What an incredible year! Full of overcoming tragedy, defying the odds, and renewed life for thousands! This has been a year of triumph and tears — happy tears and sad tears.
In 2021, Exile program teams and beneficiaries overcame a volcano eruption, two waves of COVID (with strict lockdowns), and significant safety concerns.
Rather than saying, “This is too much. We need to step away,” Exile teams in Congo, Uganda, and America have consistently said: “We are digging in our heels deeper. Our God is faithful, and these children are worth it!” Their commitment is unfailing and inspiring!
The repeated theme of 2021 has been: “God will make a way.”
On May 22nd, we feared for the lives of our teams, children, and the thousands in the path of the volcano eruption. Once again, those we loved were in the path of destruction. As the earth quaked and lava raced towards the city — destroying everything in its way — we had only our knees and our heart cries. So we knelt and we cried out to our Father who has the promise to hear us. And we waited, trusting only in Him.
When it was all over, one of our leaders in Goma sent this message: “The lava just stopped! There wasn’t a wall that stopped the lava. There wasn’t a building or structure that stopped the lava… God did it. He just stopped it!” The lava flow had stopped at the very edge of the city… sparing hundreds of thousands of people from its devastation.
Not only did we see the mercy and power of the Lord… we felt the love of Christ.
Amid this destruction, Exile’s teams were strengthened and encouraged to know that so many partners, such as yourself, were standing with them in prayer and generously giving to provide emergency relief. Thank you for you demonstrating such love and compassion.
This year has, yet again, taught us to trust God. Reminding us that He is walking beside us. Holding our hands when we fear the worst. And weeping with us when our greatest heartaches become realities. As Joseph, Exile Congo’s Country Director, has said:
“We trust Jesus even when we do not understand.” — Joseph
Why? Because he has shown Himself trustworthy! Time and time again. Look at what God, you, and Exile teams did together this year! It’s remarkable… so buckle up!
Less than a day after the volcano erupted, Exile teams were in the hardest-hit areas delivering emergency supplies and food — even before they were able to secure funds for their own food. Working quickly, Exile’s Volcano Relief Plan was put in motion. And almost immediately after we began sharing the needs, you showed up in the BIGGEST ways.
Because you said yes when disaster struck:
- 560 families provided food, water, and essential supplies just days after the eruption.
- 17,000 meals were provided to families displaced by the volcano.
- 6 homes built for youth in Exile’s programs and their families — families’ whose homes had been destroyed by the lava.
And it does not stop there because we haven’t even begun to talk about the transformational care happening in 44 communities in DR Congo and Uganda. God is redeeming, restoring, and renewing communities and thousands of families. And YOU are a part of this story. What story? God’s story of redemption. Seen all around us if only we open our eyes. And seen in the lives of nearly 7,000 child survivors of war who have experienced the life-changing, Christ-centered care needed to overcome and to thrive!
With your help, Exile International remains on the front lines — stepping into stories of healing, hope, and redemption.
Now let’s celebrate more good news!
- 2,587 children — restored and empowered through art-focused trauma care, discipleship, peacebuilding, leadership development, and much more
- 35 of 44 rehabilitative care programs led by program graduates/former child soldiers — replicating the care that changed their lives and giving healing to other war-affected youth in their communities
- 265 African teammates expertly leading Exile programs daily and caring for each child as if they were their own!
- 200,000+ counseling sessions led by trained trauma counselors providing a safe place for children to heal the wounds of war… fostering healing and hope
- 160,000 meals — nourishing bodies so that minds and spirits can thrive!
Thank you for investing in this work of restoration with us!
We are continually amazed by the strength of our African teammates and the resilience of child survivors of war. The longer we do this work, the more we realize America may not be the ultimate superpower. Those who experience suffering have a perspective, a spiritual wealth, and a greater faith than any other power — they have a sacred vision.
Our Congolese and Uganda friends are resilient, beautiful, and joy-filled. They worship in the face of war and dance in the shadow of disasters. They always rise again. May they continue to be our teachers.
Grace and Peace,
Bethany & Matthew Williams
co-CEOs of Exile International