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For too long, the wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been destroying millions of lives. It is the deadliest conflict since World War Two, fuelled by conflict minerals used in our electronics and cars. Rape is a weapon of war; eastern Congo is one of the most dangerous places on earth to be a woman.
In the midst of this chaos, darkness and death, a bright light is shining. That light will now receive a Nobel Peace Prize.
Dr. Denis Mukwege is the son of a Pentecostal pastor who has a strong and robust faith in Jesus. The Swedish Pentecostal Mission funded his medical studies and, together with organizations, helped him build and run the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, the capital of the conflict-ridden South Kivu province. Over 50,000 survivors of sexual violence have been treated at the hospital during the last 20 years. (more…)
I am grateful and encouraged when I see the massive activism for women’s rights and an end to violence that is going on in India right now as a response to the horrible rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi. Having relatives from India and several Indian friends, I feel solidarity with the people and share their distress and there demand for change. However, as a follower of the non-violent Christ who taught us to love our enemies and forgive our transgressors, I feel pain when I see the demands for vengeance, punishment and execution that are frequent in the protests.
When Jesus hang upon the cross, He prayed “Father, forgive them” (Luke 22:34). This does not defend the sins of the murderers, but it brings them love and healing instead of hate and destruction. Something is severely broken in them that Jesus came to restore. He didn’t go to the holy and healthy but to the sinful and sick (Matthew 9:12). And when His Holy Spirit performs miracles among us, even the worst sinner can be completely transformed.
Christopher Alam is an international revivalist born in Pakistan who preach the gospel at big campaigns in Africa and Asia, where he has seen astonishing miracles. He shares in his great book All Things Are Possible how the Holy Spirit changed the heart of a murderer in the late 1980’s, at a campaign meeting in the Indian state of Odisha. Christopher was praying for the sick and the blind saw, the deaf heard and the lame walked – just like in the video above. The people that were gathered were shouting and praising the Lord for the amazing miracles He did.
My heart is bleeding for the Congolese people. For the last fifteen years, they have suffered from the deadliest conflict since World War Two. Over six million people have died, and every day 1500 more join them because of the malnutrition and epidemics that follows the war. Half of them are children below the age of five. Tens of thousands of women have been raped by soldiers, since sexual violence is used as a weapon. And right now, the conflict is escalating because of the formation of a new rebel group, called M23. Its leader, Bosco Ntaganda, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and his nickname is “the Terminator”.
Three things especially disturb me concerning this gigantic humanitarian crisis. Firstly, people talk and act like the genocide in Rwanda is over, when in fact it just jumped across the border to Congo. Some of the Hutu genocidaires formed a militia named FDLR that is still active in the Congo. The M23 are Tutsis, so these groups want to kill each other, while they fight the government of Rwanda and the government of Congo respectively. The international community was criticized for lack of action in 1994, still they allow six million more to die.
Secondly, 90% of these people are Christians. Not only the victims, but also the soldiers who kill and rape and steal. How could the church fail to the point that its members started to commit these awful atrocities against each other? What happened to peace? What happened to love?
Finally, this conflict is financed by the phone I am writing this text on. The same is true for many computers, cameras and other electronic devices. You see, the conflict is concentrated to the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu. These are extremely rich of minerals, many which are used in electronics. Rebel groups like FDLR and M23 take control over the mines and tax the workers to buy food and guns for their soldiers. This has been known for years, still the conflict mineral trade has continued to flourish.