Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pray for the DRC - UPDATED

As some of you know, an African church meets in our church building. The majority of the church members are refugees from the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), a place which God has put on our hearts. Through this church Sarah and I have gotten to know some of the wonderful people from The Light of Africa missionary organization. Two of their primary missionaries, Esther and Camille Ntoto, are strongly connected with the African Church. They minister in Goma, a region of DRC which has seen some of the worst fighting over the years. In the last few years of relative peace, the Ntoto's have had a very fruitful ministry working with churches, victims of violence and rape, AIDS patients, and starting a radio ministry amongst a myriad of other things. However, recently the rebel activity has surged dramatically. I recieved this email today, and share it with you to inform and challenge you to be praying and supporting our brothers and sisters in the DRC.

Subject: Urgent from Camille FW: GOMA WARDEN MESSAGE
> Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2008 10:12:02 -0700
> Camille has sent this response saying that Goma is in trouble (see below).
> Sam and I just got off the phone with Esther and Camille (two calls).
> Apparently, they received word that Goma was safe to return to earlier today
> and Camille headed towards Goma to catch the boat. They thought that would
> be the best and safest way to get to Bukavu. However, he met a friend in
> Gisenyi that told him his information was incorrect and to turn around. He
> did. Within 30 minutes, they heard heavy gunshots and realized that Goma
> was taken.
> Camille is in an expensive motel but safe and he has shelter. He is no
> longer trying to get to Esther. With Goma falling, Camille says that Bukavu
> will most likely be next but not imminent. He has to get Esther out of
> there. Bukavu isn't safe. He has her passport. Please pray that God will
> help us find a way to get her passport to her and get Esther to Camille.
> Camille even stated that he may consider going back into Goma/Gisenyi area
> to use the boat option to get her out.
> The bus trip is no longer a safe option. People, rebels and looters are
> everywhere.
> They are undecided on how to spend their time before their planned
> departure. Camille says it is very confusing to say the least. He thinks
> UNICEF may have an obligation to help take care of the women in Bukavu that
> are there with Esther.
> Cindy and Sam


Thank you for prayiing! God has protected Esther in many ways already. Your prayers were heard yesterday as Esther was in danger. People thought she was a Tutsi. She had gone up to her room and was getting ready to take a shower. She heard the noise of voices, turned off the water, opened the bathroom window. People were talking about getting to her room from the balcony. Statements were made about wanting to see her passport. She made sure all doors were locked, curtains closed and lights off. Right then a group of us here in the states were meeting about congo and decided to call her. We were able to pray for her, be there with her. By the time we called her back the she was able to reach the UN police were able to pick her up and take her to safety..

Esther is now getting her passport through the US Embassy and will be taken by UN protection to Rwanda to meet up with Camille. She leaves Saturday morning. Please pray for her safety on Saturday morning.

Camille has spent the last several nights at a hotel just across the border. Today he walked back into Congo, went to his house, paid workers. They hadn't been able to leave the premises for several days. He is doing what he can in the city during the "cease fire."

Pray for Camille's safety on the road.

Please pray that every voice will be used to stop a blood bath from happening in Eastern Congo once again.

If you would like to read more I've included accounts from Goma, from Heal Africa who Esther is very involved with. They provide physical, emotional and spiritual healing for the women who have been raped.

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