How God grabbed my heart for the DRC

Craig Pixley, World Relief Director of Church Engagement, shares how God first grabbed his heart for the Democratic Republic of Congo. Seven years ago, I was sitting in a Nissan-Mercedes dealership having my oil changed. The cover story in the recent Time magazine caught my attention: “Congo: The Hidden Toll of the World’s Deadliest War”. Beautiful waiting room, coffee, cookies, comfy chairs. Free shoe shine. I brought along some work to do as I typically did but saw this cover sitting on the table next to me when I set my coffee down next to it. I reached over to pick it up, truly oblivious to what was happening in the Congo. Yet curious. I began reading the article.

A poignant paragraph from the June 5, 2006 article:

“Is the world willing to see it through? The shame of indifference should be reason enough for action. But without more money from the developed world to help rebuild, without more troops to secure the peace and protect innocent civilians, without a genuine effort by Congo's leaders to work for the country rather than just their part of it and without Congo's neighbors ending their meddlesome ways, Africa's broken heart is unlikely to heal. In 10 years' time, you may be reading another story much like this one. The only difference will be that millions more people will have died.”

Four things happened way out of the ordinary for me once I finished reading. First, as I processed the challenges to fix the Congo I recall thinking,“This is a God-sized problem … this will not be fixed even by well-meaning countries and aid organizations. This problem needs God.” Second, I had tears streaming down my face – right in the Nissan-Mercedes showroom! I held up the magazine in front of my face so nobody could see and brushed away my tears. Then third, I was compelled to briefly pray, “And God, if I can help be part of the solution, I am willing.”

Again, these three things are not ordinary for me. I typically don’t think in the context of “God-sized problems”, I don’t often cry (especially in public for Pete sakes), and I usually don’t offer to God ridiculous propositions to help be part of a solution with those circumstances in the way that I did on that day.

I left that dealership different as I drove back to work. No plans or resolutions or really even any new passions. But something inside of me had shifted.

I said there were four things out of the ordinary for me. Here’s the fourth … Through a series of unlikely events, I applied for a job to an organization called World Relief eight months later or so. I can remember as I read over the list of countries World Relief was actively working in, I saw the DR Congo on the list. Suddenly that word “Congo” on the website drew me back into the Nissan-Mercedes showroom with the Time magazine on my lap. God knew.

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Today, Craig Pixley is working as the Director of Church Engagement with World Relief and continues to Stand for the DR Congo. Read more about World Relief and the work of the Congolese church in the DRC.