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We have just returned from a weeklong trip to Masisi, where we are building a Community Peace Center (formerly called a Training Center). We were able to mobilize a team of five disciples from the Goma Community Center (GCC) for the first time. Why? Because we had our new Toyota Land Cruiser 105 Series!
We have worked for more than four years with members of the Goma Community Center. They have prayed and contributed to the work in Masisi with the reintegration of former child soldiers, pastoral trainings, leadership seminars and many other aspects of our work in Masisi, though never having set foot there.
“When will we go there to meet these people that we have been praying for? When will we also sleep in tents, eat new foods and minister in the most vulnerable areas in our country?” said one member of the Goma Community Center.
We got these questions nearly a year ago after an outreach in Kibati (another village near Goma that we work in) where they gave clothes to the community returning to rubble after serious clashes between the M23 rebel group and the Congolese National Army.
But Masisi was a 4-6 hour drive (depending on the road conditions) through more volatile territories. We knew that bringing a team of Congolese to Masisi from the GCC was a logistical nightmare without another capable 4x4 vehicle. So, we continued occasionally taking one or two members of the GCC once a month just to get to know them and allow them to see what God is doing out in the most volatile areas. Those Congolese brought back stories that ignited a passion at the Goma Community Center.
People want to be mobilized.
They want to serve.
“There are no jobs in Goma at this time. Employment is a very big issue. People are stagnant, depressed and angry,” said Julius Paluku, a member of the center, “but if we could just mobilize those people to do something with their time and try to be a part of changing that situation, it will open the their mind and also other doors of opportunity for them.”
We work with universities, single moms, high school students, the unemployed and many others who WANT to do something, but have simply lacked training or an opportunity. We put them through some basic training and provide opportunities for these people to be a part of changing their community in practical ways, by mobilizing them to less-reached areas outside of Goma and allowing them to volunteer within their communities or communities they’ve never set foot in before.
This opportunity provides a sense of camaraderie, encouragement and professional experience that will build their experience-level and confidence to generate new ideas within their own spheres of influence. It also provides a network of other people from varying generations, tribes, socio-economic classes and denominations for members to have accountability and support.
Now, with this newly purchased Land Cruiser, we will be able to take larger teams from the GCC, mobilizing them as volunteers and workers in the harvest within the three locations that we operate in. We are thankful for the generous donors who’ve sowed their prayers and finances into helping purchase this vehicle. You’ve sowed into more than just a vehicle; you’ve sowed into mobilizing a solid team of disciples bringing peace, development, innovation and long-term change within themselves and the communities in which we work. Again, thank you. We truly don’t know the impact made until together we see in eternity.