A well-traveled author, journalist, and professor, Isaac Phiri has written about Africa for Christianity Today since the early 1990s. Over the years, CT has featured dozens of journalists, scholars, and ministry leaders writing about the continent. Most are Westerners. Isaac is African-born and raised in Zambia. He has two graduate degrees from American schools and has taught journalism at Toccoa Falls College in Georgia. Those credentials give him a potent capacity to translate for American Christians the Africa that Africans live in each day.
CT fielded a team of reporters for this issue's cover story on the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire. Along with Isaac, we invited Deann Alford, a CT senior news writer, and Grace Mugabe, a staff writer with New Times in Kigali, Rwanda, to uncover the most compelling stories of outreach in Congo. We complemented this reporting with big-picture insights from Jan Egeland, a top UN official, and David Zac Niringiye, an Anglican bishop in Uganda.
Congo's multi-state conflict officially ended in 2003, but the fighting persists. The cost to the Congolese has been staggering, with the conflict-related loss of life estimated at no less than 1,200 per day. Tens of thousands of rebels, soldiers, and UN troops are active inside Congo, making missions work extremely hazardous.
In the Goma region along Lake Kivu, Isaac discovered ordinary Christians undertaking life-saving ministry at extraordinary risk. Arlette Yepdjuo, a World Vision staffer stationed near Goma in Nyabiondo, is one such person. A Cameroonian hydrologist, she works to deliver clean water to villagers. Unsafe drinking water is one reason why many Congolese children die in infancy.
Isaac told me, "This is a woman who has ...1