Peace for the DR Congo

—Megan-Drew Tiller

Yesterday was the UN’s International Day of Peace (learn more here). Across the globe, there was to be a temporary ceasefire and an intentional observation of non-violence. Unfortunately, this week has been a particularly vicious one: shootings at the Navy Yard in Washington and at Cornell Square Park in Chicago, a hostage situation at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya, a bombing outside a church in Peshawar, Pakistan, and continuing violence in many places, including the Philippines and Syria. Unfortunately, these are only the situations reported by the media. The violence in many countries seems never-ending, and the depths of those conditions are rarely revealed to the general public.

A group in Hampton Roads observed the UN’s International Day of Peace by hosting an event and dedicating it to learning about violence in the Democratic Republic  of the Congo. Given the Diocese of Virginia’s mission work in this area, I was able to go and learn, not only about our own ministries (especially our Women-to-Women ministry) but also the activism taking place around the world to better the situation of people in the Eastern Congo.

As one of our speakers observed, we are called to be in relationship and prayer for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo because we are all human beings. We are not called to the DR Congo because the land is particularly rich in natural resources (it is), or because of the great agricultural prospects in the country (the land has the ability to feed the entire world), or because of the potential energy that could be harvested from the Congo River (were it dammed, it could generate energy for the entire continent of Africa, plus the Middle East and part of Eastern Europe). We are called to serve because we are brothers and sisters in Christ and we share a spirit of ubuntu.

I’d like to share a prayer of thanksgiving from the Congo, roughly translated as “Thank you very much, Lord, in my heart!”:

Aksante sana, Bwana,
Aksante sana, Bwana,
Aksante sana, Bwana, moyoni!
Aksante sana, Bwana,
Aksante sana, Bwana,
Aksante sana, Bwana, moyoni!

I give thanks for the ministries in the DR Congo, for those living and working there, and for those who minister from afar. I give thanks for the time we had yesterday to share stories and to learn from one another. I give thanks for my experience and the opportunity to get involved in this and other ministries of God’s people. Thanks be to God!

Although yesterday was a good introduction to the work being done in the DR Congo, there is still much to learn. I am hoping to get more involved with the Diocese of Virginia’s ministries there as people across the Diocese continue to do great things in partnership with the people of the DR Congo, and so, I’ll sign off with this prayer by Satish Kumar:

Lead me from death to life,
from falsehood to truth.
Lead me from despair to hope,
from fear to trust.
Lead me from hate to love,
from war to peace.
Let peace fill our heart, our world, our universe.

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