Giving Back in the DRC

January 1, 2014 • Democratic Republic of the Congo
Giving Back in DRC
Samaritan's Purse provided food for Aaron's friend as he fled violence in his hometown. We also provided food for Congolese people in need in 2011.

The outgoing Samaritan’s Purse country director in the Democratic Republic of Congo was able to help a family friend fleeing from violence.

Aaron Wolcott served with Samaritan’s Purse as the country director in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has now left to attend seminary.

I have worked with Samaritan’s Purse for more than six years, and it’s always a joy and blessing to be used by God to provide for the needs of others in their time of crisis. It’s an even greater joy when I get the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus to someone who has had an impact on my life and has fallen on hard times.

Having grown up in Congo and knowing people in many of the regions affected by conflict, I have had the chance to serve family friends on numerous occasions over the past few years.

Most recently, when fighting erupted between the Congolese army and the FRPI militia in the Irumu area of the Democratic Republic of Congo, many people I knew were displaced by the violence. The fighting raged in an area where my grandparents once worked, and my family in the U.S. anxiously asked for word of friends in the affected area.

While there was concern for many people from the churches caught in the fighting, there was particular concern in my family for the well-being of one man – Amosi.

Giving Back in DRC

Amosi’s grandchildren helped him get to safety. Aaron and the Samaritan’s Purse team in DRC were able to provide them with food.

Amosi worked for my grandparents when they lived in Nyankunde (a Samaritan’s Purse project site) and watched my dad grow up. When my parents came to Congo in the 1980s, he worked as a cook and taught my mom how to bake delicious bread. There are some precious pictures of my sister and I covered in flour trying to “help” Amosi cook from when we were little. He was (and is) our African grandfather and he cared for us as such, unafraid to scold us when we misbehaved.

During the civil conflict that raged throughout most of eastern Congo between 1998 and 2005, Amosi returned to his home village of Aveba where he could be closer to his extended family. He has aged considerably and is now blind and walks bent over using a walking stick and someone to guide him. So when we heard that fighting had started in Aveba, we were very concerned.

Fighting raged in and around Aveba in August and September, and there was little information coming out of the region. We weren’t sure what had happened to Amosi until late September when a pastor put him and his wife on a truck headed to Bunia during a lull in the fighting.

His grandchildren had carried him on their backs into the bush to escape the fighting, and they had spent several weeks moving from one location to another seeking refuge. At one point they were caught in the crossfire between the army and rebel militia and spent several hours lying flat on their stomachs as bullets whizzed above their heads. Amazingly, they survived and were able to find a truck to bring them to safety.

Amosi arrived in Bunia at the same time as around 280 other people from the Emmanuel church in Aveba, and they were all in great need. Samaritan’s Purse provided sacks of rice and beans together with salt and oil to the displaced people in partnership with the local church. Amosi and his wife also received enough rice and beans to help sustain them for several weeks as they recovered from the trauma of running from one place to another for almost a month.

I went to visit Amosi a few days after his arrival in Bunia. What a privilege to also be able to bring much needed food with me to give to him and his family! As I listened to all that he had been through and as we prayed together, I was blessed to be able to give back to someone who has done so much for my family and me.