A Call to Prayer for the Congo
A recent resurgence of violence against Tutsis living in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is directly affecting our church family—in particular, the many New Hope Revival members who have family and friends living in danger there. For example, Pastor Alexis’ sister had to flee her home as it was set ablaze, with her five children, into the surrounding forest. Along the way, she lost track of one of her children, but by God’s grace, all made it safely to refuge in a city called Minembwe.
The background of this current conflict is a grim story. The affected tribe lives in the South Kivu region of DRC, and has lived there for centuries. They are called Banyamulenge and are Kinyarwanda-speaking Tutsis. After the Genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994, Hutu perpetrators fled to DRC, and into South Kivu. They exported their vicious hatred against Tutsis to that region, inflaming the local surrounding tribes to go after the Banyamulenge and exterminate them, like “cockroaches.” There have already been two major Congo wars in that region, with this conflict at the center, and now another one has begun.
One spot of hope is in the city of Minembwe, where Alexis’ sister fled, the UN force called MONUSCO is stationed there to help during the conflict. They have managed to halt the attacks for now, but a great number of people have come for refuge, and are overflowing the city’s capacity to attend to their most basic needs.
What can be done? In discussion with Pastors Rich Leatherberry, John Kim, Alexis Ruhumuriza and Scott Dudley, we have identified three main areas of response: Healing/Reconciliation, Advocacy and Aid.
Will you join BelPres in prayer for healing and reconciliation? We believe God is raising us up to facilitate a movement that can bring lasting peace between the tribes. We have seen how members of different tribes can live in harmony together here, and also in the city of Minembwe. We want to expand that vision and encourage all involved to be reconciled to God, and then to each other (please see 2 Cor. 5:14-21).
Prayer Suggestions :
- That God will open more channels of the news, to raise awareness of the situation to the general public and key agencies.
- That the Banyamulenge will find comfort, as they seek solutions.
- That God will prevent further attacks and protect the families affected.
- That we will be able to send a small group to learn what we can on the ground and mobilize a support effort back here at Belpres.
- That God will be glorified as he carries out the ministry of reconciliation among all tribes.
We are still gathering information, which is notably lacking across media, and welcome help to establish contact with reliable journalists or news outlets. With more information, we can plan advocacy and determine where our voice is best represented.
We plan to send a small team into Congo to bring practical help, learn more about what’s happening, and begin to lay the foundation for a peace-building solution. As for aid, as soon as we identify reliable agencies on the ground, we stand ready, with members of New Hope, to provide help such as basic needs of food, water, shelter, and medical supplies.
Photo: Refugees in Minembwe receiving food sent from a community of Banyamulenge in Arizona