December 16, 2008

A Cry for Peace in the DRC

By Maurice Mondengo

Throughout the last few months conflict centered in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo has continued to escalate with profound effects. Since August an estimated 250,000 civilians have been forced to flee their homes ( Many have been driven into refugee camps. Many more are hiding in the forest and in the mountains. The villages are empty. The basic minimum conditions for life and sustenance are missing. It is hard and risky to reach the places where the people are hiding. Even where there is food, there is no money to buy it.

Those who have guns have their say. Those who do not have guns have lost their voice.

On the other hand, there is a great deal of goodwill from the churches which are bringing love, hope and food to the different displacement camps in the east of the DRC. The BWA has contributed a grant used to provide aid to displaced persons in the Kivu region and Baptist missionaries have been working in the battlefield with some local pastors.

All the same, the people in the east of the DRC need more than food. They need change. They need a stop to this off-and-on remote-controlled war that since 1996 has left more than 5 million dead, a war that has multiplied the number of widows and orphans.

Enough is enough.

Though we cannot all travel to the DRC, each one of us can do something wherever we are at. We can all share news of the Congo and influence those who have a say in the world. Let us work for lasting peace without keeping quiet in the face of injustice, oppression and every kind of violence. Justice and peace must walk together and we as the Church should be at the forefront of announcing this full Gospel of justice and peace to our world.

Let us be the voice of the voiceless in the Congo.

Let peace start with us… please.

**Maurice Mondengo is a Baptist pastor and Junior Lecturer in Theology in the DRC as well as a BWA Emerging Leader.

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