Congo-Kinshasa (MNN) — Humanitarian aid agencies are distributing emergency relief supplies to thousands in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The region was hit by a major earthquake four days ago. The quake measured six on the Richter scale, and scientists say it was strong enough to be felt and do damage in Rwanda and Burundi. With the epicenter just north of the capital, Bukavu, there was some concern for a ministry team working in the area.
Hundreds of buildings in Congo were deemed unsafe in the aftermath and amidst aftershocks. Grace Ministries International's Sam Vinton says their team was among the more fortunate. "Close to a hundred buildings collapsed from what I've read, and others have serious damage. None of our properties, churches, or our big guest house were damaged in any way that was extensive."
GMI's team is currently assessing how they can best respond to the needs. Nearly 40 people died, and thousands have been left homeless between Congo and Rwanda.
Four missionaries work with the Grace Church in Congo in the areas of evangelism, church planting, education, literature, medical work, and community development projects. Leaders for over 500 churches are trained in their fully-accredited Theological College, Pastors' School, and 16 Bible institutes.
A large medical center with two Congolese doctors is functioning in a Muslim area where there is a focus on planting churches in the surrounding unreached people groups. One teacher training college, 75 high schools, and 145 grade schools are run by the national church.
Vinton says they need to pray that believers do not get discouraged. "I would pray that the Lord would give people, and especially Christians, a feeling that in spite of all this, it's not happening to them because God is punishing them. There are those thoughts that come into people's minds, especially when they seem to have one catastrophe after another."