For a week, DR Congo echoed with riots and demonstrations over a controversial law-change its government was attempting to push through that would lengthen the unwanted tenure of DRC’s current President. In response to demonstrations, the government shut down internet connections across the country (just today being restored). Many claim this shutdown was to stop citizens from coordinating demonstrations and decrease the spread of news (including news of the government’s violent tactics to halt demonstrators).
Yet — hope continues and exciting things are to come!
For one, the gov’t was swayed and, to the surprise of many, shutdown the proposed law. Thus followed a dissipation of the demonstrations and a population’s cheers of victory.
Though riots were surged across city (and country), all children from EI’s Goma Care Center are safe and well. Praise God! The Lord answers prayers!
Finally, on Saturday, we were able to continue with plans and today we finished the training with 20 leaders and young peacemakers (almost half of the participants are former child soldiers who are graduates of our program). It’s BEAUTIFUL to see these men and woman and be reminded of what God is doing in DR Congo! They are currently leading, serving and restoring over 250 child war survivors and former child soldiers.
One of these young men, Bahati, graduated Exile’s program just 6 months ago and was reintegrated with his community. Since returning home, he has begun leading in one EI’s Village Peace Clubs AND has begun seeking out rebel soldiers (ones he once fought alongside) to teach them about conflict resolution and pursing a peaceful Congo! He’s preaching the good news of Christ and discipling them! These rebel soldiers are part of an armed group called FDLR. FDLR is currently one of the largest and most potentially destructive armed groups in DRC.
This young leader and peacemaker is meeting with a group of 10-15 rebels/soldiers 3 times/week! Bahati has become known in his community as the pastor to the rebels. Because of his former life as a rebel fighter, they have a sense of camaraderie with him and have been VERY receptive to learning from the message he brings.
During the training, Bahati shared a prayer request… that he would be able to take bibles to each of these soldiers. Today, he returned home with 10 new bibles in hand.
This is what it’s all about. Through what God has done and is actively doing in the lives of these young peacemakers… the fabric of DRC will be transformed.
Imagine this… What if these 250 former child soldiers, now young peacemakers each were to influence/lead 10-20 peers? Consider that butterfly effect, eh.
Someday, I believe we will see a peaceful DR Congo. A DRC with no reason to host 22,000 UN Peacekeepers, because thousands of Congolese peacemakers will influence and develop a radically different, transformed region.
Perhaps a president of DRC who will lead his country in justice and peace is already being cultivated by these men and women.
Would you join us in praying big? Would you join in pursuing a big vision? A transformed generation of war-affected children leading future generations to peace.
EI Director of Operations