He had a message to tell. A message of terror, destruction and yet one of hope. As I sat there and picked up the bits and pieces of the stories of his people my heart cried out.
“Since fighting began in August 1998, 5.4 million Congolese have lost their lives in the second deadliest conflict since World War II. Some 45,000 people die each month; children account for 47 percent of those deaths…Killing is routine. And so are sexual crimes against women and children. In Eastern DRC, the prevalence of rape and other sexual violence is described as the worst in the world. The situation is grim, complex and largely ignored by the Western world.” (American Bible Society)This man shared the stories of women and children being raped. Children as young as 3 years old. It’s unthinkable. Women being ganged raped until their bodies are lifeless, broken, torn and left for dead. Scarred physically and mentally many of them also find themselves pregnant from the rape. But this man, this pastor, was not sharing theses stories as if they had no hope. He shared story after story how these women in the DR of Congo are coming to Christ.
These women are being healed physically and spiritually. They live in hope, knowing that God is their Father, that He watches over them. They have a hunger and thirst for a greater knowledge of Him.
I try to put myself in their shoes. I have had my own past scars to deal with, but nothing compares to what these women endure on a daily basis. In their culture if they have been raped they are unclean, unwanted and an outcast. Even their husbands will abandon them.
I am not worthy to walk in their shoes. They have nothing and no one. Yet their spirit cries out for the living God who offers them hope and a future.
I will not soon forget the stories of these women. My heart is bound to theirs, for they are my sisters in Christ. We share the common blood of Christ. I do not know yet what God would have me do in a tangible way for my sisters, but for now I want to make their stories known.
I want other sisters to be aware of what our sisters in other countries are facing each day. We can pray for them. We can become educated and understand what their life is like.
I may not have understood fully everything this pastor was trying to share, but I caught his passion. I understood the hope of Christ working in the lives of these women, my sisters. I understood that these women, seemly destroyed, have found what many here in America are still looking for – total contentment, peace and hope in knowing that Christ is for them regardless of their current circumstances.
I will not soon forget…these women are my sisters.
For more information and to read their stories you can visit the American Bible Society – When War Came.
Currently there is a group of college students organizing a bike trip to raise awareness. They will bike from Maine to Florida stopping at different churches each Sunday in order to raise awareness and money. They are being sponsored by the ABS and you can follow them at http://shesmysisterbiketour2011.blogspot.com/.
For more information you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit She’s My Sister.
Hi Sharon: Lee Manis sent me a link to this post. Do you mind if I tweet it? The abuse is horrible; the women's strength unbelievable. Met a Ugandan lady yesterday. She said her mom was young when she had her. By "young" she meant 12. I didn't ask any more... John Walter - Exec Dir She's My Sister.ReplyDelete
Sharon, your post brought tears to my eyes. You so articulately expressed the burden God has placed on your heart for these women.. our sisters..ReplyDelete