Progress Amidst War

3/09/2014 01:59:00 PM sendtheroths 0 Comments

One of the counselors receiving his wages.
We listened to Marcellin speak to the group of counsellors and caretakers from the Peacemaker Program. It was probably one of the most fulfilling things we could ever see or hear as missionaries!

"It’s like I’m hearing myself talk, only he's doing better,” Andrew said, turning my way.
“My goodness!” I replied.

It was a moment, where we saw the true fruit of everything that we have been teaching over the past three years. Marcellin got it! And he was contextualizing everything that he had learned to meet the ears of people from the village.

We brought Marcellin, our Leadership and Discipleship Coordinator to Masisi just after rebels finished looting a number of the villages that we work in. This includes the Mukohwa, the village where the Center is being built.

Both the children in our Peacemaker Program and the counselors who work with them ran for the bush. They had just returned a few days before we arrived.

The good news is that everyone one is accounted for. The bad news is that rebels burnt one village, Bukombo, completely to the ground. Bukombo is home to Matata, one of the counselors in our program and twelve of the children in the Peacemaker Program. The rebels burnt the little that they had down, including the school. 

Marcellin doing the introduction to the pilot Phase 1
leadership-training that is launches in Masisi this month.
While rebels continued fighting only seven miles down the road, we talked to the caretakers, met with local church leadership and collected soil samples from our land.

After collecting our children's' report cards, we found that 98 percent of them passed. Just over 25 percent are scoring a B or higher. This was encouraging.

Our counselors requested additional curriculum to go through with the children during their weekly meetings.

“We sometimes read the Bible with them and discuss it, other times we take them out and kick a soccer ball around, other times we discuss issues that they face at home,” said Aime, one of the counselors. But the counselors definitely requested a formal manual that they can go over with their assigned particular group of Peacemakers.

We have known these counselors for nearly two years and walking with them through child protection training, the Empower Program and setting the foundation for the Peacemaker Program--- we have noticed an area that we want to focus on in more depth: their personal lives.

Marcellin taking soil samples to test the soil composition.
This helps determine the best crops for the area. 
It’s one thing to have a program that does A, B and C. It’s another thing to see everyone that is a part of that program living a victorious and sanctified life. We want that for the counselors in Masisi. We know that if they are seeing victory in their personal lives, they will be able to help these children reintegrate better than we could ever.

Starting next month we are doing a pilot Phase 1 leadership-training with the counselors in our program administered primarily by leaders from the Goma Training Center who we have been working with for 3+ years. They have worked tirelessly to reformat the training for illiterate populations and for people who are in the village while also keeping the key principles and concepts.

Mom teaching a card trick to local children in Mukohwa
The leadership training will be integrated with an agricultural project that will help with food sustenance for both the counselors, their families and the children in our program. The agricultural program will be lead by Gisele, our Development Coordinator, who will work hand in hand with Marcellin.

"Our philosophy of change depends on the character of the inner man. Our vision is multidimensional and for this reason, we expect our results to be multidimensional. For this reason, we choose to invest the majority of our time investing in you!"

I remember saying that at our most recent staff training. I'm humbled to see that they are not only walking this out in their own lives, but also bringing it to the war zones.

We were happy to have Mom visit us for two
weeks in Congo. She accompanied us to
Masisi during this trip.