In the World's Worst War: Grassroots Peacemakers!
Ten new Village Peace Committees (VPCs) have just been established in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where an ongoing, brutal civil war--the deadliest war since WW 2--ravages a country and her people.
In a previous blog called "Gathering Around the Peace Table" I wrote about the grassroots peacemakers (VPCs) I met in the DRC who are nonviolently resolving local conflicts day after day after day. You can learn more about these peacemakers in a Christianity Today article here.
For the past two years, twenty-two VPCs have been serving local communities in the epicenter of Congo's worst fighting. Now, ten more communities will receive the gift of peacemakers. Each VPC is made up of ten pastors, women leaders and youth leaders who have been trained by World Relief Congo in the principles and practices of conflict transformation. To ensure greater influence among the communities they serve, the VPCs are made up of people from different tribes and denominations, as well as of both genders and various ages.
In a country where there is no rule of law, the VPCs have become the only justice system people can depend on, effectively settling disputes and nurturing a spirit of unity among villagers. Why is this so important? Because when outside rebels enter a village, they expect to find divided, hostile people they can co-opt into their self-serving causes and lure onto the path of violence. But wherever the VPCs have been active, the rebels find instead a village united and committed to nonviolence and the way of peace. While international powers have failed to establish peace from the top down in the DRC, grassroots peacemakers are building it from the bottom up.
Of course, we must continue to advocate for effective international engagement in Congo, and pray with prophetic imagination for peace for all Congolese. But let's also take a moment to celebrate what's worth celebrating: the amazing grassroots peacemakers. As they live out the principles of the Kingdom of God, they are bringing hope to Congo!
You can learn more about the effective work of World Relief Congo--and the Congolese people I have come to know and love--at www.tenforcongo.com.