Democratic Republic of the Congo
Please pray for The Bethany Children's Trust and our local partner LVLE in Goma, DR Congo. It is common for children in DRC to be accused of witchcraft if something goes wrong in their family or community, and to face awful abuse as a consequence. In the wake of Covid-19, the numbers of these accusations have increased. LVLE has built relationships with numerous churches, gently challenging the misguided beliefs that lead to children being labelled as 'witches'. Pray for God's favour on LVLE's efforts, and for churches who are grappling with child witch accusations in their communities.
CMS local partner Bisoke Balikenga is a provincial youth worker who offers counselling and reconciliation for displaced people in Bunia and runs a peace centre for abused women. He writes that 56 women at the peace centre who were unable to attend school, have now learned to read and write and want Bibles so they can build up their faith. Pray for Bibles for these women, and for each of these women to find God’s peace through their time at the centre.
Please pray for those in Eastern DRC today, as coronavirus cases are rapidly increasing there. Panzi Hospital in Bukavu has recently received a shipment of testing kits and PPE, ready to handle any influx of patients with suspected Covid-19. Ask the Lord to protect and shield the nation of DRC, where medical infrastructure is insufficient for a pandemic on this scale.
Give thanks that God has enabled our partners to respond swiftly to the Covid-19 pandemic. Let’s especially thank him for LVLE’s initiative, setting up public handwashing stations in Goma. The initiative is the outcome of a remarkable and unexpected collaboration between LVLE, civic authorities, local residents and street-living children – please pray for strong communication and positive relationships. And let’s pray that God will extend this work and use it to save lives.
Praise God for the expertise of HEAL Africa staff in treating Shabani, a boy with life-threatening burns. Thank God that the hospital’s Mercy Fund meant that he could get the treatment he urgently needed, free of charge. Pray he would be recovering well from his operation.
Patients at the HEAL* Africa hospital in the DRC are some of the most vulnerable people in a country devastated by ongoing conflict and poverty. Illness and injury often come with psychological trauma from violence, abuse or neglect. As part of their holistic approach, the hospital has chaplains who provide additional care and spiritual support for patients. Pray that God would bring healing and restoration to the broken hearts and traumatised minds of those in need through these chaplains. Give thanks that they have been able to make significant interventions to help communities understand and trust the international community as they provide vaccinations against the Ebola Virus. *HEAL is Health, Education, Action and Leadership.
Please pray for the people of DRC who are experiencing the second largest Ebola epidemic in the world. Over 3,200 cases have been reported, leading to 2,150 deaths and just over 1,000 survivors. The disease not only poses a risk to those in DRC, but in neighbouring countries too, where steps are in place to prevent the spread of this deadly disease. Pray for all the health workers on the ground from WHO and other NGOs who are assisting in the response efforts.
A translation team’s village was attacked by rebels, so they fled to another village. The team is safe, but others were kidnapped to carry off goods that were stolen. Some villagers have been released, but not all. Some homes were damaged, but the translation office was unaffected. The people need to know God’s love and care at this time. Pray that they will know when it may be safe to return and for courage for the team to continue with Bible translation.
Ebola continues to spread in DRC. As of December 2018, there have been nearly 500 confirmed cases and 285 lives lost. Malaria has also begun spreading in the same areas. Pray for the medical NGO teams working to treat the sick and contain the spread of the diseases through public health campaigns. Pray especially for the people in North Kivu Province, where the current Ebola outbreak is centred, and where more than a million people have been displaced by ongoing conflict. Pray for healing, comfort and strength for families touched by the disease and an end to the outbreak.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has a history of violence which unfortunately continues to affect men, women and children of the Kasai provinces. According to UN sources there are now 1.4 million internally displaced people. MAF has been involved by offering logistics support and flight operations from Kinshasa Ndolo airport working mostly with health sector NGOs and other humanitarian agencies to be a part of the coordination efforts in the Kasai region. Pray for the people affected by the violence and for God’s peace, salvation and love to flood the people of the DRC.
