War-torn, rebel-ridden, poor and down-trodden Goma: It's hard to believe that things can get worse for the vulnerable communities in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). After refugee camps closed across the DRC and in neighboring countries on the eve of the country's 50th independence anniversary, groups of stunned and, again, displaced people congregated to form makeshift communities.
Here is an extract from the account of Hands at Work founder, George Snyman's, first visit to the area a little more than a year ago: "The eight-year, bloody war has been over for seven years, but the fighting continues. Despite this, the government which is celebrating its 50th year of independence, has closed most of the refugee camps scattered across the eastern provinces of the DRC leaving millions of people homeless. Left with little choice, refugees are returning to their burned-down, vandalized towns often without family members. Stunned, groups of people - unrelated other than sharing the same adversity - congregate to from huddles of make-do communities." (Read a second letter about Goma here.)
One such community is called Luhonga. It is remote, poor and extremely vulnerable. George and Hands at Work DRC representative, Erick Rukang, made a follow-up trip to this community a few months ago and started work in the area. Erick is presently back in Luhonga and found the village awash with a cholera outbreak. Known for his compassion towards suffering children, he wrote a letter to the Hands at Work Hub yesterday:
We found the village of Luhonga in a big crisis. The entire village is in profound distress, but they were strengthened when they saw us. One care worker lost her child in this incident.
The Luhonga people were very grateful for George's last visit. They said that if he did not come at that particular time, teaching about emergency medication to fight diarrhoea, all the children could have died at this time; perhaps even the entire village! So far only one child has died though the clinic is full of patients laying everywhere, even on the floor. Almost everyone--from the leaders to the children--has been affected. Tomorrow [Monday, 31 October] we will look for a way to purify the water.
We are so grateful for your prayer support. Your prayers are effective: It is amazing to see children surviving in such critical conditions, a situation of desperation. All the people are frightened because of death on their doorstep, especially in light of the other challenges they are facing.
We invite you to intercede with us for all those residing in Lahonga: the widows, orphans, leaders, clinic staff and Hands at Work representatives. Let's pray for no more deaths, for a quick and effective intervention, for wisdom and strength for Erick and his team, and that God will use this seemingly hopeless situation to transform and strengthen the community.
Greetings Prayer Warriors
For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake His faithful ones. They will be protected forever. Psalm 37:28
Thank you so much for your prayers for the family and friends of Hands. Bind us together Lord, bind us together in love.
Today we need prayer for:
Nello Regusa (Hopes and Dreams) Australia - He has had a total hip replacement. Pray for complete healing and strength for mobility.
For the bookkeepers, Mary and Luckson, as they learn new ways to keep their books and do the finances for their service centers.
Mentoring George (field coordinator) and Ruth (administrator) to be able to be effective in the service center. Several communities where there is huge potential for growth this year.Pray that the churches will take on the Biblical mandate to care for the orphans and widows and that the care workers will have the heart for it.
Pray for a bank account to be opened in Lagos. This is urgently needed. Pray for favour with the Nigerian International Affairs Office in regard to Hands Family and partners having an open door to come to Nigeria.
Pray for long term intensive training for volunteers. Pray that the right leaders will be identified, pray for volunteers that will have compassion for the orphans and wisdom to identify those in need. As to date we have no funds available and trust for financial aid required for the training.
In God we trust.
Hello prayer advocates,
Today on World AIDS Day we think of all mothers and fathers who have passed away due to AIDS, leaving behind broken families and orphaned children. And we ask you to lift up in prayer the broken families and, in particular, any orphaned children that you personally know of.
Ask the Lord to help your church be an example of the Lord’s love for orphans as written in Psalm 10:17-18, “The helpless put their trust in You. You are the defender of orphans Lord, You know the hopes of the helpless. Surely You will listen to their cries and comfort them. You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so people can no longer terrify them.”
Today we’d also like you to stand in prayer for our family in Zambia. Below is a letter from them:
Thank you for wrestling in prayer with us. May the Lord remember you for all this work and we pray that the He strengthens you and gives you deep insight as you spearhead His work.
Here are some of the things that we’d like to bring before our Lord:
- Please pray for unity and understanding in everything and for everyone. In particular in our 3 Hands at Work offices in Zambia: Kitwe, Luanshya and Kabwe, in the communities that those 3 offices support, and in our Regional Support Team located in Luanshya, Zambia that supports our Zambia, Malawi and D.R.C. offices.
- Pray that because of God’s mercy, He will continue to provide caregivers and counselors for children who have been orphaned. Pray also for those children who have been abandoned and abused that they would find courage to open up to a loving caregiver or counselor and in doing so find healing.
- Please pray for wisdom and zeal for all the Hands at Work team in Zambia
- Also pray for God's guidance as the team moves forward in new areas in Zambia
- Pray for Todd, Katie, Alicia, Tyler, Chris, Morgan and Margie (6 Canadian + 1 South African mid-term volunteers) who are in the region visiting, encouraging and providing support where they can.
- Lastly pray for more international partners and individuals with generous and willing hearts in order that we may find support to care for all the children in the communities we are currently working in.
Thanks and may the Lord be with you.
This week please join with us in prayer for Mozambique.
We praise God that after years of delays and challenges the registration of Hands at Work as a foreign NGO in Mozambique is within view. Also we thank God for His provision in finding a Hands at Work office and accommodation for visitors and volunteers in Chimoio, Mozambique – which is a larger center than where we were previously located now we also have high speed internet!
Please stand with us in prayer for:
- The work in Mozambique among the poorest-of-the-poor.
- Carlos, Manuel and Timossee and their families as they transition to community leadership roles.
- Those serving in the communities of Gondola, Nhamatanda , Amatongas and Dondo and their families.
- For Abel, who is the coordinator for Dondo community. He and his 2 small children are grieving the death of wife and mother who recently passed away.
- Dara, an American volunteer who is serving in our office in Chimoio and going through the process of adopting a child from Mozambique, that nothing will stand in the way of God’s will and for Dara and Nede’s (her adopted daughter) for their new mother-and-daughter relationship.
- Marc Damour, a Canadian volunteer who is managing many projects in the area.
- Our ongoing relationships with all those whom we are serving in Mozambique.
Thank you for your ongoing prayers! Check our prayer room daily for updates this week as we prepare for our 24 hour time of dedicated prayer.