Love and Anger

I’m not sure where the line between when anger ends and rage begins, but I know that I’ve found myself dancing on that line more often than not as an adult.

I would even say that my anger has been more frequent and more intense as I have matured in love.

I love my husband.
I love my country.
I love the Church.
I love my pastor.
I love the underdogs and the misfits in this world.
I love equity and justice.
I love deep, real and raw talks.
I love words.

But yet these are all things that I have gotten particularly angry with or about, even to the point of rage. There is an interesting paradox to being a person who works to end violence in a region (that has been plagued with violence for more than 20 years) and yet has a temper that can easily (if left unchecked) erupt into violence.

I have prayed, confessed and have even been angry with myself for being angry at times. Praying away my anger has never helped. Hiding my anger has never helped.

“In your anger, do not sin. ” Ephesians 4:26 

I’ve come to the conclusion that anger is often an outflow of love that most people (even myself) have struggled to control.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22

It’s okay to be angry about the young mother who died early because the hospital didn’t have the proper materials to deliver the baby.
It’s okay to be angry about when the Church makes rock stars out of people, while leaving others who really need love and attention sitting in the back row.
It’s okay to be angry about the fact that something can be inhibiting my ability to understand (or be understood by) the people I love most in this world.
It’s okay to be angry enough to want to show that bully what it feels like to be in another person’s shoes.

Anger is not a sin. Anger is instead like gasoline. It can be used to fuel an engine or it can be used to destroy an entire building. Anger and love are two sides to the same coin. It is an emotion that occurs when true love is being inhibited. …by injustice …by miscommunication …by mistrust anything.

There are days that I get so angry that as they say in Congo, I can “burn the whole house down.” The worst part about it? Sometimes it’s hard for me to even process where the anger is coming from.
But I’m learning that the root of anger is love. Some of the angriest people that I know are the most passionate people who feel deeply, think deeply and love deeply.

This is a gift and not a curse. It is necessary that we know how to use this gift though—to channel this anger into positive action and rather than violence and coercion.

Yesterday, I was angry because I want to understand the people I work with and I want to be understood by them. But that doesn’t happen overnight. Instead of hurting them with harsh words (Proverbs 15:1)--I must channel that anger into taming my tongue, thinking from other perspectives and continuing to try no matter how misunderstood I can feel—or how much I can misunderstand others.

Anger is a tool. And when used correctly, one of the most powerful tools that I have. Because the same rage that fuels riots and terrorism is also the same rage that moves people to peaceful protest, to stand up for the oppressed and end injustice.

Fires and Planes Shot

I woke up today to this photo and an iMessage from Pastor Euclide.
“Can you believe what is going on here? Fire, fire fire!”

It brought back the memories of 2010 when his house was burnt down along with the church. It was devastating to their family and to the church.

My immediate thought after thinking about everyone’s safety was the church: the instruments, the projector and other equipment that we all have saved to purchase. It would be devastating to start from zero again.

I splashed water on my face, brushed my teeth, threw on some clothes, hopped on my dirt bike and drove to Birere, the little slum in Goma town. Fires occur regularly in Birere for numerous reasons: a stove is left on, poorly installed electrical lines and other preventable reasons. One fire can easily leave more than one hundred already struggling families back at zero.

This is life in slums without building codes, where people live day to day, without running water, overcrowded and unprotected by their government. Yet, in Birere—the Goma slum— it is often safer than living on the outskirts of town where people are more vulnerable to war and violence.

I met men and women standing outside of pastor’s small compound when I arrived. They stood watching things that were moved out of the house in the midst of the chaos. I entered the compound, and to my relief (and of course everyone else's too) pastor's house was fine. But stuff was scattered everywhere… the fire came all the way to his neighbor’s house and burnt everything to the ground. But people from the community came with jerry cans of water and machetes to cut the electrical chords and put out the fire.

If it weren’t for the community, his house would have been completely burnt, just like his neighbor's. 

It was God’s grace working through people in the community—some members of the church and some not.

Just as I began helping to put things back together in his house, Andrew called me with bad news. He was supposed to travel home to Goma from Bunia that morning, but when shooting happened at the airport this week—the plane that he was supposed to fly in was shot! Therefore, his flights were cancelled and he was unable to leave!

Just yesterday, I thought that Lilian (Pastor Euclide’s wife was coming over to bake bread with me), I thought that we would prepare for a gathering that was going on at the church to announce some of the new developments in the New Hope Community: land, Esther Project and other important items to communicate with people. We were planning on having a reception afterward where we can welcome Andrew back from his journey. Then … fires, shooting, canceled flights.

I wish I could say that things like this are abnormal. But they are not.

There’s a dynamic that is often difficult to measure when one studies the life of the ‘poor’ or the ‘forgotten’ within our world. But when one walks with them, it’s easy to see. Life is harder when you are in situations like this—where hard work and faith doesn’t usually measure up.

