Congolese Adventist Refugees Stream
SERVING OTHERS: ADRA Rwanda country director Jefferson Kern
(front) tours a refugee camp established by the Rwandan government. Nearly 100 percent of a recent wave of refugees fleeing the Democratic Republic of the Congo are Adventists.efferson Kern discovered a curious thing about a recent wave of refugees fleeing the Democratic Republic of the Congo into neighboring Rwanda: nearly 100 percent of them are Seventh-day Adventists.
The tipoff came when aid workers noticed so many refusing transportation on Saturday, a United Nations representative told him.
Kern, director of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Rwanda, says 80 percent of the refugees escaping civil unrest are women and children. The U.N. News Service reported up to a half million internally displaced people from the unrest in the past four months. This led Rwanda to open its fourth refugee camp, which ADRA supports with education and transportation logistics.
In an interview, Kern explained the plausibility of an abnormal influx of Adventist refugees, what ADRA is doing, and what the church could do to help. He also discussed individual versus corporate service, and ADRA’s projects in Rwanda.
“We’re not going to help people because they’re Seventh-day Adventist—we’re going to help them because they’re in need,” Kern said.
—Adventist News Network