This is a blog from Bethany on her recent trip to Democratic Republic of Congo:
At the foot of a volcano. Underneath a mosquito net. Surrounded by strength. In the heart of darkness.
“Welcome Home” Jeanette said to me this morning.
Her smile lights up the room. Short but Assured. She is not afraid to ask tough questions or rub against the grain. Not for these children.
“We are risking our lives by being there”
Can’t really go into the story behind that statement today. But it hit me hard. Realization can be a punch in the stomach – especially when you realize the reality of another is your worst nightmare. A reality that they live. A reality they are so used to living that it seems normal to them. “This is Congo” I hear that so much.
Remembering the stories Quincee and Alaina brought back with them from their work with the girls just a few weeks ago. Stories of rapes so severe that the scars from several surgeries will never let them forget. Not that they could. At ten. Ten.
The electricity just went out. I kinda like it when that happens. Things seem to get quiet. So I sit here in darkness with a flashlight and the screen of my computer (very limited internet here). Stomach growling, but not caring. I am remembering the little one on my lap this morning in devotions at HEAL Africa. She was around 3 years old. She held her hands out to me as soon as I came into the room. Her eyes were brave and unaware. Unaware of her surroundings. Her surroundings of about 30 staff at the hospital and 70 patients singing praises to God, clapping, dancing. Many were beautiful women on crutches. Crutches because they have been raped to the degree that they cannot walk.
This is their reality.
But so is their strength. They have such a depth of knowledge of a God who comforts and a tenaciousness that would put a war lord to shame.
“Last week I gave up one weeks pay to see that all of the street children in Goma came to the hospital on Saturday for Sunday School. There were 600. They danced and sang and prayed” Dr. Joe Luci, founder of HEAL Africa, last night at dinner. His answer to peace in Congo?
Sunday school for the youngest street children. Every week.
“It will change everything”
Hmmmm. You have to start somewhere. With a problem so massive – you have to start with the youngest child. The reason we want to reach these tiny hearts is the same reason they are abducted at young ages and abused. Because they are vulnerable and moldable and teachable. And they have the Love and Peace within them that could change a nation. I believe that. Someone needs to. Sometimes all someone really needs is someone to believe in them. So we do.
Listening to Shawn McDonald sing “Halleluiah” now before bed.
Blessed are the Merciful for they will be shown Mercy
Blessed are the Pure in Heart for they will SEE God Almighty
Blessed are the Peacemakers for they will be called
“Lala Salama” My new favorite Swahili words
Father God, I pray simply for your Shadow to shine down on this place. That you sprinkle the peace that only you can create and only you can understand over this land. That you create newness in this nation through your children. Honored to serve. I am