“My prayer is that you will make a gift and bless the work of those Church Mission Society local partners like myself, who are working to help God’s people in the worldwide church.”
I am Reverend Bisoke Balikenga, a minister in the Anglican Church of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
I am also a local partner with Church Mission Society and my calling is with young people.
As it is here in Congo, the people’s hearts and hands are willing, but their churches are poor and cannot provide all the resources for the work that people need.
For me in Congo it is Church Mission Society that has helped my work to grow.
I work in 12 dioceses in the Democratic Republic and Congo-Brazzaville and my team of youth leaders is almost 200 people; we are always busy!
We are doing work now with 144 young women at a new centre 11km from Bunia.
For these ladies it is hard. Many of them came to Bunia from Kivu, an area north of Bunia where rebel groups have been terrorising the communities.
Many of the women have been raped and some have children.
They have been rejected by their families; it is wrong but it is what happens.
They have trauma, but no way to support themselves and they have no schooling or qualifications they can use to go and find work in some other place.
They are women like M who was raped and has a child that she did not plan. We are taking care of ladies like her.
So there are many challenges, but in God’s mercy there are good things also.
Our land near Bunia is calm and quiet and young women like M can live near the centre. They have a family who looks after them. Sometimes it is a family we find to host them, sometimes there are relatives who can care for them.
But this is for now; the future we expect for them is to learn and we support them so that they will be able to support themselves.
One thing we are doing is helping the women to begin a small business for themselves. So we give the women a portion of land they can use to grow vegetables like sweet potatoes, which they can sell and earn a little money from.
It is in ways like this that we try to give these young women hope for the future.
I have learned a lot since Church Mission Society helped me study in Kenya with my wife, and afterwards with the mercy of God, each of us asked ourselves, what now can I do to change the life of God’s people?
Since then Church Mission Society has encouraged and supported me, and opened ways for me to help people. With them too I can share my experience with others in Africa, not because I think I know more, but because I now see that God’s work is needed everywhere and that we must help each other.
I pray you will bless my work with these young women near Bunia.
Bless also the work of other local partners who have or who need support from Church Mission Society’s local partner programme.
We are all working as you are, as brothers and sisters in God’s worldwide church.
God be with you too.
Rev Bisoke Balikenga