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A Ministry dedicated to preserving the truth and accuracy of the infallible Word of God.
Great Women Missionaries:     Helen Roseveare

The Congo

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  Helen Roseveare  

Missionary to the Congo

On August 7, 1964 Congo rebels captured Stanleyville (now known as Kisangani). In the four years since Congo's independence from Belgium, most white people had already fled from the nation or been captured or killed. Because Helen Roseveare was a doctor, she had been spared, although not without many serious incidents. For example, someone had tried to poison her, but her dog ate the meal intended for her and died.

Helen was well aware of her danger. Many mission women had been raped by the marauding rebel armies. She stayed on, believing that "If Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for him." That was the mission motto. She reasoned that if an earlier generation of missionaries to Africa had died of malaria and other jungle diseases for the sake of God and his glory, then God might well demand a different kind of sacrifice of her as he already had of other women missionaries.

Part of that sacrifice was the struggle with pride as Africans took over and sometimes mismanaged mission affairs. She struggled to sleep some nights when terror overtook her. Peace was even harder to attain after her house was looted of every item of worth. She continued to learn to see God in the details of her life, to trust him more fully. She had been coming toward total trust in God all of her life, between bouts of depression, often brought on by overwork and by Satan's insinuation that she was not really a Christian because she was capable of spells of anger and bitterness and other sins.

"I was unable to reach the standard I myself had set, let alone God's. Try as I would, I met only frustration in this longing to achieve, to be worthy." She came to recognize that hatred of sin is a gift of the Holy Spirit and to pray that God would make her "willing to be made willing to hate what he hated."

On Saturday, August 15, 1964, a truck load of soldiers took over the hospital compound at Nobobongo. They would occupy it for five months. "They were brutal and coarse, rough and domineering. Their language was threatening and obscene. All of us were cowed. We did exactly what they demanded, mostly without argument." Tension was terrific.

"We heard that the local chief had been caught, bound and beaten; then he was taken to the people's tribunal at Wamba, found guilty, flayed alive and eaten. No wonder we did not sleep well. No wonder we were not hungry."

Then Helen and others were taken. "...We were put off at a house in the jungle--nineteen defenceless women and children surrounded by some seventy-five men, soldiers and others, all filled with hatred and evil intentions toward us...And in my heart was an amazing peace, a realization that I was being highly privileged to be identified with [Christ] in a new way, in the way of Calvary."

Although raped and humiliated by the rebels, Helen found that God gave her an even deeper love for the Congo people. In 1965 she returned to pick up her medical mission work. She had learned that participation in Christ's suffering is necessary to each of us if we are to fulfill his will in this world.

(Quotes are from Helen's book, Give Me This Mountain.)

Source Unknown

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© 1999 The Old Time Gospel Ministry
"When to seek God has become life and to glorify God has become self, then you have truly found God."