I had this terrific trip to Congo a few weeks back. When Renee and I arrived to Africa ten years ago, some of my first few flights were to eastern Congo. That route was soon after shut down as the region descended into yet another war. So, I have only known the place to be a mess. I have seen some of the tragic history since we’ve been stationed in Africa, but in small doses.
On my recent trip I went to an old AIM mission station and actually saw some of the triumph. It was enlightening to be there with an elderly brother and sister who were missionary kids in a relatively peaceful Congo many years ago. This was the first trip to Congo where I can remember not wanting to leave in such a hurry.
Yet the country remains a dark place. Just today I was reminded of that while reading this article in the New York Times. (Caution, the story will likely ruin your day.)
This bit from the article caught my attention:
“No one — doctors, aid workers, Congolese and Western researchers — can explain exactly why this is happening.”
After my visit to this village not all that far away from the “freelance cruelty” portrayed in this article, I could offer an explanation. The Zande people whom I met were once shrouded in darkness, as are many in eastern Congo. But the love of God bore out in the lives of a missionary family over fifty years ago still shines. The “why” is actually simple, even if bringing about social change is not. Human sin, and its requisite heart of darkness is why this is happening. And as I saw in Zande-land a few weeks back, the light of Christ probably has a better chance of turning things around than the “largest UN peacekeeping force in the world.”