What does "community" mean when "home" is ever-changing? In the Democratic Republic of Congo, almost three million people are refugees, internally or externally displaced due to war. One of them is Denis, our Country Director, who was forced to flee to Goma in 1994. Twenty years later, people are still fleeing violence. Just this month, 10,000 people led to the opening of a new camp for DRC refugees in Rwanda. And some 60,000 residents of a country most of us have never heard of until recently - the Central African Republic - have fled to places in the Congo that were themselves overrun by violence just a few short years ago.
Displacement brings challenges. It is always abrupt and involuntary. "Home" becomes a memory. "Community" becomes uncontrollable and uncomfortable - even life-shattering. Parents worry about their child's education. Pastors work to foster order and peace. Families try to create an environment that will do as a home for now while dreaming of a home for the future.
Here is where community matters most.
Early in his career, Country Director Denis Hangi was sent to a village and a church that were "falling apart." From this "failing" core grew 15 churches, a farm that funded housing for each family, a coffee company to support the church, and cows, goats, and sheep to provide pay for the pastors.
In this village that was "falling apart," "community" was found in a life-giving, vision-sharing, Gospel-centered local church. The church was at the center; it was the common ground that gave life to the community.
As we work with Denis, his pastors, students, and communities to build Common Grounds with Congo, we invite you to help create community for a country of people robbed of home - the 10,000 people moving into the new refugee camp, the 60,000+ pouring into DRC from CAR, and thousands more.
So, what does "community" mean when "home" seems lost? It means everything.
Find your Common Ground: You can read more about the new refugee camp here; about life as a refugee in DRC here; and about Common Grounds with Congo here. To be a part of Common Grounds with Congo, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.