Taking back the Children of War

9/02/2012 11:36:00 AM sendtheroths 0 Comments

"These children that we see during the day are going to kill people at night" –a resident of Masisi territory

Re-recruitment of Child Soldiers
I never thought that while rebel leaders are recruiting massive amounts of child soldiers, we would be out there anti-recruiting those same children.

Rebel leader, Janvier, has made a call for soldiers (many of them children) to pick arms again and begin to fight in his Mai Mai faction: a rebel group in Congo that is particularly known for how they wage war through spiritual powers.

‘You can shoot at them, but the bullet’s won’t kill them. It’s as if you are shooting at water.’ Congolese say when explaining the group’s name—Mai Mai—that is short for the word water.

We planned to return to Masisi (Mkwohwa and Bonde in particular) to organize documents, pictures and paperwork for the 135 demobilized child soldiers we’ve discovered within that area while hosting a soccer outreach. But just before leaving Goma, we were told that we are going to be with the children that are going back in the militia very soon.

“So, you’re saying that these children might be re-recruited?” I asked.

“No, I’m saying that these children will be recruited or taken by force this week. It’s a fact.” Our translator told us. He continued to tell me about the rebel leader’s declaration to reorganize his army and begin to launch a ‘revolution’.

Divine Discouragements Almost nothing went as planned during this trip. It took longer to enter the villages due to legal documentation. It was storming, so our hopes of doing soccer outreach were dashed.  

The village leaders, who were supposed to be helping, were making the situation more difficult. Our Toyota was blocked for three hours by other aid vehicles that got stuck in the deep mud—a sign that rainy season is underway.

Anti-recruiting God allowed us to get there through the troubles for what?


We were able to gather the former child soldiers in a small building and deliver this message: God is calling them away from war.

One team member, Euclide Mugisho who had been forced into the army as a child told them his testimony. He clearly stated that they cannot go back to their past. God knows them, sees them and will protect them if they choose to trust in Him. It was a timely word.

He who wants peace must prepare for war.
That’s what they say here in Congo.

The truth is this. He who wants peace must learn to forgive.

Right Now
These kids are being captured, recruited and trained to be killers again. I’m so sobered by this reality. While we may have brought the word of God; we may have been messengers of peace, the truth is that there is a lot of work to do. If we, (not just Andrew and I—but the Church) intend to protect these children from the bloodbath that awaits, we must also give our blood, sweat and tears to create a solid network of leaders, who will not just run a program, but will give the LOVE that changes the atmosphere of an entire region.

We believe this is possible. But the Congolese are far from believing it or even understanding it. We need to pray, pioneer and persevere to take back these children of war and nurture them to being children of Peace.

Andrew and I are organizing this program right now. More updates to come soon.