What does persecution look like in the DRC? What is life like for Christians?
The Islamic extremist group Alliance for Democratic Forces (ADF-NALU) is responsible for the persecution of Christians in the eastern part of the country, attacking Christians and churches. The attacks from the ADF and other militant groups in the DRC are why violence is a huge risk for the Christian population and churches in the regions where militants are active. The violence has resulted in more than a million internally displaced people. Additionally, followers of Jesus are at risk for kidnappings and having their homes destroyed.
Converts, both from Islam and from tribal religions, face pressure to take part in non-Christian religious activities and ceremonies. Representatives of the Catholic Church, who publicly urged the government to abide by the constitutionally mandated electoral deadlines, reported they had experienced verbal harassment and interference based on their advocacy—the previous president of the DRC illegally remained in office years after his term was supposed to expire.
Meet Mama Teseli
“It was at night. We heard gunshots everywhere, so we fled … we took nothing with us. [We] live here in the open. No beds, under the rain and sun. It is really difficult. With all this suffering, I just remember what my husband used to say … I tell myself God is in control. He will wipe away my tears. My husband taught me how to read the Word of God, and He tells me to give thanks in all situations, and that is what I do, it helps me.”
Why did the DRC enter the top 50?
The Democratic Republic of the Congo wasn’t even in the top 50 of the World Watch List last year. Its sharp rise reflects the extreme violence inflicted on the Christian community of the DRC. In some parts of the country, Christians are under constant risk of brutal violence, and this is what has pushed the DRC’s rank much higher on the 2021 World Watch List.
Who is most vulnerable to persecution?
Islamic extremists are particularly active in the eastern part of the country. All Christians are at risk in these areas. Additionally, Christians who convert from Islam or from traditional religions (or religions that combine elements of Christianity and animism) may face social, familial and community pressure for their faith.
What does Open Doors do to help Christians in the DRC?
Open Doors helps Christians in the DRC through persecution preparedness training, emergency relief and support, and cross-cultural ministry training.
Population statistic: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed February 2020).
Pray for Democratic Republic of the Congo
Attacks by Islamic extremists have brought great suffering to the general population, including large numbers of Christians. People’s lives were totally disrupted as they faced the death of loved ones, being uprooted from their homes and the destruction of livelihoods. Pray for the Lord’s abundant grace to the church in this area as they seek to minister Christ’s hope in these circumstances. It is hard to provide even the most basic of needs. Please pray for the Lord’s provision, strength and hope.
Pray that those coming to terms with the loss of loved ones would experience the Lord’s comfort to them. Many have been kidnapped. Please pray they will be returned safely. Pray for more effective and successful strategies for military operations aimed at uprooting the ADF and other violent militia from their strongholds.
Pray God would touch the hearts of the ADF militants. Ask that He would turn them from violence and they would see the true face of the Prince of Peace.