Sometimes walking alongside our colleagues and friends in this corner of the world can be heartbreaking. This week has been crushingly sad.
How can anyone live like this… where basic amenities of food, shelter, and protection are anything but guaranteed? So many are hungry, homeless, and hurting; there are so many needs… where can one start?
*We were able to have an eye-specialist examine Fura, and women of the church have reached out to counsel her mother.
*The boy who fainted in class received medical attention and food.
*Many visited our teacher and her sister in the hospital, bringing food, encouragement, and offering prayers.
*The young boys received shorts, shirts and shoes, provided by churches in the US.
*The two Sunday School teachers, who are both artistic, were given work painting African scenes on my mailing envelopes, thus earning money to feed themselves.
*We helped with medical fees so the wife of our Sunday School teacher could finally visit the doctor and have the necessary tests done.
*The refugees … well, there are so many it will be hard to address their needs.
In church the other day, our pastor talked about the Israelites as slaves in Egypt; they were physical slaves, but also economic slaves. They suffered. He said, “I pray for Congo to be liberated, for the people to be set free to serve the Lord.” Congo is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of natural resources, but the people do not benefit. There is so much insecurity, poverty, and malnutrition. His words encouraged the congregation as he reminded them that the Israelites were enslaved for hundreds of years, but God never forgot them.
There is much tragedy and suffering, yet much hope. Our friends and colleagues declare openly that “despite such trials, God loves us and has not forgotten us”. They have hope. And they celebrate times together with joy, with dancing, with singing. We are thankful to be here to walk with our friends, our brothers, our sisters, our neighbors, and we are thankful to have the resources to address needs as they occur, even if our contribution is small in light of the enormity of needs. Yes, weeks like this are hard … but we are not alone.
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderers with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Isaiah 58:6-7