Standing in the Gap — no.1
— praying for children accused of witchcraft.
“Then I said to them, ‘You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.’ I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me. They replied, ‘Let us start rebuilding.’ So they began this good work.” — Nehemiah 2:17–18.
From the earliest days encountering children accused of witchcraft, we have had a passion to see pastors and church leaders equipped with awareness and skills to tackle this issue, grounded in theology, the law, and child development. SCWA has invested in developing a training resource, entitled “the Heart of the Matter”, which has been piloted in a few locations over recent months. One of these pilot locations is Kasai in the D.R.Congo. We are now hearing lots of encouraging stories from the pastors who were involved.
“My participation in this workshop has given me the chance above all to be a good father and husband to my children and my wife, and to give the children in our community and church the opportunity to flourish and to serve our society after us. I can no longer fear witchcraft nor blame others for my situation, but on the contrary, I must make an effort and pray for help to overcome the problems that happen to me. I have committed myself to fight against the accusations of witchcraft made against children in our society. … A child is a person, a gift of God, who must be cared for and protected to safeguard his or her healthy development.” — testimony of a pastor.
“Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work. — Nehemiah 2:18
- Give praise to God for Pastor Kazadi of the Presbyterian Church and others who had the vision to pilot this resource in Kasai, and that the workshop went ahead successfully, despite much civil unrest in the area. Twelve church and community leaders met together for a packed four days of prayerful engagement with this issue.
- Give thanks that the light of God’s justice and love for children is being seen and heard, and that the participants all recognise the need for change, and are now meeting and working together on action plans to address this abuse.
- Like Nehemiah who saw the holy city in ruins, thank God that these pastors are determined to rise up and start rebuilding their broken society.
- Ask God to protect and empower these church leaders who have determined together to work for the good of the families and neighbourhood they serve. Pray that all will be released from fear through the truth and love of Jesus Christ, and given wisdom and courage through the Holy Spirit.
- Pray that these new insights, attitudes, and actions will have a positive transforming impact on local communities across the D.R.Congo, reducing accusations and abuse, and ensuring children are nurtured and given freedom to flourish as God intends.