Thursday, November 12, 2009


Where is God in the Congo?

Sixty-seven men women and children murdered by Congolese soldiers as they stood in line to be vaccinated against measles.

Where is God in the Congo?

Seventy to 100 women raped each day in northeast Congo by soldiers, rebels, and civilians.

Where is God in the Congo?

Even when hostilities between rebels and soldiers are at a lull, the raping persists, now by civilians encouraged by the atmosphere of impunity that has spread across the provinces of Maniema, North Kivu, South Kivu, Equateur and Ituri Territory.

Where is God in the Congo?

The prison authorities release four rapists who have served only a few months of their prison terms of six or more years.

Where is God in the Congo?

A child at Heal Africa hospital is recovering from his injuries, but he is in danger of starving to death because the Hospital is unable to provide food and he has no relatives to bring food to him.

Where is God in the Congo?

A young man with a huge baseball sized abscess on his leg screams in pain as the doctor lances it without anesthetic because a layer of bureaucracy and inefficiency bars access to the store of drugs locked away in a cabinet.

Where is God in the Congo?

The micro-finance bakery at Grounds of Hope, a home for women with traumatic fistulae that could not be repaired, fails because the men and women of the surrounding village will not buy bread baked by “unclean women.” The women will starve without donations of food from various organizations.

Where is God in the Congo?

A husband is shamed when his wife is raped. He throws her out of the family home; the community rejects her as well. She is blamed and punished for the rape, doubly victimized, yet she is absolutely innocent of any wrongdoing.

Where is God in the Congo?

Corruption abounds at all levels—from elected officials down the ranks to the judges, police, soldiers, customs officials and wherever someone with authority can withhold his needed services until the “honorarium” is paid. Pay is so low and so sporadic that such practices are necessary if one is to eat, to provide for his family.

Where is God in the Congo?

It can be tempting to write off the Congo as a hopeless and Godless place.

Yet consider:

A group of volunteers, women from a Church in California, wash the feet and give pedicures to women prisoners who were raped when men prisoners in the same prison broke into their quarters and assaulted them viciously. Yet another group of women from Australia washed the feet and painted the nails of women at a home for widows. The joy, delight and giggles of these Congolese women upon receiving these simple gestures of love and caring were uplifting and heartwarming.

Volunteer nurses reach into their own pocketbooks to buy food from the little boy who has no relatives to bring him food at the hospital, which can heal but not feed him.

Doctor Chris, a pediatrician, quits his job and travels to Goma to care for children and babies at Heal Africa. His pay is the joy of saving young lives. His burden is breaking the news to a mother whose baby could not be saved and taking her into his arms to comfort her.

Think about the tireless efforts of Joe and Lyn Lusi, who created Heal Africa and for decades have struggled against innumerable obstacles and frustrations in order to bring medical services, education, opportunity and hope to thousands of men, women and children.

Over the years there have been hundreds and hundreds of volunteers of nearly all professions and trades who have donated their services to help the people of the Congo--doctors, nurses, physical therapists, IT technicians, nutritionists, educators, civil engineers to name just a few.

Pascal and Christine take homeless children off the street, feed them a hearty meal each day, and teach them sewing, carpentry, and auto mechanics so that they can live by means other than stealing, begging and scavenging. (See blog of Camme)

Maurice in Bukavu is the executive director of Heirs of Justice, a program offering legal services and education to the people of South Kivu. His newsletter challenges the corruption, crimes and inefficiency of government officials. His predecessor was assassinated, yet Maurice labors courageously on.

Richard travels on a moto hundreds of kilometers through muddy jungle roads and trails in order to share the legal and practical reasons for according equality and opportunity to women. His wife, left at home with two small children for weeks at a time, bravely encourages him, yet she fears for his safety and prays for his safe return.

Dozens of women who have received one, two, three or more fistula repair operations pack the chapel at Heal Africa each Sunday and joyfully praise God. Churches throughout the Congo resound with song, praise and thanks for what they have, little as it is.

Yes, you can look and see nothing but evil and darkness in the Congo. But when you take a closer look, when you work and worship with Congolese men and women, when you join them for a meal, when you discuss with them their hopes and efforts to create a better Congo, you discover that God is at work in the heart of the Congo.

1 comment:

  1. Kerry! Hi! Thank you for this insightful summary Are you happy for me to use excerpts of it in a powerpoint presentation I will use for some talks at churches, etc?!
    Our mission now is to make Australians aware of the Congo situatio and raise support from here for Heal Africa's work. We are encouraged already that Aussies are ready to respond.
    Thank you for all your great work. Prayers that it will bear fruit.

    Phil Arnold CNEC Melbourne