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Snakebites & Peacemaking

An American church finds there’s power in suffering in solidarity.
 
Joe Johns could never have guessed that a painful snakebite would help him connect with a group of Congolese pastors. But as the American pastor led a peace building session in war-torn Congo – his snakebite-swollen foot raised on a chair – the Congolese pastors listened with gripped attention.

World Relief Recent Stories - Snakebites and Peacemaking
 
“Because I was suffering, they felt this must be a very important message,” explains Pastor Johns, Missional Living Director at Fellowship Missionary Church (FMC) in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
 
Since FMC joined World Relief’s grassroots peace building mission in the Congo in 2006, teams from the American church have helped launch a network of Village Peace Committees, training local church leaders, including women and youth, to practice unity and teach their people to resolve conflict without violence.
 
Phenomenal Impact
 
In the three pilot program areas, peace has replaced bloody tribal conflict that’s raged for years. “No one refers to the Village Peace Committees as ‘World Relief’s’,” Pastor Johns says. “The local people have assumed ownership… men and women, young and old, all elected from different tribes to work together for peace.”
 
Years of hatred and conflict sapped the confidence of local pastors, but Pastor Johns and his team assured them that the Congolese Church has a prophetic voice to establish peace and reveal God’s Kingdom in their communities devastated by bloodshed and atrocities.
 
FMC members have learned there’s power in suffering in solidarity with others. “It’s like a marriage relationship – there are problems to resolve and wonderful blessings.”
 
Back home in Fort Wayne, FMC is energized by the partnership with World Relief and churches in the Congo, which is now strengthening the church’s bond with Congolese refugees who’ve resettled in their community.

 

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