Date:  April 24, 2023

Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Komanda is a town of palm trees and lush green vegetation, wide, hard-packed dirt roads, and tin-roofed structures. To 70-year-old Kobisi and her five grandchildren, it was home – until the day the ADF arrived.

The violent Islamic rebels invaded, speaking a language Kobisi could not understand. She implored God for protection and fled into the forest.

Tragically, her story is not unique.

Kobisi survived that day, but already a widow and now separated from her family and unable to return home, she did what hundreds of thousands of others have done: made her way to Bunia, a city that has become a refuge for an estimated two hundred thousand victims of ADF attacks. With a total population estimated to be 1.3 million, Bunia hosts four camps for internally displaced people (IDP).

Yet Bunia and the surrounding region, overflowing with destitute people and an infrastructure woefully unable to accommodate the escalating population, is no oasis of ease. In one camp less than 30 miles from the city, the UN reported an estimated 1,300 people to every toilet – and sewage freely flowing in areas of dense population.

Thankfully for Kobisi, it was in Bunia that she was able to reunite with her five grandchildren.

However, challenges abounded – the greatest being finding food. Kobisi sought out odd jobs to earn a little money to buy food, yet this was desperately inadequate to provide for all the needs of her grandchildren.

Like so many others, Kobisi needed aid in getting established and becoming financially self-sufficient as she rebuilt her life. She became one of the many refugees in Bunia that ICC has come alongside to lighten the burden.

ICC helped Kobisi generate income and offered her household essentials, for which she was profoundly grateful. “This is something I never imagined would happen to my family or me,” she said, “I thank God and ICC for the assistance that I call ‘Manna from Heaven,’ and with this, I know our lives will never be the same again!”

Solange is another woman who has settled in Bunia and found hope and opportunity through ICC’s help, but the path that led her there was one of horrific pain and sorrow:

“Around 7 p.m., eight ADF [rebels] broke into our house… They tied us up and took us with them. My husband had been carrying a lot of the ADF’s vandalized luggage, and when he said he was tired, he was beheaded on the spot. They also killed my son and my sister-in-law in our presence, leaving her nine-month-old baby. They left the bodies on the road.”

The nightmare continued when the ADF separated Solange from her other family members, took her to a different camp, tied her up, injured her, and raped her.

She escaped after 51 days.

She made her way to Bunia, and a host family took her in, but she had no money to pay for the medical care she needed, and her health prevented her from doing manual labor. Solange needed a way to support herself on a long-term basis, so ICC provided her with a sewing machine and fabric, house rent and home furnishings, clothing and food, and funds to receive medical care.

As God works through ICC to reach those who have been forcibly relocated to Bunia, the trauma of the past can begin to fade.

“Your assistance is beyond my imagination! Right now, we no longer remember what we lost, and we know for the time we are here in Bunia, we have a family! I am not afraid of anything.

“We have nothing to give you in return, but we just give you God and all the blessings in Deuteronomy 28.”

These are the appreciative words of Tibasima, a Christian, a husband, a father, and a Bible school student who lost everything he and his family had in an ADF attack in June 2022.

In the chaos, his wife and two of his children fled to Uganda, while Tibasima and their four other children hid in the forest for two months until he went to Bunia and his children remained in the forest.

Tibasima was in agony knowing his children were at the mercy of the brutal ADF fighters. He stayed connected but had no money to bring them to the relative safety of Bunia.

ICC became aware of the family’s plight and reunited them, supplying them with food, clothing, and household basics like mattresses and utensils.

“We now have food to eat; we sleep well, and I have an income-generating activity that will help me and my family,”

Tibasima’s wife said. “You have wiped away my tears!”

Manna from Heaven. Wiping away tears. Assistance beyond imagination. Despite all they have lost, these are the phrases of relief, comfort, and hope that resound from persecuted believers who have persevered through tragedy and are praising the Lord from Bunia.

HOW TO PRAY: Pray for provision for the thousands of displaced families. Pray for more sanitary conditions in these IDP camps. Pray for educational opportunities for the displaced children.