A woman who listens to Radio Kahuzi in DRC told the station that her father had nine wives, which is a common custom. But one day he heard Radio Kahuzi playing when a pastor was speaking about marriage and the special relationship between husband and wife, like Christ and the Church. The father started listening to the broadcasts, and eventually accepted the Lord as His personal Saviour. He then decided to give his extra wives their liberty to be free of his illegal marriage bonds, and if they chose that path, he would give them some cows and money to help them get started in their new lives. He also shared the gospel with them all, and they each put their trust in Jesus. Today this man is a pastor. Pray for more lives to be turned around through Christian broadcasting in the DRC.
Girls living on the streets of Lubumbashi have a new place where they can go for safety, education and a chance to be reunited with their families. This is thanks to the Kimbilio project, which opened a transit house this summer for vulnerable girls. Kimbilio originally opened as a refuge for street boys in 2009 and grew to comprise a day centre, a boys’ transit house and another house for boys who cannot return to their families. In the last year, girls have been turning up at the day centre to have breakfast, wash their clothes and hear a message about Jesus. So a plot of land was purchased to build them a transit house, too. While at the transit house, girls have the opportunity to improve their literacy and take sewing classes.
“May God bring reconciliation between the rebels and the government of DR Congo so that the war can finish definitively and the displaced people may return home." That is the plea of two Bishops from DR Congo who have been visiting the UK to highlight the plight of people caught up in the violence and conflict in the eastern part of their country - which has been ongoing for at least 20 years. Bishop Bahati said: "Pray for peace in DR Congo; pray for the church's mission in Congo and pray for the suffering of the people. We need to pray also for good leadership of our government and we need prayer for the work of the mission of the church because God calls us to go everywhere and preach the gospel."
Renewed fighting over the last month in the eastern DRC has left around 100,000 people homeless and living in dire conditions. Entire villages have been emptied of their populations as residents flee battles between Congolese government forces and the Ituri Patriotic Resistance Front (FRPI) in Oriental province’s Ituri district. Reports of kidnappings and rapes have led many people to seek safety in the dense forests or to head to safer communities. One woman with a young child to look after summed up the outlook of many of those who had been forced to go on the run: “I am so, so tired of running, hiding and running again from angry young men with guns.”
Despite many hardships of war, unrest, poor infrastructure and powerful traditional beliefs, give thanks that a mighty church, dubbed CECA 20 by the government, has arisen with vision, passion and good organisation. Pray for the Congolese as they face fighting in the southeast near the Uganda and Rwanda borders; many are suffering and a large number have been displaced. Pray that any solutions proposed to help them will enhance their dignity and bring them into a vibrant relationship with Christ.
M23 rebel forces have withdrawn from Goma, under a regional agreement brokered just days after they seized the city in battles which injured many people. While the police are back in control, security is not yet settled in the region and banks remain closed. Earlier in the rebel occupation, the prison was attacked and 1,200 inmates were allowed to escape. These bandits now pose a serious threat to security. At the beginning of December, M23 rebels also attacked the IDP camp at Mugunga. Seven women were raped and 12 young boys were forcibly recruited to the rebel army.
The civil war continues in the DRC. Since the fighting erupted in November 1996, at least nine African states have taken part in the bloodletting, driven by their lust for the DRC's mineral wealth, which lies mainly in the east of the country. Rebels, bandits and a defecting police force continue to create great danger for the population. Radio Kahuzi is a Christian station broadcasting a positive message of peace in the midst of this unrest, and they have recently received permission to expand their FM signal in the country. Pray for safety for the radio station personnel and an ability to keep the message of the Good News on the air so that people can be encouraged and know that Jesus loves them.
Population: 82,243,000 (2017)
Official languages: French
GDP (PPP) per capita: $788 (2017 est.)
Life expectancy: 48 years
Religions: 50% Catholic, 20% Protestant, 10% Kimbanguist, 10% Muslim, 10% indigenous religions