Pastors plea for practical help as they seek healing for the land.
At the center of “Africa’s World War”, the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) has a hard and painful history. Wars, famine, or diseases such as HIV / AIDS are just a few of the tragedies DRC people faced and are facing daily. Although the country has much potential wealth, poverty saps the souls of many. There are millions of refugees and displaced. Just 55% of women can read and write French, Lingala, Kingwana, or Tshiluba. Life expectancy is 51.46 years. The population is 10% Muslim.
In part, DR Congo’s current troubles stem from the 1994 Rwanda genocide. After butchering 800,000 people, the killers fled across the border into DR Congo (then known as Zaire). Rwanda’s new leaders wanted the Congolese dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko, to disarm the militias and were prepared to use force to get their way. First they sent troops and engineered a rebellion to topple Mobutu. Then they invaded again in 1998 in an attempt to oust his successor, Laurent Kabila. Although most foreign troops left in 2002 and a transitional government was formed in April 2003, fighting continues.
The love of money is indeed the root of all kinds of evil in the DRC. Much of the violence is directly related to looting Congo of its incredible wealth in diamonds and minerals. The most volatile areas are Ituri, on the Ugandan border, and North and South Kivu, near Rwanda. These areas happen to be where many of the Muslims of the Congo live. Islam came to the Congo via Arab traders just a few centuries ago. Today Muslims lament that they have little say in the politics or business or professional areas of Congo life.
Pastors from DRC request prayer for:
* Each January a large Pastors conference takes place in Kinshasa, the capital. Pray that the pastors will continue in the unity of Christ for the good of the country and outreach to the Muslims.
* A constant prayer request from the Pastors conference is for Bibles! Pray that bible organizations would hear and that large shipments of French bibles would come to the Congo. Pray too that corrupt customs officials would allow the bibles into DRC without exacting any tolls or bribes.
* The theft of resources continues, while Congo still lacks the infrastructure to provide its people with food, clean water, health care and education. Pastors desperately want to help practically as well.
* In the Congo, rape is a cheaper weapon of war than bullets, also among Muslims. Pray that young women will not associate this horror with “Christian” Rebels.
* Church radio networks are growing, but the state-controlled broadcasting network has the greatest reach. Pray that church radio would increase without denominational competition and that state broadcasting would use Christian content.
Interesting Facts from the DRC:
Good luck charms worn around the neck are called grisgris (pronounced gree-gree). They must be blessed by a medicine man.
Congolese women are regarded as inferior to males, even though many ethnic groups trace family membership through the mother.
By the 14th century, three politically complex kingdoms had arisen in the Congo – the Kongo kingdom, and the Luba and Lunda empires.
Beef is generally only eaten in the higher regions of the country that are free of the tsetse fly. The Tsetse fly is a biting fly which carries with it Sleeping sickness or African trypanosomiasis, a parasitic disease in people and in animals. It is estimated that 300,000 – 500,000 people are infected, and about 40,000 die every year. Three major epidemics have occurred in the past hundred years, in 1896 – 1906, 1920, and 1970.
History of the DR Congo (World Factbook)
Established as a Belgian colony in 1908, the Republic of the Congo gained its independence in 1960, but its early years were marred by political and social instability. Col. Joseph MOBUTU seized power and declared himself president in a November 1965 coup. He subsequently changed his name – to MOBUTU Sese Seko – as well as that of the country – to Zaire. MOBUTU retained his position for 32 years through several sham elections, as well as through the use of brutal force. Ethnic strife and civil war, touched off by a massive inflow of refugees in 1994 from fighting in Rwanda and Burundi, led in May 1997 to the toppling of the MOBUTU regime by a rebellion backed by Rwanda and Uganda and fronted by Laurent KABILA. He renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but in August 1998 his regime was itself challenged by a second insurrection again backed by Rwanda and Uganda.
Economy of the DR Congo
The economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo – a nation endowed with vast potential wealth – is recovering from two decades of decline. Conflict, which began in August 1998, dramatically reduced national output and government revenue, increased external debt, and resulted in the deaths of perhaps 3.5 million people from violence, famine, and disease. Foreign businesses curtailed operations due to uncertainty about the outcome of the conflict, lack of infrastructure, and the difficult operating environment. Conditions began to improve in late 2002 with the withdrawal of a large portion of the invading foreign troops. Political uncertainty continues to hamper growth.
Statistics on DR Congo
Population: 73,599,190 (July 2012 est.) — see note below. World Rank #19
Life expectancy at birth: 55.74 years. World Rank #198
Ethnic groups: over 200 African ethnic groups of which the majority are Bantu; the four largest tribes – Mongo, Luba, Kongo (all Bantu), and the Mangbetu-Azande (Hamitic) make up about 45% of the population
Religions: Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, other syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs 10%
Languages: French (official), Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba
School Life Expectancy: 8 years
Population Note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected.
DR CONGO – Video
A video about the Democratic Republic of Congo and it’s People