New democratic process in Congo has missionaries wary.

By August 12, 2005

Congo-Kinshasa (MNN)–The Congolese are greeting the first democratic process in 40 years with a mix of fear and hope.

The hope is for progress toward real peace. The fear is over the threat of violence that hangs over the ongoing voter registrations.

With an estimated electorate of 28 million, the vote will be the largest ever observed by the United Nations. Peacekeeping troops will need an estimated $425 million more to stay on until the elections are finished next year.

As millions flock to nine thousand stations for registration, it’s obvious where the security concerns are. Masses of people concentrated in one area are an easy target for terrorists. And, if they choose not to strike now, the same scenario repeats itself for the electoral process slated for next March.

The threat is being taken seriously by everyone from the average citizen to international governments. “That is a concern,” says Grace Ministries International’s Sam Vinton, “that our missionaries have said that there could be renewed fighting and some of these dissidents that are hiding in the forest could come out again. That is the security aspect–the freedom of travel that we presently have, where we’re able to travel into all the areas where our churches are located.”

The threat to evangelistic work requires a response. “I think we need to pray for that situation, especially now, as the people, after all these years of trouble, are beginning to sense that there’s peace, that they can move around, they can do things.”

Vinton adds, “The last thing that we need is to see something else take place over this whole issue of elections.”

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