LOPC’s Congo Team has supported PCUSA Mission co-workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo for five years. Recently the team has raised funds for the Healing Hearts program which provides training for leaders to assist survivors of the violence of the ongoing wars, providing a path forward toward coping with the trauma, spiritual healing, and affirming God’s love. Read further to hear Jeff Boyd’s report from the field.
Christi and I just returned from Tshikaji/Kananga where we witnessed 12 days of trainings for trauma healing for children as well as for adults. The trainees, men and women, were selected across the diversity of the faith communities: ECC member churches (Presbyterian, Methodists, Mennonites, etc.), Roman Catholic Church, and the Muslim community, among others. The atrocities that the communities experienced were felt across all faith communities. It was a wonderfully diverse and respectful atmosphere.
At the same time, it was painful and sobering to hear stories of brutalities that adults and children have witnessed and experienced. Some of these children have seen their parents beheaded and sisters raped. During the last five days, the trainees met all day with the children and through stories, games, scriptural references and compassionate accompaniment the adults helped the children recognize a path toward healing, one that involves recognizing the loss, mourning, weeping, asking God’s help with the pain, forgiving, and rebuilding. Through all, God’s love for each one was emphasized.
The trainees have been charged to return to their geographic communities, also selected based on consideration of places heavily impacted by the violence, and in the coming 6-9 months each should work with at least two groups of adults and two groups of children. Those who do so and report back faithfully are to be invited back to a follow-up training designed to certify the qualified trainees as trainers themselves. We are starting already the effort to raise the funds to help organize that training next year.
Thanks to those of you who have accompanied this training with prayer for its success as well as the two that preceded it in eastern Congo these past two years. Thank you also to each individual, church and presbytery that have given financially to enable Presbyterian World Mission to support this program of trauma healing.
Regional Liaison for Central Africa Presbyterian World Mission
LOPC Mission Co-Workers