This week, Dr. George Pirwoth Atido shares his prayer requests. Please join us in prayer for him and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
With nearly 92 million people (94% Christian) from 250 ethnic groups, the DR Congo is the most populous country in Francophone Africa. Since the Second Congo War (1998-2003), which left over five million dead and two million displaced, dozens of rebel groups continue to terrorize the country’s northeastern regions of Ituri and Kivu. Multigenerational ethnic rivalries, greed over “blood diamonds” and other “conflict minerals,” extreme food insecurity, and political turmoil fuel the worsening crisis. Ongoing violence, including attacks on medical clinics, has exacerbated the country’s Ebola crisis, a global emergency that has already killed over 1,600 people.
George serves as President of Shalom University of Bunia, a client school of the Vital SustainAbility Initiative. Established in 1961, Shalom University seeks to train “future leaders of integrity,” who are “ready to transform their society with spiritual and academic excellence,” through its six faculties in Evangelical Theology (Pastoral Theology, Biblical Theology, Missiology, and Bible Translation), Environmental Sciences, Administration and Management, Development Studies, Agricultural Sciences, and Medicine.
Shalom University is located in Bunia, the capital of the Ituri province, where the fighting is fierce. Vicious tribal conflicts have driven hundreds of thousands from their homes. Shalom University needs prayer as faculty, staff, and students minister amid the Ebola outbreak to those who have fled to refugee camps in Bunia.
George shares the following message:
Many thanks for your concern.
The DR Congo has been affected for several years by social, political, and economic crises. In the last month the area around Bunia has experienced renewed conflict and the displacement of about 300,000 people. Many have again fled into Bunia.
This situation got much more complicated this year with the Ebola epidemic that has now infected over 2,400 people. Responses to the Ebola disease have not been well accepted, especially in the countryside. There have been several attacks on the Ebola response effort by people angry at the way the response has been handled or by groups wanting to destabilize the region.
Cases of Ebola in the region and the recent coming of the Ebola disease to Bunia itself have led many to pray earnestly for God’s protection.
At Shalom University, we have been trying our best to observe hygiene practices, as recommended by health services in Congo and WHO. We have employed a new agent to coordinate obligatory hand washing with water containing disinfectants for everyone at the campus entrance.
We are working to provide vaccines to the university community. The vaccine is free, but we do not have enough. People who have priority to be urgently vaccinated are those who have been in direct contact with the Ebola disease through sick people or people who have died of the disease. People declared to be at high risk are also on the priority list.
We succeeded in getting vaccines to all the Shalom clinic staff, but not their family members. Students and faculty in the Medical Department were also vaccinated. We then negotiated to give vaccines to foreign missionary personnel and their family members. Recently, the University management committee (five people, including myself) received the vaccine, but not our family members.
We continue to pray and negotiate for more vaccines to offer the university community.
Please pray for students whose families are affected by the violence in the countryside, that they can concentrate academically, have adequate finances to pay school fees and living expenses, and have peace in their hearts.
With the recent cases of Ebola, several people may fear coming to Bunia. Our financial audit was conducted this year in Kampala as the auditor from Canada feared traveling up to Bunia. Please pray for solutions to be found as visiting lectureships and student enrollment may be affected by this situation.
Thank you very much,
George Pirwoth Atido