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In the face of danger: praying for the church in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Church leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo are living out the gospel of peace – here’s how we can pray for them.

Rachael Adams | 01 Apr 2022

Pastor Bagame leads a church in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo that works with Tearfund and their local partner. Here he stands inside his church | Image credit: Arlette Bashizi/Tearfund

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the most dangerous places on Earth. Years of conflict have forced more than 5 million people from their homes – including 3 million children. But wherever there is suffering in the DRC you’ll find the church there too, being the hands and feet of Jesus.

The church in the DRC actively positions itself against injustice – they are hosting refugees, setting up peace talks to resolve conflict between communities and are communicating a vision of a future filled with redemption and peace.

Faith in God

‘This country has fertile soil, there are waters full of fish. The DRC is a good country. The problem is there are never ending conflicts, which cause people to flee their households. I would really like that to change,’ shares Pastor Bagame, who leads a church in the east of the country that works with Tearfund and their local partner.

‘As a pastor, I do what I can to assist the people who have been displaced spiritually, psychologically and materially. Refugees are usually traumatised and our job is to advise them that, despite the conflict, they must keep their faith in God and hope for a better future.

‘The church also gave a large part of land to the refugees to plant their seeds, something which now allows them to be food secure.’

The seeds came from another Tearfund partner, Mavuno, who are working in communities that are hosting large numbers of people who have fled the violence. By working with the local church to secure land for planting, people are able to feed their families and earn an income.

Land that the church has generously given to those who have fled the violence to use for planting, so that people can become self-sufficient again. Here, spinach is being harvested | Image credit: Arlette Bashizi/Tearfund

A vision for the future

‘I intend to continue to assist the refugees because as a pastor I think it is one of my obligations,’ continues Pastor Bagame.

‘I hope that these people who have been displaced will one day be able to return to their homes and resume their normal lives.

‘I think God has a good vision for these refugees. I believe he can one day bring peace to this country and every refugee can return home.’

Despite the divisions and conflict within the country, the church is building unity and reconciliation. They’ve refused to give up on the pursuit of peace.

Tearfund is working with 300 faith leaders in the east of the country to equip them to be further agents of peace in their communities. We are about to build a peace hut in North Kivu, which will provide them with a dedicated space to hold peace talks.

This will be a neutral space to bring people together and will be an exciting step towards peace.

In the face of danger

The church is not immune to the conflict in the country. We have church leaders we work with who have seen their church building burnt and destroyed and they have been forced to flee, along with their community, to escape from the violence.

Overnight, lives are turned upside down. But the church doesn’t give up.

‘Despite the hardship they face, church leaders continue to be advocates for peace and justice in the communities they serve,’ shares Hebdavi Muhindo, who leads Tearfund’s work in the DRC.

‘The calling is not without difficulty – they put themselves in the face of danger in order to live out the gospel of peace and be the hands and feet of Jesus.

‘In our staff team, we continue to pray for the church here, and we would love to invite you to do the same. What the church is doing here is life-changing and we can show our support – wherever we are in the world – through prayer.’

Pray with us

The following prayer is by St. Francis of Assisi – a 12th century Italian Friar. This prayer is going to be read aloud in all Anglican churches across North Kivu during each Sunday our peace project runs. We’d love you to join us, and use it as a guide to pray for the church in the DRC.

As you read through it, think about how church leaders in the DRC can demonstrate these qualities and ask God to bring them wisdom, courage, protection and boldness as they do this.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

  Rachael Adams


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