Pray for DRC
The members of a newly affiliated FIEC church have asked the FIEC family to pray for the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which many call home.
In September, John Stevens and I were privileged to be part of a day conference in Sheffield hosted by New Hope Christian Church – a newly affiliated member of FIEC.
The vast majority of the members at New Hope are immigrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It was a joy to gather with them for praise, worship, and fellowship. John was one of the speakers along with Peter McCool, pastor of South Sheffield Church. Both their sermons were translated into Kinyarwanda.
One of the pastors at the church, Gedeon Bihonzi, hosted the conference and we enjoyed a meal with him and the other church leaders during the event.
I wrote to the church shortly after our trip to thank them for their kindness and hospitality. Their response was not what I was expecting.
Jackson Runezerwa, one of the leaders at New Hope, revealed that since our trip to Sheffield, many of the friends and relatives of the church family had been slaughtered during violence in DRC. Armed groups have attacked the Banyamulenge community who live in Bibogobogo, Moyen Plateau of FIZI Territory.
Tragically, Pastor Gedeon has lost his parents and brother in a machete and shooting attack.
In just 10 days from mid-October, at least 19 remote villages have been burnt to the ground, displacing thousands of people. Women are being raped and kidnapped, while men are murdered. Hundreds of people are still missing in the bush or have died as they didn’t reach places where other displaced people are gathering. Valuable cattle are being stolen and those who have survived have no shelter going into the rainy season, with little access to food, medicines, and provisions.
I have no words to describe the grief I have felt for my fellow Christians at New Hope this past week.
The brothers and sisters in Sheffield are asking the FIEC family to pray for them. I asked Jackson how we could best direct our prayers. He said:
“The urgent needs and priorities which require our support are burying the dead with dignity, negotiating the return of 54 captured people, and the treatment of the wounded - health centres are destroyed, and equipment has been looted.
“Shelters are urgently needed, as well as food and non-food items. Many are now more than seven days without eating properly and they don’t have access to the market and other non-food items.
“Please pray for peace. Please pray for safety in DRC. Please pray for survivors, for God to heal people’s hearts. Pray for the children witnessing multiple traumatic crises. Pray that the Lord will protect their vulnerable hearts and keep them safe from harm.”
- Phil Topham, Executive Director, FIEC
There is a service of mourning on Saturday 30 October, 2021, from 1:30pm to 4pm at South Sheffield Church, Greenhill Parkway, Sheffield, S8 7JP. All are welcome.