War and peace: How one person can make a difference
by Ian Shaw, Langham Partnership, UK
lecturer at the University Shalom
Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo
Meeting Isaac Mbabazi is a stark reminder of ‘Africa’s World War’, little reported in the West, but which in the years after 1998 has claimed over 5 million lives, either casualties or those dying of the disease and starvation which have followed it. Isaac’s country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been tragically torn apart by conflict over recent decades. Many in Congo who have suffered so much are now turning to the churches for help with the process of reconciliation and are searching for hope.
Christians need to be equipped to provide answers to these profound issues. Isaac Mbabazi, a lecturer at the University Shalom, a Christian University in Bunia, Congo, chose to undertake research into the passages in the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus teaches about forgiveness and reconciliation. His work will prove a vital resource for Congolese churches in this war-ravaged country, in which millions have died and others have disappeared, leaving their families desperately seeking news as to whether they are alive or have been killed.
Isaac was supported by Langham Partnership in his research at the University of Manchester, which led to the award in 2011 of a PhD in New Testament studies. He has now returned to his lecturing post in Bunia, in North-East Congo where Shalom University is growing rapidly. The call for well-trained Christian leaders in Congo is urgent, as Isaac shared: ‘The country both needs and seeks conscious leaders: people who can make a difference; people with a burden for turning those challenges into opportunities!’ Isaac is also a leader in a local Christian Brethren church, and regularly broadcasts on Christian radio in Congo.
In a war-ravaged country like DRC, just one person like Isaac can make a huge difference to the well-being of church and society.