Monday, November 24, 2008

Congo - Rape, Murder, and Other Terror

Beau here. As many of you know, I have had the privelege of going to Central Africa a few times to teach and minister to people. The most striking place I have ever been is Goma, Congo. It is on the eastern border of Congo in North Kivu province along the Rwanda border. There has been a sporadic battle in the region sicne 1996, and it has taken the lives of 5.5 million people. 75% of the world's rapes happen in eastern Congo where over 80% of women have been raped. The number of small children living on the streets is striking. I had the privelege of preaching in a church where well over half of those in church were less than 10 years old. Nearly every one of them was an orphan. I have included a photo of some of them in front of the church.

As my friends and I have received e-mails and phone calls from people in Goma over the past week, it has become clear that things are deteriorating. I would like to challenge you to help with this situation. Here are some ideas.

1. Write your congressional leaders. I have incuded my letter at the bottom as an example.

2. Pray for the courage of God's ambassadors in Goma to stand firm, for the end of violence, and for righteousness to rein in Goma.

3. Watch this video from CBS to get better educated. Or watch this video from our church yesterday to get some ideas on how your church can respond collectively.

4. Contribute funds to provide for food and basics until a more sustainable solution is reached.

5. Grow your understanding of and empathy with those struggling to eat daily by fasting or restricting your diet to basics like rice, beans, and flour.




Mr. Sessions,

I am writing to express my concerns about the atrocities in Goma, Congo and our lack of response to the horrors taking place. Over the last decade, nearly 5.5 million people have been killed in this horrible conflict along the Congolese border with Rwanda, Uganda, and Sudan. In addition, it is estimated that over 80% of women in eastern Congo have been raped. Think of all the women in your family and the magnitude of 4 out of every 5 of them having been raped. Yet, much like with Rwanda, we as a country have not done anything to meaningfully end the violence.

I have been to Goma, Congo twice in the past twenty-four months. There are fine people in Goma, hard working people who want peace. Yet, they are being murdered, beaten, raped, and robbed by a small group of ruthless rebels and thugs.

We have got to do something about this. They don't have oil we need or border a strategic military location or have enriched uranium, but that is not an acceptable reason to turn our eyes on this situation.

Mr. Sessions, I am a follower of Christ, and with that incredible privilege comes a great responsibility. Through the Apostle John, the Lord tells me "if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Let us not just love in word or talk, but in deed and truth." I have a responsibility to do something about this. I can go, and I have. I can pray, and I have. I can give money to help, and I have. I can tell those in positions of authority like you, and I have.

Mr. Sessions, I don't know if you are a follower of Christ or not. If you are, I pray you would be faithful to your calling and proclamation. If you are not a follower of Christ, I pray you would call me, so I can tell you about Him. Then, I pray you would be faithful to the call of justice.

I have been receiving e-mails from friends in Goma in recent days, and it is heart-breaking. How many more women have to be raped? How many children orphaned?

And Mr. Sessions, please don't rely on the UN troops. I have seen them in Goma each time I have gone. They aren't doing much of use. We have seen the UN fail enough in their "peace keeping" efforts to know we can't rely on them.

Esther 4:14,
Beau Fournet


Lori S said...

What sad and overwhelming statistics! What a sad life for these people and children! A call to action is definitely needed!

emily said...

Unreal. I just watched the message from Watermark on Sunday. Hard to put words to it. Thank you for sharing.

Carol said...

Beau - thanks for information about ways to help. And, we are praying for you guys as work continues on collecting all the right documents! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Love to all.

Adoption Cubed said...

Thank you for this post! I hope more people become aware of the devastation that is going on in the Congo. I hope people are called to action.