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Congo Christmas – …Think On These Things

IMG_0428There are sights in the poverty-stricken areas I’ve visited in several countries that are impossible to forget–they scar the memory. Going to a place like east Congo where so many differences are a product of war, greed, and atrocities, it would be easy to focus on things like trash strewn areas, hovels, children playing in a ditch. As the leader of a nonprofit shooting photos and video, how easy it would be to highlight needs and ply your heart-strings with sad melodies.

However, I set out on my trip with one Bible verse on my mind’s virtual billboard; it played across the ticker-tape of my vision level with my forehead as if I wore gamer glasses with this function.

…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8 (NASB)

That God is alive and doing eternal work at the mission is more true than the trash on the street, that our staff pours in time and energy without regard for salary is honorable, that to see needs and meet them in whatever way we can is right, that the children’s delight in your small attentions–the smile or goofy dance–is pure, that the whole journey during the rainy season became a movement from one blossom to the next was lovely, that careful hands prepared meal after meal of African fare we’d never tasted was of good repute, that there was excellence and efforts worthy of praise at every turn, that my LORD says “think on these things” was the foundation of my travel journal and visual documentation.

IMG_0464Another translation says to “dwell on these things,” let your thoughts live, find their home, rest your being on the true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent things, on whatever is worthy or praise. I pray this for you today. Let us help one another see these things even in the valley of the shadow of death.

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. (Psalm 145:3) I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.(Psalm 18:3) For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.(Psalm 96:4) Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. (Isaiah 40:28) For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God. (Psalm 86:10)

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Kristin King is a Christian author and president of the non-profit Future Hope Africa. She recently returned from  visiting FHA’s education mission in eastern Congo and is blogging from her travel journal about the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Visit Future Hope Africa

Visit Future Hope Africa

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Congo Christmas – Oscar Bid for Movie Virunga

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 7.07.40 AMDriving through Rwanda to east Congo I could not get over the amount of cultivation. Miles of terraced mountains divided for maize, banana trees, cassava, beans, tea bushes (for which Rwanda is well-known) etc.–the whole countryside felt more like Tuscany than Africa to me. The only natural landscape was in the national park, and I wondered if there were gorillas in those mountains. (Spotted a monkey–video coming soon).

In the airport on the way home I read in the newspaper that movie set in the Congo has been short listed (top 15) for an Oscar bid in documentaries. To me this is good news, a film that will raise awareness about the war still effecting all the inhabitants of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I pray this documentary takes the Oscar. The movie is called Virunga, after the name of the Virunga National Park–where the last mountain gorillas in the world live with park rangers trying to protect them from development and rebel groups who terrorize man and beast. Below is a synopsis from the movie’s website. View the trailer, learn about the gorilla rehab man, and see more here.

VIRUNGA IS THE INCREDIBLE TRUE STORY OF A GROUP OF BRAVE PEOPLE RISKING THEIR LIVES TO BUILD A BETTER FUTURE IN A PART OF AFRICA THE WORLD’S FORGOTTEN AND A GRIPPING EXPOSE OF THE REALITIES OF LIFE IN THE CONGO.

In the forested depths of eastern Congo lies Virunga National Park, one of the most bio-diverse places on Earth and home to the planet’s last remaining mountain gorillas. In this wild, but enchanted environment, a small and embattled team of park rangers – including an ex-child soldier turned ranger, a caretaker of orphan gorillas and a dedicated conservationist who’s a member of the Belgian royal family – protect this UNESCO world heritage site from armed militia, poachers and the dark forces struggling to control Congo’s rich natural resources. When the newly formed M23 rebel group declares war, a new conflict threatens the lives and stability of everyone and everything they’ve worked so hard to protect, with the filmmakers and the film’s participants caught in the crossfire.

A powerful combination of investigative journalism and nature documentary, VIRUNGA is the incredible true story of a group of courageous people risking their lives to build a better future in a part of Africa the world’s forgotten, and a gripping exposé of the realities of life in the Congo.

From director Orlando von Einsiedel and executive producer Leonardo DiCaprio.

<iframe src=”http://virungamovie.com/player/&#8221; frameborder=”0″ width=”640″ height=”470″>

NOW STREAMING ON NETFLIX

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Kristin King is an author and president of the non-profit Future Hope Africa, a small educational mission in east Congo. Recently returned from spending Christmas in the Congo, she is currently blogging about the experience.

Visit Future Hope Africa

Visit Future Hope Africa

 

 

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