There was deep concern these past few days for a few members of my denomination who were in the Congo during the recent eruption of violence there. It was with great relief and thanks to God that we heard yesterday that the two who were in the greatest danger had in fact boarded a plane headed to Paris after a safe night in a hotel: “Following the previous night of lying awake in the dirt, hiding behind a wall, while soldiers were firing their weapons and rockets, Peterson and Thorpe last evening were able to get a decent nightâ€™s rest…” Two other Covenanters (including a dear family friend) were likewise reported to have safely left Congo: “Both are reported out of Congo and safe in Bangui, Central African Republic, following a harrowing 12-hour trek by truck on rough dirt roads and a shaky dugout canoe ride across the river between Zongo, in Congo, and Bangui.”
As I prayed for these men, and for all of the people affected by this outbreak, I realized how easily this news could have simply passed me by. But for the presence of four people with differing degrees of connection to me, I am certain I would have heard nothing of the events of the past few days in Congo (have you seen the L.A. news before? “News” is generous, to say the least.)
As global and connected as things can feel in our world today, the truth remains that for most of us we pass through our days relatively unaware of what is happening in the rest of the world. This was reinforced for me by other friends who are serving in Mozambique with Samaritan’s Purse. They post occasional updates on their work to their blog, and the last two entries both contained significant news of massive flooding that had struck the country, and a recent flurry of bombs exploding in their city (which it turns out were set off accidentally). Again, news that never would have reached my ears except for the fact that they are living and working there.
We certainly live in an age of information overload, and with so much access it is interesting to note what things we do pay attention to and whose cries we have ears to hear. We have all heard the recent cries of Britney Spears (if you shop at a grocery store you have not been able to escape them), but how many of us have heard those of our brothers and sisters in Kinshasa or Mozambique?