International Ministries

Just What Does Congo Health Connection Connect? Or If Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy

February 22, 2014 Journal
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Just What Does Congo Health Connection Connect?

Or If Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy

We are so excited about our new logo! It is simple but conveys several things at the same time….for example, where DRCongo is in Africa and that we are about Health. It has a feel of movement and action but at the same time is somewhat peaceful. But maybe you would like to delve deeper into what the Congo Health Connection means…..


Which Congo are you talking about? Well, you are doing better than 90% of Americans just to know there are TWO Congos! We are serving in the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the largest countries in subSaharan Africa. It is also known as Zaire, DRC, RDC (for you French speakers), DRCongo, and sometimes simply shortened to Congo. Therein lies the problem. Congo is also a shortened form of the Republic of Congo, a whole different, smaller, but nearby country. In fact, the capitals of those two countries, Kinshasa and Brazzaville, are the closest geographically of all the capitals in the world.


What do you mean by health? Usually we think of health in terms of physical body well-being, but health is much, much broader than just physical health. In individuals, health includes mental and emotional health, spiritual health, and relational health. When any of those areas are out of balance or dysfunctioning, the whole person is affected. It is not enough to address just one area of health as all areas are inter-related.

Health also encompasses the health of the family and community/clan/tribe. As someone once said, “no man is an island to himself” (actually, it was John Donne) or as someone else once said, “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” This can take many forms as well. If one person gets measles in the community, the whole community is at risk. When one person is out of sorts with another in the family, the well-being of the family suffers. When people in the tribe are out of relationship with God, things go rougher for everyone. Whereas when there is unity and harmony in the clan, the health of that clan is going to be better. Connecting Congolese to Christ is the core of true health!

Who is responsible for health? Individuals, of course, but they must care not only for themselves, but also their families, communities and even their culture. God has given the mandate to the Church when “he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.” (Luke 9:2). Clearly, it is a body and soul ministry the Church is to be about, restoring people in relation to Himself and each other. Throughout the Bible, God spoke of and demonstrated His particular concern for the marginalized: the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the alien. We as His followers and His Church must do likewise.


Another question is what do we connect? Congo Health Connection is all about relationships, which is what makes it so rewarding. We connect the sick and suffering with health resources, medication, and education that can relieve suffering. We connect the students at the Vanga health training center with visiting faculty from the U.S. and abroad. We connect American mission-minded medical residents and students, nursing students, and therapy students with Congolese colleagues in a model health system in a resource limited situation for a rich exchange of ideas. We connect partners in America with students in Vanga, DRC by sending greetings one to another.


Currently, the Congo Health Connection consists of two families: The Rices, (Tim, Kathy, and Nancy) and the Potters (Ryan, Shannon, and Baby Sydney). Both families will be moving to Vanga, DRC, following French language school starting in August 2014. We can’t wait to roll up our sleeves and get to work seeing all these connections happen and health improve.

And that, my friends, is who we are: Congo. Health. Connection. Team.