Date:  April 17, 2023

Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – It was a hot June day in the war-torn region of eastern DRC. I sat across from 18-year-old Matthew and listened as he calmly narrated his story through an interpreter. His younger sister, nine-year-old Sarah, sat to his right. She stared ahead blankly as he spoke.

Just one month earlier, the two siblings were forced to watch as Islamic Terrorists brutally butchered both of their parents.

“When they were shooting people, they were speaking Arabic, yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’…,” Matthew spoke matter-of-factly. “The rebels were Muslim (extremists), cutting some on their heads and others on the neck. When they killed somebody, they said, ‘We praise Allah.’”

The rebels, Matthew later told me, were members of the ADF, the largest rebel group in the conflict-ridden DRC. Though many claim that the group is only Islamic in name, they have in recent years been increasing their relationship with the IS and in 2021 were designated as an affiliate of ISIS.

For Matthew, the motive behind ADF’s destruction led to a day that would change his life forever.

On May 13, 2022, Matthew, Sarah, and their three other siblings were home with their parents when dozens of ADF fighters ambushed their village. While the children fled into the bushes, the fighters caught and killed their parents. Hours later, the terrorists found the group of siblings and took them, along with 20 other villagers, as hostages.

“They took us into the hills. We traveled for three days, and they told me they were taking us to the very big camp where everything would be explained,” said Matthew.

He added that his captors were forcing several of the hostages to become Muslims. Their goal, he was told, was to Islamize all of the Congo and spread Islam throughout East Africa.

“If you say, ‘Yes I will become a Muslim,’ they will take you outside for training to become a rebel. If you refuse, then they will kill you. For me, I escaped before having to make my decision.”

Three days after their abduction, soldiers of the Congolese national army stormed the ADF hideout. Matthew and Sarah were among the few Christians rescued that day.

Later, the two would find out that their three siblings also escaped and were in a town a few hours away. The five brothers and sisters are now hoping to reunite and live together as a family once again. Through your generous donations, ICC is working to make this dream a reality.

How to Pray:  Please pray for Matthew, Sarah, and the rest of their family, that the Lord brings them healing and gives them the hope only He can provide. Please also continue to pray for the healing of those traumatized by violence in the DRC, and for the Lord to comfort those who are grieving the loss of loved ones, as well as for the love of Jesus to redeem the souls of those who persecute the church.