 30 fighting forces. Mass displacement has become an epidemic, creating millions of refugees. Generations of Congo’s people have not known what it means to live in a time of peace. Five million have died due to violence since 1996. Many believe this to be the most overlooked conflict of all time—and perhaps the most overlooked crisis by the Global Church.
New fighting erupted this past week, displacing over 60,000. World Relief’s Congo Director reminds us:
“Pray for the most vulnerable on every side of this conflict who are perpetual victims of this violence. Pray that all who face these challenges today are comforted and given the courage to endure. As it says in Psalm 23, ‘Your rod and staff shall protect me’”.
With this in mind, would you please take a moment to stop and pray for the people and local churches in Congo? We know that the Church is strongest when she is on her knees.
In the midst of this great tragedy, there is hope—the local church.
Since 2001, World Relief has been working with the U.S. Church to equip and empower the Church in Congo. From resettling returning refugees, to rebuilding homes, to implementing agriculture training programs that feed communities, to raising up leaders to form peace-building committees, to forming microfinance and savings groups, to welcoming and caring for survivors of rape, the local church in Congo has been the true hope—an agent of healing and reconciliation in Congo!
As you know, God calls the Church to the hardest places to bear witness to His grace and mercy. So—with thousands served already—we resolve to continue our work in Congo until millions of lives are touched and peace is restored to hundreds of communities. The work is difficult and the danger is real, but God has showed up in miraculous ways already, and we have faith that He will continue to show up if the Church does.
On behalf of my colleagues and the local church in Congo, I’d like to invite you and your church to consider standing for Congo. Would you commit to 30 days of prayer and conversation to see if God may be calling your church to support the local church in Congo?
Practically, here are our needs:
• 5 Committed Church Partners: We are in search of 5 churches in the U.S. who feel called to partner with local churches in Congo—to walk together with us on a multi-year journey of love, prayer and restoration. With the support of churches here, Congolese churches can tackle injustice with the confidence that support will remain intact. And U.S. churches enjoy how relationships with Congolese Christians enrich discipleship in their own congregations. As World Relief Partners, U.S. churches provide various forms of support, while taking advantage of ministry trips, visits from field staff to their churches, personalized impact reports and more.
• 300 Committed Church Friends*: Churches who aren’t able to commit long-term, but are willing to commit to prayer and one-time gifts will help us address urgent needs in communities where the local church is desperate for immediate support. On our web site, you can find details about how your gift will be used and a list of ideas for how you might mobilize your congregation in this activity.
For more information, you can speak directly with James Misner, our Director of Church Partnership (jmisner@WR.org or 703.856.4821). As a former Missions Pastor, James is committed to helping churches align their calling to practical, integrated mission ministries of word and deed. You can also learn more at www.worldrelief.org/
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Author of Beyond the Battle: A man's guide to his identity in Christ in an oversexualized world
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