Fleeing the Congo
A young man named Safari was fleeing the civil war raging in the Congo. A person he knew, Gilbert, had just murdered Safari’s parents. We can imagine that Safari must have fled in fear, resorted to hiding, then was plagued by weariness and deprivation as he sought to cope with the circumstances. He finally arrived at the Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi after four months on foot. In the camp there were still undercurrents of ethnic tensions. Rather than withdraw from the situation Safari felt called to start meeting with people willing to listen to the message of the gospel of peace and reconciliation. Many were ready for that, and soon a rudimentary church was planted (not a building).
Recently, Randy Friesen visited that camp in Malawi. According to his report in the Mennonite Brethren Witness magazine of Summer, 2019, Safari must have been more than just surprised two years later. Who should come into the refugee camp but Gilbert, the murderer? He was no longer a militia leader but a fleeing refugee himself. Rather than seek revenge Safari lived up to his commitment to peace and reconciliation. He connected with him, invited him to a meal and then invited him to stay in his home. That lasted 3 years. Over time this consistent expression of unbelievable kindness convinced Gilbert to become a follower of Christ too. He now works alongside Safari to minister to a network of 36 church groups enrolling about 11,000 believers! This truly is faith in action as it was meant to be.