Trauma healing

The Church in Congo

By James Misner and Marcel Serubungo In the Democratic Republic of Congo, some say that you can find all of Africa’s problems: weak national leadership, eroding rule of law, HIV/AIDS and protracted tribal conflict. Warring militias use rape as a weapon of war and perpetrate other human rights violations. Children are stolen, forced to become soldiers and used as proxies between fighting groups.

Congolese civilians are caught in the vicious cycles of conflict and disease. Millions have died as a result. Refugees and internally displaced people number into the millions.

But even in the world’s most war-torn regions, the power of Jesus can overcome the horrors of conflict. After years of warfare, the Church in DR Congo is the only social structure standing. It is the only hope of true peace for survivors of violence.

This is the reality of the Church in DR Congo:

  1. The Church is traumatized. Many people in the Church have been displaced from their homes. They’ve fled as refugees, survived grave atrocities, lost entire crops and ran through the night in search of safety. Our Christian brothers and sisters in DR Congo face the same situations that their greater communities face — they’re not immune from struggle.
  2. The Church is resilient. Even in the midst of adversity and unspeakable hardship, the church in DR Congo stands strong! Despite ethnic divisions within the nation, the church builds unity and reconciliation. They’ve refused to give up the pursuit of peace. They continue meeting together, praying together and worshiping God together. In some of the worst poverty and injustice on the planet the church gathers to proclaim the greatness of God! We have much to learn from them as they restore their communities.
  3. The Church is redeeming suffering. None of us can explain precisely why God allows suffering. But we do know that God redeems it — through his hands and feet, the Church. When a woman survives sexual violence, the Church will take her in, provide food and shelter and help her to care for her children. When cultural norms say that husbands should abandon their wives after rape — the Church works to debunk this lie and to reconcile marriages. The Church stands in the gap and speaks out against this injustice — teaching boys and men that women are created in God’s image and are to be respected and treasured.

Wherever there is suffering in DR Congo – the Church is right there, too. And World Relief is there to empower the Church to fulfill its mission: to bring hope to the hopeless and restore justice to the oppressed. As the people of the Church endure suffering, they faithfully follow in the steps of Jesus – bringing healing to their communities as they themselves are healed.

Would you consider making a gift to empower local churches to prevent further gender-based violence and care for women survivors? All donations will be matched by One Day’s Wages. Your gift will be used to provide medical care and trauma counseling for the victims of sexual violence and to raise community awareness about violence against women. Give today at onedayswages.org/worldrelief.

James and Marcel are both members of the church team at World Relief. James serves as the Global Director of Church Partnership. Marcel serves as the Director of Church Mobilization and Peace Building in DR Congo.

Celebrating Human Rights Day: Yalala's Story from DR Congo

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As the world commemorates Human Rights Day today, we want to honor women around the globe who have survived horrific violations of these rights. And many of these women go on to propel enormous good out of the evil that was done to them. These women are everyday heroes living in our midst and they’re changing the world one testimony at a time. With local churches, World Relief comes alongside women here in the United States and around the world as they recover from sexual violence, human trafficking and other cruel injustices. Our staff, volunteers and churches befriend these women and provide trauma healing trainings so they can heal and pass along the knowledge to their friends who have been through similar experiences.

At World Relief, we get to meet many women like this who are overcoming injustice and being empowered to have a positive impact in their communities. One such woman in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is Yalala. Yalala is a mother, a wife and a survivor of trauma. She and her family have lived in the crossfire of a violent conflict in eastern DRC that has continued for nearly two decades.  Infamous for the use of rape as a weapon of war, the conflict has also been the cause of millions of deaths. Yalala and her family have seen the worst of humanity, but they have also seen the best.

Though she and her family have suffered, through World Relief trauma healing trainings, Yalala is now helping herself and others. With what she has learned, she uses to comfort other women who have survived terrible violence. Feeling empowered by these trainings, she says, “Now I am a leader worthy of the name. I help many women and many receive Jesus.”

To celebrate Human Rights Day and empower heroic women like Yalala, visit https://worldrelief.org/donate.