As we meet people on the street, we never know what pain they may have suffered in the past. Coming from a time of war here in Congo, many carry with them the horrible memories of the past.
Yesterday we helped a Rwandan woman whose little son needs hernia repair. She is haunted by the horrors of the past. The smallest reminder brings back a flood of painful memories. She wept bitterly as she related her story. We will share only a little.
When the genocide swept across Rwanda in 1994, she was only in her mid teens. Suddenly, one day their village was surrounded by the rival tribe armed with machetes and spears. As she ran with other teens she could hear the screams of her family and fellow tribesmen who were brutally murdered. Soon realizing that there was no escape, she laid down amidst the bodies of the slain. Finally, the perpetrators left, confident that their evil work was complete. Seeing all of her family was dead, she fled with the little money she found in the pockets of the victims.
She and a few other survivors ran day and night towards the border. She remembers being so hungry that she ate dirt. They feared to meet anyone lest they be betrayed. Finally, she crossed the border into Tanzania and eventually married a Congolese man. Now that she lives in DRC, she still fears soldiers and people of the rival tribe. She leads a broken life with her husband and children- haunted by painful memories.
April Mosier has made friends with the daughters of our landlord here in Kisangani. Now that they are friends, they finally confided in April some of their memories of the war here in Kisangani in 2002. They were trapped in their school when the fighting broke out. They remained there for days without food as the sound of bullets and exploding mortars filled the air. When they were finally rescued, they made the mistake of looking around while they walked home. Now they too are haunted by the memories of bloated bodies on the street, including a pregnant woman who had been dismembered. At home they found part of their home (where Nathan Rittenour now lives) destroyed by a bomb.
Last week, one of our church planters came for help with his twelve year old sister Angela who lives with him and his wife. Angela had just been raped by the son of a high official in their town. When he went to the official to seek justice, he was told, “Get out of here! If you make an issue of this, I’ll kill you.” We helped to get the sister sewn up after the brutal assault. However after a week of futile efforts, he has given up trying to get justice in this corrupt society. Sadly, the national disgrace of ongoing rape continues, and this little girl can only ask Jesus to help her forget that terrible day.
We have spared our readers from many gory details in these stories and many more stories could be shared. As we pass people day by day here, we can only guess what sadness and pain lurks under the surface from Satan’s assaults. We praise God that we can bring the hope of a soon coming Savior to hurting people. Only through Jesus can people let go of the pain and bitterness. His love is enough to bring healing and peace. Please pray for us as we minister to wounded hearts and bodies in DRC.