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“Evil beyond telling” in Congo

8.2. 2017 Written By: Lynda Hollinger-Janzen, AIMM/Mennonite Mission Network 1,390 read

Photo: ​Niclette Mbendji could be described as today’s typical Mennonite: a young African woman. Mbendji lived in Ndjoko Punda when this photo was taken. Rebels have infiltrated this village. Photographer: James Krabill 

Violence continues to leave suffering and destruction in its wake in Congo’s three Kasai provinces where most of the Mennonite churches are located. The situation worsens and grows more complex daily. For security reasons, no names are used in this reporting.

A North American with Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission is currently in Congo walking alongside the church leaders of the three Mennonite denominations in the country. AIMM, Mennonite Mission Network and other organizations collaborate closely in ministry on the African continent through a partnership council led by African church leaders and mission personnel from Europe and North America.

On July 26, the AIMM staff person texted, “The atrocities are beyond imagination. The evil is beyond telling. [Government and tribal] leaders with tunnel vision have [fanned the flames of ethnic rivalries] that have created a hell on earth.”

The AIMMer described a conversation with a Congolese church worker who had traveled to Tshikapa, the headquarters of Communauté Mennonite au Congo (Mennonite Church of Congo).

“It was painful for him to speak,” wrote the AIMMer. “He had seen so many, many people who saw loved ones hacked to death. They are now living with hunger, lack of medical care, and a dullness of spirit that surely must be some kind of psychic protection against too much spiritual and emotional pain.”

A Congolese business man who owns a trucking company organized a choir tour to encourage the Mennonite churches in Gungu, Kitwit and Mukedi. The choir from the capital city, Kinshasa, traveled to these communities that are “safe areas” and are welcoming internally displaced people from the Kasaï provinces. The choir led in worship and in proclaiming their faith in God-healer and protector. The gatherings were also times for intense intercession for all who were grieving, in pain, in hiding and trying to escape.

“Please ask everyone to pray for our brothers and sisters here,” the AIMMer said.

Mennonites throughout Congo are collecting food, clothing, and money to help provide for those who have found their way to one of the safer areas. A more extensive, intercontinental response is being prepared by the partnership council.

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