Compassion equals involvement.

The definition of compassion is about involvement. To be compassionate means to get out of the boat of our current circumstances and get into the boats of those who are suffering. We are called to bear the burdens of those who are in need of our companionship-to "weep with those who weep"(Romans 12:15) ~Tom Davis

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A little history...

WARNING: This post may be a little "graphic" for some. I wanted to give a little history about the reality that the Democratic Republic of Congo is facing. I took this story from another blog entitled 'Saving the Congo Children'. However, I have been reading this everywhere. I do hope that some of you will read further and open your eyes to this tragic reality. It also may explain another reason why my heart is so strongly burdened for the "fatherless". I can no longer remain ignorant to what is happening in our world. Nor can I ignore what God has called our family to do, as well as what he has called every other Christian to do, to look after the orphans in their distress. And although what you are about to read is very sad and disturbing, that fact is, if we keep ignoring it, things like this will keep happening, and they will only get worse.

The Congo War(The Africa World War):

This is the story of the deadliest war since Adolf Hitler's armies marched across Europe-a war that has not ended. But is the story of a trail of blood that leads directly to you: to your remote control, to your mobile phone, to your laptop and to your diamond necklace. In the TV series Lost, a group of plane crash survivors believe they are stranded alone on a desert isle until one day they discover a dense metalic cable leading out into the ocean and the world beyond. The Democratic Republic of Congo is full of those cables, mysterious connections that show how a seemingly an isolated tribal war is in reality something different.
This war has been dismissed as an internal African implosion. ln reality it is a battle for coltan, diamonds, cassiterite and gold destined for sale in London, New York and Paris. lt is a battle for the metals that make our technological society vibrate and ring and bling.
This - the tale of a short journey into the long Congolese war we in the West have fostered, fuelled and funded - is a story about you.

Rapes Within Rapes

It starts with a ward full of women who have been gang-raped and then shot in the vagina. I am standing in a make shift ward in the Panzi hospital in Bukavu, the only hospital that is trying to deal with the bush fire of sexual violence in eastern Congo. Most have wrapped themselves deep in their blankets so I can only see their eyes staring blankly at me. Dr. Denis Mukwege is speaking. "Around 10 percent of the gang-rape victims have had this happen to them," he says softly, his big hands tucked into his white coat." We are trying to reconstruct their vaginas, their anuses, their intestines. lt is a long process."
We walk out into the courtyard and he begins to explain- in the national language, French- the secret history of this hospital. "We started with a catrostrophe and we just couldn't understand," he says softly. One day early in the war, the Unicef medical van he was using was looted. Coincidentally, a few days later, a woman was carried here on her grandmother's back after an eight-hour trek." l had never seen anything like it. She had been gang-raped and then her legs had been shot to pieces. I operated on her on a table with no equipment and no medicine." She was only the first. "We suddenly had so many women coming in with post-rape lesions and injuries I could never had imagined. Our minds couldn't take in what these women had suffered.

321 civilians killed in 2009 massacre in Congo

DAKAR, Senegal – At least 321 civilians were killed in a previously unreported massacre in Congo in late 2009, while villagers that escaped their rebel captors were sent back with their lips and ears cut off as a warning to others of what would happen if they tried to talk, according to an investigation by a human rights group.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said in its report released Saturday that at least 250 more people were abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army rebels during the attack in the Makombo area of northeastern Congo, including no less than 80 children.

Human Rights Watch's senior Africa researcher, Anneke Van Woudenberg, called the massacre "one of the worst ever committed by the LRA in its bloody 23-year history."

Yet the killing spree, which occurred from Dec. 14 to 17 in at least 10 villages, had gone unreported for months.

The majority of those killed were men who were tied up, some bound to trees, before being hacked to death with machetes or having their skulls crushed with axes. A 3-year-old girl was burnt to death, according to the report.

The rebels then abducted many of the children and women, who were forced to march to a town over 60 miles (96 kilometers) away. Those that walked too slowly were executed and villagers told the rights group that they found bodies all along the trail from Makombo to the town of Tapili in northern Congo.

The Lord's Resistance Army is considered one of Africa's most brutal rebel armies, and its leaders are the subject of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant. Originally based in Uganda, the rebels were pushed into the area straddling the northern Congolese border with Central African Republic. The 2009 massacre is only the most recent of a pattern of atrocities.

Exactly a year earlier, after the governments of the region attacked an LRA position, the rebels retaliated by killing at least 865 civilians during the Christmas 2008 holiday season, according to Human Rights Watch.

The attack three months ago was especially horrific. Children abducted by the rebels were forced to execute other children who had disobeyed the rebels. In several instances documented by the rights group, the children were ordered to form a circle around their victim and take turns hitting the child on the head with a heavy object until the child died.

Adults were mutilated and sent back to their villages to act as a visual warning to those that might have considered alerting authorities.

In one instance the rebels cut off the lips and an ear of six victims who were sent back "with a chilling warning to others that anyone who heard or spoke about the LRA would be similarly punished," says the report.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lots of exciting changes!!

I don't have alot of time to write a long post right now, but I wanted to update everyone on the recent changes that are happening.

As of my last blog we were reconsidering our decision with Ethiopia due to changes in the traveling. Since then, we have began researching other countries to see which one would be the best fit for us, as well as maintain our mission and calling of reaching those that are in the greatest need.

Well, we have officially chosen another country. We will be adopting from the Democratic Republic of Congo! This is a large country in the center of Africa. There is a HUGE need in this country! There are over 5 million orphans who are in need of homes! I would like to share more about the state of the country right now, but I am pressed for time. I will save that for my next blog post.

We also had to switch agencies because the agency that we were with does not work with Congo. We found a very small but reputable agency that we are now working with. We just mailed in our application along with the application fee. Our homestudy is being scheduled for the second week of May and should be completed by the end of May. After that, our wait time will begin. The adoption process in Congo is VERY fast! Although the country is rapidly gaining momentum, we are expecting that our child will be coming home by no later than December. Although, alot of unexpected things can come up with adoption. So the time frame could be shorter or longer. The estimated wait time right now with this agency is 4-7 months from beginning to end! I am praying that our child will be home before the holidays!!

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, there are more boys available than girls. And since we are fully open to the possibility of a boy, this will decrease our wait time and mean that we will VERY likely receive a boy! We are planning to adopt a 2-3 year old. Our agency works with an orphanage that does not allow parents to adopt an infant unless they are "childless". We are completely fine with adopting a slightly older child. But the oldest that the child will be is 3.

We have started researching alot about the country as well as what we need to be prepared for in regards to adopting a slightly older child.

Needless to say, we are VERY excited and can't wait to meet our little boy soon!

Please pray for our family, and specifically for our daughter. I want to make sure that she is prepared for the changes that are about to happen. Also, please pray that God will provide the finances when they are needed for this adoption. The cost to adopt from Congo is roughly $17,000. It is a lot less than the other countries that we have researched, which is a blessing. But $17,000 is still a LOT of money that we need to come up with.

I will try to post another blog soon to keep everyone posted. This adoption will be moving faster than we anticipated, which we are thrilled about. But we are still a little nervous. We want to make sure that God will bring in the finances and that we will be fully prepared.

Until then.....