CMSI Partnership Coordinator, Linda Abwa recalls a visit to DR Congo earlier this year as she reflects on the Advent themes of light and hope.
I love the hope expressed in John 1:5: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
For me, there is nowhere that this verse rings more true than for the Congo.
DR Congo is a huge country blessed with natural resources but with a dark history of brutality and violence. Yet in the midst of stories of trauma there are pinpricks of light because of the witness and life of the Church.
I visited Mama Mbambu and Theresa Kasika in North Kivu Diocese in July this year with Stewart Brennan from Milltown Parish. Out of their own childhood traumas, these two women have initiated care for children who have been orphaned by the war. They are two lights shining not only to bring hope to little children but also to the global Church. Through their faithful actions, the light of Christ shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
The long war has left this nation in fear of darkness.
A few nights while I was there, the tension seeped into my thoughts too and I lay awake concerned about what the darkness might bring. But each morning, as the first hint of dawn peeked through the shutters, the tension dissipated and sleep came. By the time the sun was up and family life was underway outside my window, the fears of the night seemed distant and perhaps even a little unnecessary.
In this season of expectant waiting, I think that there is something for us as to pay attention to in the life of Mama Mbambu and Theresa. Let us remember those who continue to spend tense and fearful nights in North Kivu. Let us be inspired that they let their shine their light all the more clearly because of the darkness. Their faithful actions in the midst of darkness point prophetically to the light we are looking for this advent.
May God give each of us and our global partners courage to shine as we await the rise of the morning star this advent and until he comes again.
We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. (2 Peter 1:19)