Last week our team was in the village. We just got back to the city and in my attempts to process some of the trip, I’ve opened my computer and I’m sorting through the week in a blog. Yes, it's my first blog in almost a year... thinking I may try picking it up again.
Every time I get back from the village I always feel…. raw. It feels like my heart has been shaken up and I’m trying to sort the pieces before they land and I have to continue with the daily norms of life.
I find the poverty we encounter never gets easier. Congolese babes with hair almost white from malnutrition, skinny as rails as many are starving without having access to food on a regular basis. Story after story of rebel attacks and our students running from raids…
People living day in and day out with war feels so unjust.
I then get back from the dangerous trek to our schools, where threats of abduction taunt our team with every trip, and I turn on the Internet to see what I had missed.
One of the hardest things upon my return was the continued debate about refugees and people fleeing from war. My social media feeds are full of the arguments of “What do we do?!” I don’t want to get political, I’m just processing my time in the dirt in a war zone.
I see many strong opinions, many are held by those who have never met a refugee or sat with families in the midst of war. They haven’t seen the torture wounds, they haven’t listened to the explosions of bombs or the zinging of bullets.
Their children have never had to go hungry because their only options of searching for food would mean either rape or death if they happened to be captured.
They’ve never comforted a woman who’s been so violently raped she almost died.
Yet, without these experiences—without the full knowledge of what it means to be someone who has lived in war—many carry on by saying: “Close the borders.”
“There could be terrorists.”
(Statistically, there is a 1 in 3.64 billion chance in a given year that you’d be killed by a refugee)
“The vetting process isn’t rigorous enough”
(The process is over two years of paperwork, interviews and checks. Check out this article written by a former immigration officer: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/02/01/refugees-are-already-vigorously-vetted-i-know-because-i-vetted-them/)
My heart aches. It aches for those in Syria. It aches for those here in Congo.
We stopped by our new land in the village of Kingi again on the way back. I had forgotten to take the GPS coordinates last time I was there but once we stopped the car, I knew it wasn’t going to be a two minute thing.
We walked around meeting families in the area and those who lived near the future school. So many little babes in rough shape, most if not all were out of school.
I dream that in 5 years or 10 years, there’ll be a different story coming out of these places. These last couple of weeks I’ve seen my team pour out their hearts in trainings in WaSH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene), psychology, gender equality, knowing God and bringing heaven to earth and education development for teachers and childcare workers.
I’m humbled at the process, and that I get a front row seat to transformation happening. Sometimes I hurt, wishing I could do more, but day by day we move forward believing in the change we’re creating.
Maybe that’s my biggest reminder today in my processing. In the face of so much poverty, so much war, so much trauma—we’re doing what we can. Trusting that Jesus is big enough and risking it all to love them well and serve these communities as if it were Jesus himself in there in the dirt.