One particular group of people we have been ministering to are the internally displaced people. These are people from the rural bush areas who have fled as a result of the war. As I have mentioned earlier, most IDPs have been forced to return back to their villages, but the ones who have stayed are the handicapped. These include the mentally handicapped, the blind, the lame etc . . . It also include their families which can consist anywhere from 3-12 children. These people are in an especially difficult situation because most of them are physically unable to make the journey back to their home villages (or whatever’s left of them).
When we first went into the camp, people were suspicious. Police officers insisted they follow us around. “What would these white people want with these IDPs,” they wondered. Immediately we spoke with the camp officials. In Africa and specifically DRC, power is achieved by ‘personal rule’ which has a lot more to do with loyalty and relationship with people in power than actual skills and knowledge. The most important thing we can do is talk to village headmen and officials before we preach the Gospel. It’s a way of showing humility and respect. These long (and sometimes tiresome) formalities are what matter in the long run.
Afterward, we gathered all of the pastors of the camp. There weren’t many of them and a lot of them no longer had a congregation anymore. There was an extreme sense of hopelessness in the camp. Members of the churches were no longer attending and the pastors had lost everything including their bibles due to war or robbery. As soon as we introduced ourselves to them, the pastors immediately asked for us to share a word from God with them.
“We are hungry and thirsty for the word,” they said.
Andrew and I both shared a message with them of hope and read from the book of Psalms to them. Andrew really brought the ministry to another level, when he sat down and sympathized with them and their sufferings. He constantly repeated how he knows they are suffering and that he can’t imagine how strong they must be. This is something they needed to hear. . . They needed to hear that someone knew about what they were going through. . .
We began to pray over the pastors and leaders. As we ministered the presence of God began to enter the room. Even the police officers quietly began to observe, people began to gather around. We prayed over everyone who came to us. One pastor who was paralyzed from the hips down asked for prayer. As Andrew and our translator (Phillip) began to pray, the pastor’s legs began to move, the pastor began to lift himself out of his seat and start to stand. People in the room were extremely touched, crowds were gathering all around the building. Andrew and Phillip escorted the pastor outside of the building as he prayed and cried, moving his legs for the first time in years. The ministry was powerful.
After about 2 hours of praying over people, we finished and began to make plans for the upcoming trips. The pastors asked for us to bring a choir next time we come. They also asked for bibles. We told them, we didn’t have much, but God would provide. After the meeting with the pastors, we visited their tents and met their families. We also went to other peoples tents and prayed over them and their children.
I believe God sent us to that camp just to tell the people not to give up.
“No one comes to visit us, but we know that God has truly come among us, because you came,”
Further stories about what is going in this camp are coming soon . . . Stay posted.