Fresh rebel fighting in eastern DRC in recent weeks has forced at least 11,000 refugees into neighbouring Uganda in one single day, according to UNHR. But for MAF frequent flyer, Kenneth Rwego, falling foul of DRC’s dangerous militia is nothing new as he shares his terrifying tale with MAF’s Jill Vine…
Kenneth Rwego is Founding Director of Eden Mission – a charity which plants churches in some of the remotest parts of Africa including eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and western Uganda.
‘As we were talking, a large buffalo suddenly appeared, which forced us to scatter. It then chased the rebel who had a gun. I knew it was God protecting us.’
Kenneth Rwego, Founding Director of Eden Mission
Kenneth has just flown with MAF for the 36th time, but back in 2014 – when he’d never heard of Mission Aviation Fellowship – he unfortunately took the road, which nearly cost him and his family their lives:
‘I was driving with my wife and two girls (then aged three and two), when we encountered rebels at a roadblock.
‘They pulled me out of the car and dragged me into the bush. My prayer was that they would kill me and not touch my family. They demanded that I give them everything I had including my phone and money, and then they told me to leave my wife with them.
‘I explained that I was doing mission work, gave them everything, but pleaded with them to leave my wife alone.
‘As we were talking, a large buffalo suddenly appeared, which forced us to scatter. It then chased the rebel who had a gun. I knew it was God protecting us. I ran towards my car, terrified that the buffalo was going to kill me, so I drove off like a madman.
‘I crashed through the rebel barricades across the road and just kept on going. After 20-30kms, I reached a small town and found my car was completely wrecked. One of my daughters was also injured, but we had escaped with our lives.
‘I had always preached about ‘God interventions’ but had never actually experienced something like this first-hand where God had definitely intervened. If he hadn’t, I would probably be dead and who knows what would have happened to my wife and children.’
Peace of mind with MAF
According to Al Jazeera News, there are more than 120 armed groups currently operating in eastern DRC.
Ongoing conflict has uprooted millions of people from their homes. Escalating violence in recent years has left a devastating trail of burned-out villages and looted crops. Most of Africa’s internally displaced people come from the DRC (source: Independent).
The DRC has also earned the unenviable title of ‘rape capital of the world’
It wasn’t until Kenneth shared his harrowing experience with a friend, that he learnt of MAF’s work and how they support ministries like his in the remotest places on earth.
Kenneth has now safely used MAF’s services for seven years without fear or retribution – he hasn’t looked back!
‘It’s still risky to reach these locations because of ongoing rebel activity that’s between these remote areas, but I believe that God will protect MAF because it’s MAF’s intention to be a blessing to God’s kingdom.’
Not only has MAF eased Kenneth’s peace of mind, but short flights have also saved him days of exhausting road travel:
‘We’ve been able to reach the whole of Orientale Province in eastern DRC because of MAF. This area alone is three times the size of Uganda. From Bunia near the Ugandan border, we can fly north to locations like Aru and Mungwalu or south to Mambasa and Komanda, which would otherwise take two to three days to reach by road.’
‘We could never have achieved this without MAF’
During a time of financial struggle for the charity, the story about Kenneth’s close shave reached the other side of the world in America:
‘A Texan man flew over from the US and asked to visit us. He took a flight with MAF to see our projects first-hand in eastern DRC. At this point we had run out of money, but he helped us to raise funds for Eden Mission – so much so, we now have an office based in Dallas! I can’t believe how quickly our ministry has grown.’
After 10 years of Eden Mission, Kenneth is still going strong:
‘To date, Eden Mission has helped around 4,200 people – I have seen so many lives transformed! We offer economic empowerment using local resources, a maternal health programme, marriage counselling and parental training. We also provide spiritual development and discipleship training.
‘If it wasn’t for MAF, I would have stopped after my rebel incident seven years ago. We could never have achieved this ministry without MAF. We’ve seen God use MAF in ways I can’t explain.’