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Bolstered by the prayers of the people

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On April 12, 2017, I was completely overwhelmed by the political situation that had taken on alarming proportions in Kinshasa and other cities in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the end of March.

It was the third day of the week that I, along with all of Kinshasa, was trapped at home by the political protests. Called “dead city,” the protests took place on Monday, followed by repercussions on Tuesday and Wednesday. We stayed barricaded at home, without going to school or to the market.

The political situation was very volatile in Kinshasa; we were on the edge of a confrontation between political forces. Bullets crackled here and there to disperse youth who dared go out to loot – for food. The verbal threats from the politicians on TV and the radio were perceptible even in the streets.

We were each cloistered in our own houses, sometimes without food. (We usually go out to collect something to eat every day – few people have the means to stock up provisions for several days.) During this same period, a violent situation was rekindling in the Kasai region in the centre of the country, where our brother Michael Sharp was assassinated. (See bit.ly/MJSharp.)

That evening, like a miracle, I received a call from David Wiebe of ICOMB, phoning to learn about our situation. Frankly, for me, it was like a comforting visit in person – as though David Wiebe were right there in Kinshasa
in my house.

It was a demonstration of comfort and hope – and above all, the warmth of family. I noted the importance of calling a brother or a sister to ask how they are doing and to provide spiritual support when they are in difficulty. Our pastor, David Wiebe, surely did that well at this moment.

I responded to David with desperation: I was afraid for tomorrow. I could sense urban warfare. Only the Lord who watches over us brings comfort and security (Psalm 121). I launched a call to prayer to David Wiebe, who broadcast it to Mennonite Brethren prayers across the world. (Visit icomb.org to sign up to receive monthly news and prayers.)

Today, I can testify boldly: God heard your prayers for Kinshasa and the DRC. Even though political solutions are slow to emerge, God has reduced the tension since April. In October, as I write, the “dead city” days with barricades and burning tires on public streets have become a thing of the past, thanks to the prayers of our brothers and sisters in the Mennonite Brethren community. God answers the prayers of his people.

It’s true: prayer is a powerful weapon that God has placed in the hand of the righteous (James 5:16–18). Like the Anabaptists who started our Mennonite movement in 1525, we believe in God’s action in response to the prayer addressed to him. Through prayer, we act without limitations and accomplish the mission of God.

In DRC, we truly believe that without the intervention of God, our lives would much worse. Prayer is our last protection. Through prayer, we enter into dialogue with God and we present our grievances. We regularly see God answering our prayers.
What the UN has not been able to do in Congo in nearly 20 years with 20,000 people and billions of dollars, why not ask God to accomplish? What democracy and military technology cannot give the so-called developed countries, why not ask of the God of armies, the Prince of Peace? Only peace from God matters to us; it is through the prayer of faith that it will shine on us to guide our feet into the path of peace (Luke 1:78–79).

May God bless you to pray for our country. You make a great contribution to peace in DR Congo. Thank you to all of you!

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world”

(John 16:33).

[Mvwala C. Katshinga is a missiologist, linguist, and Bible translation consultant (CEFMC). He is in charge of the mission department of the Communauté des Eglises des Frères Mennonites au Congo (CEFMC – Mennonite Brethren church in DR Congo). He is also associate pastor of a local francophone church in Kinshasa, DRC. Article translated from French by Karla Braun.

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