Monday, November 03, 2008

Haunted but not without hope

The nature of rape is such that it can never just unfold itself on the page; it confronts its reader by asking him or her to bear witness to mankind’s wickedness in its most horrific form. Those who embrace the full reality of the Persecuted Church will be regularly confronted by reports of rape as a weapon against followers of the Christian faith. Last week’s edition of The Persecution and Prayer Alert, for example, contained an update on two young Christian sisters, Aneela and Saba, who were kidnapped, raped and forcibly married to Muslim men (one sister remains in captivity). Then there is the case of Sister Meena, the nun who was raped by Hindu militants in Orissa, India and who bravely spoke up about her assault last month (as you can see, we've discussed her case in a few recent weblogs).

There are many different prayer requests that can be made for these sisters. Right now I feel compelled to say a specific prayer that the Lord brings people into their lives who can give them the care they need as they recover from their brutal assaults. It's not just their physical care I pray for, as they will need to be healed and restored on many levels. However, this request was sparked by a newspaper article about a medical professional who cares for victims of rape.

The article describes the work of Dr. Mukwege, a doctor in The Democratic Republic of the Congo who specializes in treating women who have been raped by militias. Mukwege, whose father was a Pentecostal Pastor, has treated approximately 21,000 women—most of whom have been raped multiple times while in captivity. This staggering number haunts me even as I type simply because of what it proves about the severity of sexual violence in the Congo. For the two weeks since I read this article, its facts, figures and images have been floating around in my mind along with stories of Christian women who have been targeted for their faith. These are the kind of truths that can keep you up at night in a haze of anger and sadness and horror.

But, even though the facts in Dr. Mukwege's story can be haunting, I know that, as with the persecution stories we receive, I am blessed by having read it, not burdened. Dr. Mukwege's life and work testify to God’s ability to lead people to do His work even among the most afflicted. I’ll probably think of him when I pray for those who have been the victims of sexual violence because of their Christian faith and remember how the Lord guides dedicated and Christ-centered individuals—doctors, pastors, church leaders—to reach out to the broken. Praise God for that—and for the many ways in which He makes clear to us that even when we are at times haunted and horrified by the sufferings of this world we are never, not for one second, without His supreme and sustaining hope.


Anonymous said...

Adele - i read this post, and wanted to make you aware of a documentary that has just come out (preimered in Philadelphia on 10/26) called "Women in Warzones." The documentary is about Panzi hospital, the doctors there including Dr. Mukwege, and the women who are suffering. I know of this film as the director is currently working for me - producing a documentary on the church in North India, focused on the dalit community and persecution they are suffering, but also the work of church planting and training that is mushrooming. It is for a mission work I am involved with, and of which I direct the U.S. wing. The filmmaker's name is Brad LaBriola, the company is Made Known, LLC. If you are interested in getting to see this film, I am in regular contact with Brad, or could connect you. I have seen it - and it is very powerful. - Josh Guzman

Adele Konyndyk said...

Josh - Thanks for bringing the film to my attention. It sounds very powerful indeed and something that I'd be interested in viewing. I see the film has an official site -- if you'd rather not post contact info here, I'd also be willing to try and connect with Brad that way.