George Monbiot put it this way, “If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire.”

People who live in Birere (and in places like this, no matter where in the world) face higher degrees of uncertainty and higher risks.

It can take 6 hours to get a couple hundred dollars out of the bank.
You can slowly build your life and it burns down in one day.
One can make plans and work to inform the community and then a catastrophe hits.

My friend who also works with another organization recently told me this, referencing the book Walking with the Poor.

“The community already has a survival strategy. The community has well-established patterns for making sense out of its world and staying alive in it. How often do we think of the poor as experts in their own circumstances? As well-adapted and wise, considering the resources they have to work with? Wouldn't that radically redefine our perspective?”

The governments, the non-government organizations, the powers that be, did not save Pastor Euclide’s house. It was God working through the hands of ordinary people in the community.

I make plans all the time in Congo that are interrupted by crazy things—people dying, bombs, bullets, fires and other things that would be catastrophic for other communities, but are relatively ‘normal’ here. It’s a part of life that has taught me so much and the Congolese continually help me learn to be patient and trust God in the midst of such uncertainty.

This week, the elders of the church visited Pastor’s house and my house to pray God’s protection for us. They believed that some trials would come our way and wanted to dedicate our families and homes to the Lord.

The elders were right. And I wonder… what if they didn’t hear? What if they didn’t pray?

Euclides house did not burn down.
Andrew was fianlly able to find another flight and was home by lunch-time.
Lilian came to my house (after fixing her house) and we baked bread together.

 …because Hope wins …and Hope won again today.

Stark Contrasts: Hope and Violence

We bought a beautiful 80x80 meter plot of land on the outskirts of Goma today. It was just after church members experienced a night filled with heavy gunfire around the church. People were killed, but none of them were members from our church.

I received a text message from Andrew just as we signed the documents for the land.

“Don’t go by the airport today. Lots of shooting and panic.”

I told my Congolese teammates about his message. They said that the shooting and panic already happened. They were there for all of it. But I told them Andrew’s message made it seem like it was ongoing.

When we arrived in Birere, a bustling slum area in Goma where the church is located, the streets were empty. More people were killed. I was even told a story about one of the local prostitutes who was working during the night of the shooting. She was with the soldiers in their camp. When other soldiers came to infiltrate the camp, they took the prostitute and cut her up into pieces.

I can’t help but think that that prostitute did not deserve such a death. She deserved to live, to learn and to love. It makes me more passionate about the Esther Project—a ministry for intergenerational women to learn about their identity in Christ while also learning practical skills training, so that they don’t have to go into a life of prostitution.

Indeed, this was another day of stark contrasts: a day of joy and also a day of sadness. But that’s what hope looks like. It looks like great accomplishment in the midst of suffering. It looks like rejoicing in the midst of mourning. It looks like envisioning an alive and vibrant community in the future, despite that people are sawing off parts of the other peoples bodies presently.

We can’t live ignorant to what is going on here. People are dying and it doesn’t make the news. That prostitute won’t be talked about on CNN, even though she was also a beautiful young woman who was created in the image of God.

But she’ll make it on this blog. She’ll be remembered here. And the thousands of other women who have suffered similar deaths, but never once had it written about. She was someone’s daughter: Someone’s niece: Someone’s friend. Most importantly, she was God’s beloved—and we lost her.

But in the midst of this loss, there is a gain. If we can reach young ladies like her with this land, even before they are forced into such a lifestyle… it will help end a cycle where ladies are so vulnerable that they have to go to work for sex and then end up chopped up like animals.

Hope sees an end. And we see an end to this. This is why, despite the atrocities that surround us… we can go to bed at night with a sigh and say, “I thank God for today.” #TheNewHopeCommunity

How did Rally International Grow Up?

Rally International’s first conception was during Andrew Roth’s second year in college at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Andrew had a heart for adventure and justice along with a renewed passion for Jesus. He also had a background in technical off-roading and a fascination with Africa. He nearly idolized the Land Rover Camel Trophy, the most popular and difficult off-road competition of its time.

During his college years, he had an idea with a number of his college buddies. The organization was called To the Ends of the Earth Ministries - Rally Around Sub-Saharan Africa (TEOTEM-RASSA). The idea was to utilize Land Rovers for technical off-roading and fundraising across the continent of Africa. Similar to run-walk fundraiser, this drive-a-thon would raise money for worthy projects in geographically neglected regions across Africa. He had contacted Land Rover, World Vision and others to gauge interest.

But this idea eventually evolved into Andrew’s time with Overland Missions, which so happened to be founded by the Camel Trophy trainer. During his time there he met his wife Amethyst and they formulated a plan to enter the Democratic Republic of Congo where soon after being married, they left Overland Missions to pioneer a new work in the Congo as independent missionaries.

