It's official! I signed up for my first 5K, to benefit the Run for Congo Women. It's not a big event, but it is important for me. You see, I almost went to the Democratic Republic of Congo a couple summers ago. Through Hirss, a Congolese friend who lived with us for a while, God allowed the plight of the people of Congo to become very real to me. And not long after that, I had the opportunity to go to both Congo and Uganda with Mending the Soul Ministries. By June of 2008, I had an amazing ministry team to travel with, conference talks written, vaccines done, plane tickets purchased, and half the packing done. And then God closed the door for me to go -- literally 3 days before our plane took off! But that is another story.... (If you are curious, you can read a bit about it here and here.)
Congo is a beautiful country. And the people are strong and resiliant. But the need in Congo is desperate. More than 5.4 *million* people have died in the conflict since 1998. (That is approx. 450,000 per year in the past 12 years!) Half of these deaths are children under the age of 5. Rape is used as a weapon of war. DRC is the rape capital of the world. Women, children, and even babies are victims, and the men in the family are either killed or made to watch. Victims are often ostracized by their distraught families and the community around them. The poverty is overwhelming. AIDS is epidemic. The people of Congo have very few opportunities to pull themselves out of these struggles. I feel honored to be able to do something to help, even just a little!
Run for Congo Women, through Women for Women International, provides financial assistance, job skills training, trauma counseling, and a sense of community. Each woman is matched with a sponsor who develops a one-on-one relationship with her 'sister' through letter writing.
Through this 5K, we have the opportunity to raise funds for this organization. If you'd like to support me, check out my fundraising page here. :)
Brooklyn and I are doing the 5K with a few friends. Cami & Ryan have four beautiful children, including two they adopted from Congo last year. Solange & Joseph, we can't wait to do this 5K alongside you. We are so proud to know you and support the beautiful people you come from!
Anyone want to join in the fun? Sign up here.
Now, about that training.... The 5K is just 2 weeks from today!
Note: Lucas & Destany would love to do the 5K alongside their friends, but we can't afford to pay the $30 donation for each of them to join in. Would anyone like to sponsor them? :) Update: They already have a sponsor -- thank you, Megan! We celebrated by heading out for a 45 minute walk/jog. They did great! I'm so proud of them.
ps - If you want to meet another adoptive family that is passionate about Congo and blogs about it often, check out the Terry family here. You won't be disappointed!