Refugees of the Eastern Congo

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Written by Nubako Selega and posted by Cal Kierum

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Greetings from me and my family here in Kinshasa! Undoubtedly, some of you have been following the news of the situation in eastern Congo. As a bit of background, since 1990 and the fall of President Mobutu, a former President of DR Congo, our country has frequently been involved in wars that have affected numerous people in different areas of our country. Because of that there are many related problems.

About six months ago, in May 2012, some people in eastern DR Congo, just north of Kivu, which lies along the Rwandan border, became victims of this fighting and in need of immediate assistance. One of the rebellions in that area was begun by a group called M23. They began fighting with the Congolese army and eventually took control of a portion of eastern DR Congo. After three weeks of fighting they then seized the city of Goma. In response to both national and international pressure, the group agreed to pull out of Goma on November 30.

The fighting in eastern DR Congo has created over 700,000 refugees, all situated around the Goma area. Most of them live in refugee camps while others have gone to live with extended family members. A single camp can have as many as 40,000-60,000 refugees. Other people have fled to Rwanda. For those who are refugees, living outside is horrible. They are subjected to the sun and rain. They have no medical assistance. There are no toilets. There is no food. Those who are most affected by this are the children who fall sick and have no medical care, no medicine and often, no one to care for them.

Churches, NGOs and humanitarian organizations are doing their best to assist, but the needs are immense, especially for food and medicine. The Church of Christ in DR Congo (ECC), directs 67 different protestant denominations in DR Congo and I have been working with them to assist them in training church planters and youth workers. They are also helping minister to the needs of the people in the east through a ministry called Crisis Refugee Assistance; however, what they are able to provide is entirely insufficient.

I am sharing this with you today first, so that you will pray for these people in eastern DR Congo. I also ask you to consider helping with food and medicine. I am convinced that sending assistance to these people through this ministry of the ECC will do great good. I believe that this demonstration of the love of God to these people in this time of need could bring many to faith in Jesus Christ.

Just this morning, I spoke with a pastor who lives there. He is a friend of mine and came to the training this past summer given to us by Life International on the sanctity of human life. He shared with me that people are now selling their clothing and household goods to help buy food and medicine for those in need.

Donations to assist with this effort may be made to: Africa Crisis Relief – Account #3988
Online – www.EFCA.org
By mail – EFCA ReachGlobal, 901 E. 78th St., Minneapolis, MN  55420

Together for His Kingdom!
Nubako Selenga
Director, ReachAfrica
+243 81 71 77 630
+243 99 73 30 663
Skype: Selengan
E-mail: Nubako.Selenga@efca.org
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

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From missions to holistic outreach

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by Dan Amos

For many years Elim’s ministries outside the walls of our building have been growing and changing. It began with enabling missionaries to go to foreign lands and spread the gospel, but is rapidly becoming a ministry of personal involvement for our people. This is partly because the face of missionaries is changing; countries once served by Western missionaries are now sending out their own, some even to the United States and also partly because the need in our own community is so great.

As the missions team and the Elder Board have been seeking to adapt and serve in the new environment, we have been placing a greater emphasis on our personal action and growth in sharing the good news and serving others. Several years ago the Elder Board directed the missions team to begin the process of evaluating supported missionaries for effectiveness in reaching unreached people groups and ways in which we can partner with them and emphasizing short term missions as a means of growing our people in the process.

We can see this in the Democratic Republic of Congo where we have already sent two teams in life-changing experiences for our people and real support to the ministry in the Congo which is on the frontline of reaching unreached peoples. Rich and Marla Henderson and Ernest Dyck both have recently shared how we can partner with them in the future, potentially tying in with the Congo, too.

Last year, two missions we had previously supported discontinued their ministries such that we discontinued financial support. This has been part of the process of refocusing our limited financial resources towards partnership ministries and unreached peoples. With this has come a name change to Holistic Outreach and efforts to organize and connect locally. Last year we supported a local ministry in Bill Bowers who helped connect Elim with local compassion and outreach opportunities.

This coming year we are proposing to take a giant leap. We are in the process of finalizing the 2012 budget and you will see a number of changes. The first change is to rename “Missions” to “Holistic Outreach” and to move it to the ministries section of the budget. In the past it had been a separate part of the budget and symbolically it was not part of Elim’s ministries.

Support for the Herrs, whose ministry is supporting AWANA, is being moved from the Holistic Outreach section to the Children’s Ministries section under the AWANA line item. This better reflects our partnership with the Herrs. The Holistic Outreach team began the process of thinking through these changes in discussions with Linda Sauke who helped the team shape actions including redirecting support for her, Bill Bowers, and the Glenhaven Youth Ranch in Arkansas to local outreach efforts.

This is being achieved by partially funding an internship for a Holistic Outreach Director. Stan Peterson is completing ministry training and is seeking ordination through the Evangelical Free Church. This is a fairly rigorous process and requires candidates to be in full-time ministry of at least 32 hours a week. We are proposing in the 2012 budget to support this position with $7,500. Additional support, just like the other missionaries we support, is being raised independently.

In this position, Stan will lead and equip Elim’s people in the Holistic Outreach ministry. We will be saying much more about this in coming weeks and are planning an informational meeting on Holistic Outreach for October 23 after the Sunday morning worship service.

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