ICOMB joins effort to support DR Congo

Raising funds, awareness regarding violence in DR Congo is goal of joint Anabaptist efforts

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In Kele village near Tshikapa in Kasai Province, DR Congo, internally displaced people answer questions posed by the assessment team providing input for a collaborative Anabaptist response. Photo credit: Joseph Nkongolo

Mennonite Brethren are part of a larger Anabaptist effort to raise funds and awareness in light of violence and displacement caused by political unrest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

According to an Aug. 17, 2017,  Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) release, 1.4 million people have been displaced by armed conflict in the Kasai region. At least 8,000 Mennonites are among the displaced and among the estimated 3,300 deaths since October are a reported 36 Mennonites.

“I have talked with many people who have seen their loved ones hacked to death,” a Congolese church worker is quoted as saying in the September 2017 prayer update from the International Community of Mennonite Brethren (ICOMB), a global fellowship of 21 MB national conferences in 19 countries. “They are now living with hunger, lack of medical care and a dullness of spirit that surely must be (psychological) protection against too much spiritual and emotional pain.”

The church worker’s name is withheld for security reasons.

Congolese Mennonites and others in the Kasai region have fled their homes to escape the violence, leading to reports of rampant hunger. Church buildings and church-run schools have also sustained damage. Some people have been killed or tortured.

Mennonite Brethren and Congolese Mennonite church-based relief committees have shaped and implemented a response, which is coordinated by Mennonite Central Committee and supported by global U.S.- and Canada-based Anabaptist organizations.

ICOMB’s members are welcoming refugees, including on the Angola side of the border.

ICOMB executive director David Wiebe says, “Please pray for Gerard Mambakila, president of CEFMC (the MB conference), and for the Mennonite Church of Congo, who have appointed key people to work on this crisis.”

In addition to ICOMB and MCC, organizations working together to provide humanitarian assistance are: MB Mission, the global mission agency for the MB church in North America; Mennonite Church Canada Witness; Mennonite Mission Network; Mennonite World Conference and Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission.

Donations to MCC’s Congo relief response may be made online at www.mcc.org or by calling 1-888-563-4676. Checks may be mailed to MCC, P.O. Box 500, Akron PA 17501.

With files from ICOMB and MCC.

To learn more

Congolese Mennonites suffer atrocities amid displacement of 1.4 million: This article published in the August 21, 2017,  issue of Canadian Mennonite provides excellent background information on the current conflict. Warning: This report includes graphic details of violence. www.canadianmennonite.org/stories/congolese-mennonites-suffer-atrocities-amid-displacement-14-million

MCC news story: This MCC press release dated August 18, 2017 provides additional information: mcc.org/stories/anabaptists-respond-violence-displacement-dr-congo

Janae Rempel
Janae Rempel is the Christian Leader assistant editor. She joined the CL staff in September 2017 with six years of experience as a professional journalist. Rempel, is an award-winning journalist, having received three 2016 Kansas Press Association Awards of Excellence. Rempel graduated from Tabor College in 2010 with a bachelor of arts in Communications/Journalism and Biblical/Religious Studies. She attends Hillsboro MB Church.

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