Annnnd we’re back. We crossed the border, had just a few hiccups (as in two confiscated passports, a wild goose chase to recover the passports, a canceled visa and in the end, two new visas… to say the least) Either way though, it’s so good to be back!
Over the last year it’s been such a journey that builds up to this moment. We took a step back from full time Congo life to focus on our foundations both as a newly married couple and still as a new organization. Creating something that lasts isn’t something that happens overnight. This I’m learning. It’s a deep work building foundations and structures. It’s a lot of boring work at times, often not the glamorous stories that we share from a stage, but it’s what moves you from lasting a few years to lasting several decades.
Over the last little while we’ve been developing strategy for how to use education in a way that literally changes culture and raises up agents of change that can implement structures of peace.
Rather than planting schools at whim, we strategize to maximize our impact.
We’ve been sitting with papa God and dreaming with heaven and we’ve been sitting at our computer, pouring over research.
UNESCO statistic says “Doubling secondary student enrollment from 30% to 60% has the potential to half the risk of conflict.”
So in this next season we’re excited to be building! We see education as a profound tool to see transformation in communities.
Family and parenting workshops.
Education is so much more than just learning to read and write. Education is teaching a new way of thinking. To come out of war and poverty, we need to see some shifts in mindsets and behavior patterns.
On our last quick trip to Congo, we ran into various security problems. “Cassandra, there have been more abductions in the recent month than ever before.” My Congolese team shared. They went on to explain the increased dangers and the risks, more than we’ve seen before, that we would have to overcome to complete our work.
We weighed the risks but like always, we tucked ourselves in the arms of our God and pressed forward into the unknown as we know risks are so worth it if we get to see even a handful more people experience peace and the presence of God.
On the road to the village we found ourselves “just missing” raids time and time again. The last time we were almost to safety when we were stopped on the road. A group of people were gathered, they said a raid was happening as we spoke and they had just managed to escape. After talking for a while, we climbed in the car and sped off. No more than 2 minutes and we were stopped again. This time by a man waving an AK-47 in the air. “STOP! A raid is happening right now! You cannot go forward. So many soldiers. They outnumber you too much!”
With only a second of hesitation, our driver threw the car into reverse and sped off in the opposite direction. We had nowhere to go though. The only way out was forward. Through the army of soldiers.
We stopped and started to pray. Switching from a mindset of defense to offense. “If we meet these soldiers, then they will meet Jesus!” Standing firmly on the scripture “Greater is he that is in me than he than is in the world.” He is our rock.
After waiting maybe 10 minutes we pressed forward full of faith and thankfully, didn’t encounter any more malicious activity on the road.
We have a handful of “close call” stories, but for those who live there, this is their norm. Rape is a common occurrence among women, raids that pillage entire communities have become the usual.
With saying that, I’m more motivated now than ever that the time to act is now.
As we press on in implementing some of our developing strategy, we’ve begun construction on our newest secondary school and are already dreaming for the next! As we do, we would love to give you the opportunity to join our ROOTS Community. It’s one of the incredible things we’ve developed this year, a growing network of individuals who want to stand for peace and transformation now able to follow the journey a little closer.
ROOTS partners give monthly and in return get an exclusive inside look on what we’re up to, get free Justice Rising swag and an opportunity to travel to see the students you’re impacting! Sign up here!
Thanks everyone for following our journey! This blog has gone from solely my blog to now Edison’s and my blog. Excited to post a thing or two from the husband in the coming months as well!