First of all, it has many names: Congo, the Congo, Congo-Kinshasa (as opposed to its neighbor to the north, Congo-Brazzaville, differentiated by their capital cities), Democratic Republic of (the) Congo, DR Congo, DRC, and formerly Zaire from 1971-1997 (as well as a few other names before that!). Any of these names besides Zaire is acceptable.
Congo is the second largest country in Africa with an area about the size of the US east of the Mississippi River. Recently a New York Times journalist said what many others have believed, Congo is the least developed nation in the world.
The country is divided east to west by impassible jungles; this divide has created difficulties for unification and security. Eastern Congo, the area where our children live, has felt the effects most. National conflicts, undisciplined soldiers, local militia, and rogue armies like the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army) have directly or indirectly caused the death of approximately 5-6 million people over the past 15 years in this part of Africa. Those who have escaped with their lives have been displaced from their homes, brutalized and stripped of dignity and livelihood. Eastern Congo is known as the rape capital of the world, where it is estimated that 40 women are raped every day.
Thankfully there are rays of hope in the midst of seemingly endless despair. God has servants ministering to the hurting and homeless like the couple who founded and run the orphange where our children live. Praise God for them and ask that he would continue to grant them safety, energy, and resources to maintain and expand their work to orphans and war affected women.
Below are some pictures (not of our children - we are not allowed to post those yet), an article with some photos, and a video report if you'd like to learn more about Congo generally and specifically the area where our children live, Goma, North Kivu.
Video report - one of my favorites
National Geographic article