For prayer time yesterday, I read the family part of a front page NY Times article about the desperate conditions in the Congo. According to the article, in less than a decade more than 400 million people have died there. It has been the deadliest conflict since World War II. Militias continually drive people out of their villages and into the surrounding jungle to fend for themselves. People are dying of starvation, of disease… The article focused on the small, rural town of Aveba, where some of the refugees are currently arriving. Typical of their state, one single mother and her five children arrived in Aveba with a metal bowl, what little food they had, and a few cooking implements. (Next time you’re in Wal-Mart about to purchase yet another thing you don’t need, you might want to think hard about this mother and her children in Aveba.) Doctors Without Borders is in this area of Africa, but they need way more medical supplies… After the reading, our family passed around an envelope to contribute money to Doctors Without Borders. (Next time you’re about to contribute to your local church’s Building Fund to get the new air-coniditioning system, the new dishwasher for the social hall, the new church addition…, you might want to, again, think hard about the mother and her children in Aveba.) We’ll be judged on this stuff. …Our American consumer culture is so seductive.