When Part of Your Heart is Left Behind
As I leave Africa my mind is full of sweetness, sadness and unanswered questions. The time we spent in Congo was purposeful and we accomplished what we had set out to do but it was much more than that. It was a glimpse into a culture that has intrigued me for years.
This short glimpse leaves me wondering how people can live in the midst of such unrest year after year. The continued violence comes from inside their borders as well as outside. As we know, the history of this country is stained with the blood of millions at the hand of foreigners carrying supposed "good intentions." How can they ever trust outsiders?
I am unsure how I will process the suffering we saw, the starvation we witnessed, the people we laughed with as they sat on the wet ground, so I'll share some thoughts.
First off, I have never been in a country so rich in natural resources. Congo is so beautiful and fertile with more trees and plants than I have seen anywhere else in the world. Unfortunately, none of its resources are being used within the country. Tragically raped and pillaged year after year from outside forces, most of the residents live in unrest and extreme poverty. I read somewhere recently that if Congo's natural resources were dispersed throughout all of Africa, there would be no starvation on the entire continent. UN vehicles and check points are seen about every half a mile and yet, the fighting and instability remains. In the short time we were there, two attacks took place in our immediate area.
I also know that these people have suffered through so much and yet, they continue to persevere. There is no other choice. But the uncertainty of war, homelessness, and lack of a steady food supply wears on a person. How could it not? Those we touched and spoke with smiled and laughed, but with a visibly deep unspoken pain. I have never been displaced or homeless and my stomach has always been satisfied, but I do know personal loss and after this past year there was a bit of their pain I could identify with.
Finally, what a privilege it was to meet these people, created in the image of God and caught up in the cruelty of war. May our assistance during this time help to rebuild a bridge of trust regarding foreigners, sustain their lives through this time of desperation, and empower them to keep going until they can become self sufficient once again.
Thanks for your kind emails, prayers, and financial support. So glad we are doing this together!