Today, we share a special prayer update from Dr. David Kasali in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Please intercede with us for the people of Congo, especially as violence has erupted in the Beni area, where David and his wife Kaswera lead the Congo Initiative.
The most populous country in Francophone Africa, the DR Congo is home to nearly 92 million people from 250 ethnic groups. Approximately 94% of Congolese are Christians: 30% Catholic, 27% Protestant, and 37% other Christian (mostly Evangelical). Sixteen years after the Second Congo War (1998-2003), armed conflict among faction groups continues in the northeast. Ongoing violence has exacerbated food insecurity, driven hundreds of thousands from their homes, and prolonged the Ebola crisis, which has claimed over 2,000 lives since August 2018.
After completing his PhD in New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 1993, David returned to the faculty at Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (Kenya), where he later served as President for eight years. Following the Second Congo War – which involved nine countries and 20 armed groups, and left over five million dead and displaced another two million – David and his wife Kaswera sensed God’s call to return home.
In 2005, David and Kaswera founded Congo Initiative (CI), a holistic ministry that brings together church, government, education, and healthcare leaders working to rebuild communities and rekindle hope in the DR. Congo. In 2007, Congo Initiative founded the Christian Bilingual University of Congo (UCBC), which has enrolled over 150 new students in this academic year. Committed to promoting reconciliation and strengthening communities, the school trains Christian women and men to serve faithfully across all sectors of society.
David is the recipient of the 2014 ScholarLeader of the Year Award. He and the Congo Initiative Team share the following message:
We ask for your intercession on behalf of Beni. Our town has been brutally attacked twice in six days. The armed group that has been killing civilians in the Beni territory since 2014 has made incursions into the town of Beni and into our neighboring town of Oicha, killing over 75 of the most vulnerable inhabitants over the last three weeks. On November 24, one of the members of our contractor’s construction crew, the son of one of our campus guards, was killed in his neighborhood near our main campus.
These attacks come in the midst of a major military offensive, aiming to take out bases that this armed group had established in the forest east of Beni. Unfortunately, the army’s victories in the forest have not been able to dismantle the armed group or prevent their violent reprisals on civilians. Citizens are furious and their protests this last week have also turned violent. Three lives have been lost this way, too. Today, security forces were unable to contain protesters, who set fire to the Mayor’s Office in Beni and one of the major UN peacekeeper bases, forcing an evacuation of UN personnel to their airport base. This demonstrates the anger of a frightened population that does not trust security forces to protect them.
In another tragedy, a small plane owned by a local airline crashed on its way from Goma to Beni on November 24, and over 25 people lost their lives. Four of them were civil and local government leaders from the Beni territory who were strategic partners of our Bethesda Counseling Center and our Sharing the Land program.
We ask for your prayers because we know our God is bigger than this destruction and loss of life. Nothing is hidden from our God. Though we do not see clearly, we choose to believe that this chapter is not the end of the story for Beni. Indeed, our risen Savior has spoken: “Behold, I am making all things new.” We know we are called to be a part of that new story. Join us in bringing these requests before His throne:
- Protection of civilians in Beni and Oicha, including the Congo Initiative community. We have temporarily suspended activities for the safety of students and staff.
- Complete dismantling of the armed group causing destruction.
- Wisdom and dialogue among civil and military authorities who are responsible for protecting the city and responding to violent protestors.
- Comfort and grace for grieving families.
- God’s name to be known and glorified.
In Christ alone,
David M. Kasali