Monday, January 3, 2011

Dear friends and family,

                I hope this letter finds you well as 2010 draws to a close and we kick off 2011. As some of you may have heard, I have been presented with a wonderful opportunity to travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo during the summer of 2011. In the 1990s, DR Congo experienced an extremely destructive civil war, which devastated both the population and the infrastructure. Many families were destroyed and traumatized, and the conservative death count was estimated at around 4 million. Most civilians had little stake in the political conflict, and yet bore the brunt of the war through displacement and mass violence. While the political environment is now relatively stable in most parts of the country, the citizens were left isolated and in poverty, with few resources. Most people do not access to electricity, clean water, medical care, or education. The majority of children born in DR Congo die before age five. Most villages are also inaccessible by car, which leaves them unlikely to receive aid. Many people describe feelings of abandonment and isolation, and suffer long-standing fall-out from the trauma. 

                In October, Pastors Bob Walters and Joseph Mulango visited my church to talk about their work in the DR Congo. They didn’t bring a fancy presentation, or an elaborate fundraising project. Rather, they merely stood before us and spoke from the heart. They spoke of the United Methodist pastors and their families who’ve been on the ground since the war, with no relief. The villages that are devastated and haven’t seen any aid since the 1990s. The pervasive feelings of isolation and desperation. Bob expressed that what they needed most wasn’t money thrown at them from outside—they needed hope. They needed to know that they weren’t abandoned. 

                Hearing this made me realize that I have something to give—my presence and my skill as a counselor. I knew that I had to go. I am not a rich person, and I’ve never before that I had something to give in the face of such overwhelming problems. But this time, God has impressed upon my heart that I do. My goal for this trip is to visit the villages of DR Congo and provide short-term trauma counseling—to use my professional skill to let them know they’re not alone. I’m also hoping to raise enough money to provide them some resources for them. In order to do this, I will need money to support my travel expenses and lots and lots of prayer. 

In the DR Congo, many people don’t have resources to endure their daily challenges. Join me in becoming their extended support network. My departure date is set for approximately July 18th, and before then, my goal is to raise $5000 to cover my travel expenses and give to Friendly Planet Missology’s( goals of buying bikes and educational facilities for the people of DR Congo. 

Please visit my blog at to follow my journey. There is a link at the top of the page that allows you to donate towards my trip, and an accounting of all funds will be provided upon my return. I thank you in advance for your prayers and your financial support. May God bless you richly!
Emily Johnson

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