It was at this newlywed time in their lives that the idea of starting an international nonprofit organization began to resurface. They both decided on calling it “Rally” and use it as a vehicle by which to start the new ministry in Congo. The Roth’s spent two weeks in the fall of 2009 writing governance, a vision statement and strategic plans for the new organization. They also bought website domain names and hosting.

But there was never a true sense of peace.

The vision, even after being written down, seemed incomplete and could not capture any other identity except for that the identity of the writers, which was something that they both didn’t want. The confidence and capability to start the organization wasn’t there. They were too new and lacked the base funding and contacts to really make the organization run well. So, the Roth’s stored their ideas on a hard drive and kept the domain name. They decided that while their decision to start an organization could be the Lord’s voice, the timing was a bit off.

The Roth’s continued to pioneer the work in Congo and eventually found other organizations to work with and channel funding through. All the while, pursuing graduate level education studies, networking and gaining more experience on the field.

During their fifth year of their service overseas, the Roths began brainstorming with foreign and local members of their team: some interns, staff, advisors and financial supporters. There was ongoing talk about forming an alliance between the relationships that were in formation, especially between independent or entrepreneurial ministries. There was also a good deal of talk with western short-term teams about creating options for long-term service in areas like eastern Congo.

After six years of service alone in the Congo, the network in and outside of Congo became particularly large and consisted of notable people. Covenant relationships became an ongoing conversation between the Roths and others who worked alongside them, both stateside and internationally.

One of the most notable relationships was a partnership with a Congolese pastor who had been co-laboring with the Roths for a number of years. But there were always blockages until the end of 2014. All the pieces were put together and the very prayer was, "God close the doors that need to be closed and open the ones that need to be opened."

In the end God did open the doors! He made a way that in less than one month Rally International was set up and registered as a 501C3 in the USA.

We are reminded about the truth in Nehemiah, "Though the vision may tarry, wait for the appointed time and it will surely come to pass."

My Heart is Gripped with Fear

I have learned that when you run with strong leaders, it is incredibly easy to hide behind their strength.

But that was not God's plan for me.

I was married at age 20 and I guess I thought that marriage was God’s reward to me for finding my identity in Him, for standing firm in the vision that He gave me. I felt like it was some kind of reward for passing an exam.

Marriage was a tool. It was another tool that God gave me to put in my tool-belt as I continued to work for Him, but it didn’t mean that I passed any test. Even if I did, it didn’t mean that the battle for my trust in Him was finished.

In actuality, my choice to surround myself with strong people of God would force me into new levels of faith. It would also force me to reconcile parts of myself that I would prefer to avoid.

Insecurity. Pride. Fear.

I just want to be raw and real about the fact that taking on Rally International has put a new level of the fear of the Lord on me.

- When I open my inbox and look at the emails from missionaries, both short-term and long term, who are raising thousands of dollars to dedicate their life to transforming some of the most volatile communities on the earth.

- When I watch Pastor Euclide take the stage at a church or small group meeting and begin to literally rock the walls with his passion and anointing.

- When I roll over in bed and hear the soft utterances of my husband seeking God, asking for wisdom and pleading for people groups around the world.

- When I look at my cell phone and see the list of text messages and phone calls from pastors and spiritual leaders from around the United States. People I never thought that I would have the privilege to rub shoulders with.

- When I open my Facebook and see streams of messages from people in the Congo that I have learned to love with my whole heart asking ‘how is the work?’ ‘we miss you,’ ‘we love you,’ ‘we are praying for you.’

My heart is gripped with fear.
Fear of stepping outside of the shadow of His wings. Fear of leaving the cleft of His rock. Fear of leaning on my own understanding and abilities.

I thought that I learned this lesson years ago, but again, I’m learning that the strength of any ministry that I do is that which comes from my wounds.

I truly am a wounded healer. My leadership is only as real as my desperation is.

We shared at a church in southern California
this week. We arrived in the area just in time to pray
while watching the sun set on the Pacific Ocean. 

Fundraising Part 2: CA to FL

If we're near you, we would love to meet you. Also, if you'd like us to visit your church or small group please contact us at or call Amethyst at 262-309-1902.

Southern California - Feb 16 to 21

Colorado -  Feb 22 to Feb 25
Estes Park - Feb 22
Steamboat Springs - Feb 23-24
Denver - Feb 24-25

Seattle, Washington - Feb 26 to March 1
Feb 26-28 - Seattle area
March 1 - Philadelphia Church - 10AM & 7PM -

Colorado -  March 2 or 2-3
Colorado Springs, CO

Texas - March 2-3 or 3-4
Austin, TX
Houston, TX

Florida - March 5
Orlando, FL