Face to face with child soldiers

7/14/2011 01:06:00 PM sendtheroths 3 Comments

Congo’s war has produced scores of child soldiers: children between age 7-18 fighting on the frontlines.

God spoke to us about working with these children last year. Now, the work has finally begun.

We just returned from a 5 day trip to Masisi, sleeping in tents. Masisi is an area we were unable to access last year (and the year before), because the war was raging so badly.  It’s an area many Congolese, including some of our own teammates are still too afraid to go.

After the meeting, we met with a few local leaders who told us they knew where we could find child soldiers (also called the demobilized.) So the next day, we went to the surrounding villages and met with them.

We met with children who have come out of the militia as recently as a few months ago. Some of them were as young as 13-years-old. All they wanted was money—they were in complete survival mode.  Some of them were so angry, others were quiet-- hiding some of the darkest secrets mankind has to offer.

Andrew would talk to them and it was as if a cloud had settled over their minds, disabling them to hear anything we had to say. It was a sobering reality that set in....We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.

While other mzungus would find our time with the ex-militia discouraging, I didn’t! I had one of those rare moments in life that day… Where I felt like I belonged. There was no other place I would’ve rather been, then with those boys.

The next day, about 7 more child soldiers showed up at our base camp in the morning. They had heard that missionaries were in the area, looking for them: the demobilized. So they came to our camp at about 10 a.m.

Our team was flustered and tired after spending 4 days in the bush. Andrew was sleeping in the truck, because he had a long, complicated drive ahead of him. I was washing dishes after making African Tea for everyone. Most of our Congolese teammates had gone to the market to buy tons of green bananas to bring home (evidently, bananas are cheaper in Masisi.) Clarence was hacking out a lung from all the dust that he was unaccustomed to.

I hustled to finish the dishes and switched gears from ‘cook’ to minister. My dress was wet, my hair and face was so dirty and the camp was half put together.

I sat on my knees and looked at each of the boys in the eyes. And told them that we had a message for them.

“God is not angry with you,” I said.

I made eye contact with each one of them and smiled as wide as I could, while I told them the good news of Jesus.

I told them that we didn’t have much to give them—actually nothing at that time, but God sent us to Congo for them.

“When I look at you, I don’t see child with a gun, I don’t see a rapist, I don’t even see a child,” I said. “I see men with telling stories that can change the world.”

I saw them as Christ saw them and unlike most people—I wasn’t afraid.

Some of them looked down, in shame. Others had faces as cold as stone. I got up and shook their hands and rubbed their shoulders and prayed over them.

I’ve never wanted to be a mother more in life then that very moment. Yes, a mother to the rapists, the orphans, the unruly, the dangerous, the degenerate.  I wanted to mother that. All I could do for now though, is be a messenger.

I’m not really sure what God has in store with the ex-militia of Congo. But I know that Andrew and I will play a part in it. He’s spoken to us clearer then day. He’s brought us to them and he’s brought them to us.

The plan has been set through weeping and groaning in prayer—now it’s time for the blood and sweat.

We are only at the beginning.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this. It's amazing the eyes that God sees us through-- not as horrible, miserable failures-- but those with potential in Christ. So glad He has passed the vision onto you. Praying and thinking of you guys.

  2. Wow, powerful. It will be amazing to see what God has planned for you!!

  3. Yes, yes, yes! Truly the love of Christ thru simple servants, like you both, is the most powerful healing medicine on earth. So glad that you can be there, being His hands and His feet and His heart!