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A short update from Congo about a retreat for teenage girls, the Peacemaker Program and a chaotic kid's field day in the village.
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Dear Friends,
There’s always a time and place for deep long reflections of what is happening on the field, but today is not that day! Here is a quick overview of some programs that we have done in the past month. More to come soon!
Young Women
We turned the GOF-C offices into a retreat venue for 45 women in Goma last month to launch project “Esther." This is a project that provides opportunities to vulnerable teenage girls within the community to heal, learn and be agents of change in their society. Congo is the second most dangerous country to be a women and Goma is on the top 5 worst cities to live in as a women.  
We gathered young ladies from different churches and ministries to talk about their life during “such a time as this.” The retreat was three days long and it included a sleepover party at night. Ladies from ages 15-30 gathered and covered topics such as ‘women healing women,’ ‘excellence’, and discussed practical ways that women can influence the society—specifically a society where women are marginalized. We also provided opportunities for them to sign up for a leadership course for women as well as a practical skills course for income generating opportunities. 
Kid's Field Day
We are building a Community Center in Masisi as neutral place where members of the community can gather, learn and participate in changing their community. We started in Masisi by launching the Peacemaker Program, which works to reintegrate children from the militia back into their communities, but it’s never good to focus on just one group of people when entering a community. This can cause jealousy and stigmatization.
 
So, we used the land to host a field day for young children in the village. This is a new concept for this area. It was quite an adventure to pull this off! Team members from Goma and Masisi gathered children at stations (according to their age) to play games and just be children.
 
Parents and members from the community gathered and cheered on (and I admit, sometimes cackled) at the event. Watching the children have something to do (even though it was a bit chaotic) brought a lot of life into the area.
 
The building of the Community Center is still in progress, but we are working to involve various members of the community into activities that GOF-C is doing. This serves as a way to sensitize the community to the idea of owning the Community Center and seeing it as a place that is not there to benefit just one tribe, marginalized group, church or organization—but as a place that is there for the community to engage in.
Peacemaker Program
The children in our program have recently finished their final exams and we are analyzing their scores and talking to their headmasters about progress they have seen throughout the year. We are pleased to say that more than 10 percent of our children finished at the top of their class. But we are also measuring varying other factors in their journey to healing. More updates will come soon on this. 
Andrew and I feel behind in communicating with many of our supporters and loved ones, but that’s mainly because we have really tried to prioritize our time together, time with our disciples and of course, time of personal alone time and reflection.
 
It’s easy to say, “I’m going to meditate and reflect,” and find that we are actually doing program planning instead. We have worked not to do this and to protect personal critical reflection and time to be with each other.
 
We have also seen the need to spend large amount of time with our core team. Listening to them, answering their questions and just facilitating time for them to reflect as a team. This is not easy as outsiders from another country. As North Americans, we have a natural tendency to bulldoze ideas and opinions in the way of our Congolese friends. In their humility, they will keep quiet and not say what they really feel or think and this can cause us (all of us, as a team) to lose an opportunity to minister to each other and the rest of the community in the most effective way possible.
We admit that we have been bogged down with a number of our projects. So much so that we have gotten behind on posting updates. Stories happen. They come and go faster than we can take the time to reflect, write and share with others.
 
Please know that we appreciate your love, your support and your prayers so much. We want to share these stories.

Be patient and we will begin posting soon!
 
 
Amethyst and Andrew Roth
Signatures
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