I’m going to the Congo and I’ve been reading a lot about this war-torn country. First, it was “Blood River” by Tim Butcher — which was like an African “On the Road” — kind of. It was my first real introduction to this massive country that I’ll soon visit. It was a reality check. This isn’t Mozambique or Kenya — the Africa I know best. This is the real thing, this is hardcore, this is….heartbreaking.
I’m in the middle of “Dancing in the Glory of Monsters” by Jason K. Stearns now. In short, the death, destruction and pure evil that has gone down in the Congo is immeasurable. Millions of lives have been lost in pointless ethnic wars — women, children, grandmothers bludgeoned to death with axes, strangled to death with ropes, burned to death, just because they happened to be in the wrong place, because they happened to be born in Congo, or Rwanda or Uganda or Angola or some place else on the border of this lost country.
|Some of the orphans we’ll be working with in Uvira, DRC from NCC’s trip last year.|
I learned today why these groups use child soldiers so often. The kids are the most fearless because the wisdom to be afraid hasn’t developed in them yet. The kids are the most trustworthy — they won’t betray their leaders, believing in the adults who have taken charge. They will do almost anything. They are the most easily brainwashed. If they survive, their learned evil creates a monster of an adult.
When Kony 2012 came out, I was glad. Someone is doing something more to raise awareness. But, as nice as it is to share a video or like someone’s Facebook status, you aren’t doing anything. You feel better about yourself for “checking in” with the good that’s being done. But you aren’t doing much by feeling the pain for a few minutes and moving on to your next activity.
I appreciate celebrities who use their fame to do something good. Ben Affleck is one of them and his work is based in Eastern Congo. In a piece today on Huffington Post, he wrote:
“…Kony isn’t the whole story. The lack of state security in Congo has made room not only for the LRA, but for dozens of militia groups (including those responsible for the Rwandan genocide — the FDLR — and the Al-Shabab affiliated, ADF) who commit violence with impunity, steal from the population, and extract minerals from the earth -effectively robbing the entire country.
…This work may seem impossible but it is critical to remember what a disastrous state Congo was in fifteen years ago. It was ground zero in the deadliest war in modern African history. Eight nations had troops in Congo. Now, the country is on the brink of democracy and peace. But the daunting final steps require cooperation between regional governments and international organizations to get to the finish line. The AU, EU, US, IMF and important local players can help resolve this issue by responding to exactly the kind of awareness and pressure that Invisible Children has brought to bear around the issue of Kony and the LRA.”
So, here’s the deal — you gotta do something. That means supporting organizations — like Ben Affleck’s Eastern Congo initiative and Invisible Children — or another you believe in. There are a ton more, like Doctors without Borders and Refugees International. Do a little research and find out which one you can best support.
I posted the title photo because it’s true. A little bit makes a difference. If everyone would give 10 or 20 dollars a month to something they believe in, there’d be a lot more to go around. I encourage you consider it. The fact is, you can afford it — almost every single one.
I am going to the Congo this summer, as you know. Yes, I am fundraising but it’s not why I wrote this post. I wrote this post because the more I read about the Congo and the more I pray about the Congo, the more I see the desperate and overwhelming need there. The more I see how it’s been ignored and neglected, and how millions of lives have been lost for no good reason. I see a country that needs a better future. I am overjoyed to be able to take action and do something for the people of this country this summer.
Description: Most associate Congo with darkness, conflict, poverty, natural resources, beauty…great unknown. This trip will encourage and build the hope witnessed in June 2011 and will focus on orphan care and child advocacy for the 68+ orphans cared for by Congo for Christ Center. Working alongside Pastor Jeremiah Rukukuye of Congo for Christ Missionary Church, we will work with the orphans and local staff to assist and serve in developing the orphanage’s capacity to provide education, medical care, and sustainability for the children.
If you think you’re too small to have an impact, you’re not. This stuff is happening. You can’t do everything but you can do something.