In October, a friend of mine and I had the opportunity to travel to Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It had been over a year since I had been there and I was eager to go back. Congo is one of those places where years of struggle are evident. The people wear it in their eyes and, many have the scars to show on their bodies. You can see the scars on the sides of buildings, in the lack of infrastructure, in the countryside, and in a calloused spirit. We went there to visit and encourage Harvesters’ partner, The Union of Baptist Churches of the DRC. We went to visit their children’s home, look into taking a team there next year, and to visit churches in the rural areas. I’ve always seen Congo as a tough place and somewhere that was good for a visit but good to leave. This time was different. I saw something beyond the scars, past the hard roads, and through the years of conflict and fighting. I saw healing and opportunity for the Gospel. I saw hope.
There is hope in eastern DRC now. The fighting has ceased between rebel and government forces. Most groups have disbanded and village life throughout the rural areas, where most of the conflict took place, is getting back to normal. There is a sense among many that their lives can begin again, even for the first time, after so many years under the slavery that is war.
The Church in Goma and in the rural areas is growing. Pastors and evangelists are going out and planting churches in many unreached villages. Existing independent churches are joining The Union to bring unity among believers in a region that has struggled with years of conflict and division. Throughout the whole Church those that are coming to Jesus Christ are increasing all the time. God is working mightily in a region that has faced so much trouble and unrest for so many years.
Harvesters will be taking its first team to DRC, July 9 – 23, 2011. This medical team will travel to rural areas for mobile clinics and evangelism alongside local pastors and evangelist. These are areas where so many have suffered from the effects and insecurity of the conflicts. Many have never received healthcare and few have ever heard of Jesus Christ. This sign of compassion and service from the Church opens many doors for the Gospel as evangelists push out further into the rural areas. These teams have been very effective alongside of Pokot Outreach Ministries in Kenya and it is Harvesters’ desire to continue this team for years to come in an effort to help these pastors and evangelists plant churches.
Pastors and evangelists are on the front lines of spreading the Gospel throughout eastern DRC and they deserve our support and encouragement. These men work tirelessly for the sake of the Gospel and go without any type of financial support or income. Their families suffer but it is in joy as they serve Jesus Christ together. They need our support. If you would like to begin encouraging and supporting one of these pastors or evangelist, click here. Thank you for being a part of what God is doing in and around Goma, DRC. God is using you to make a difference.