I just finished some flights for one of the most exciting things I get to be a part of with MAF here East Congo. That is flying the OEIL Reconciliation team. I have been so impressed with these men and women who take time out of their regular work to put on conferences in villages and towns all over the East of Congo as well as Rwanda. This group has taken the passage in the Bible in 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 about us all having the ministry of reconciliation seriously and to the next level. There have been years of fighting and tribal wars here in East Congo and Rwanda with huge genocides being the best known and most gruesome. But virtually everyone living here has stories of murder or rape or beatings of what would give most of us a reason for life long hatred and need for serious therapy. Revenge is huge and people will wait for decades remembering the hurts of seeing their parents hacked to death in front of them or their daughter raped. Humanly speaking there is no way you forget about or forgive these kinds of things. But this group has had the most wonderful success at leading people with the deepest of hurts to be healed of them through Christ and the forgiveness that only he can supernaturally bring to you.
I have often shaken my head and been utterly discouraged at the prospects for this region in the terms of world thought. This has been going on for centuries, and to think some UN peacekeepers could come in and in time bring peace is very ludicrous. But watching these men who themselves have had guns to their heads and their daughters abducted, and much more, showing forgiveness and even love to the very people and tribe that did this to them is an amazing thing to see.
It is remarkable that they can even get the two sides together in the same building. But they do and both the people who have been hurt and the men who have done these very acts of terror are as excited to have forgiveness from the torture of living with their sins.
The conferences usually last at least 3 days and in that time the team share their personal stories. Men from opposing tribes who have feuded all their lives and taken part in terrible atrocities, and others who have suffered through terrible things, lead together.
My sister Lu took some brilliant photos at a couple of these conferences and was so impressed by their lives. Daniel Kasereka, a teacher at a local Bible School, leads the team. He speaks English well and relays many of the experiences of their work to us.
Our MAF team here has been so impressed with their work that we do everything in our power to get them where they are going free of charge. We really believe this is the real hope of turning things around here in Congo.
An interesting sideline. Awhile back, the OEIL team invited our MAF staff here to a dinner at a local restaurant to say thank you to us for the help we had been to them. Some of the team had to come from a town a few hours away and on the way here they were ambushed and bullets were flying all around the vehicle. Their back tire was shot out and they thought their fuel tank had been hit, as it went quickly to empty, but they kept driving as fast as they could on the flat to get out of the area. As it turned out, only the wire to the indicator had been shot off, and they showed us the bullet still lodged in the wheel at dinner that night. It highlights the need for MAF, and to hear them say that what they are doing would not be possible without us is so encouraging. It is an honor to serve these remarkable men and we love being a part of this work.