Ghislaine reached out to “lost youth”⁠—and it transformed her, too

 

For years, a group of young people has built a reputation for contributing to violent attacks in Brazzaville, the Republic of Congo’s capital. “These young people sow terror in the city,” says Ghislaine Matondo, who lives in the city with her husband, mother, and sister. Yet little has been done to address the danger, she explains: “Juvenile delinquency in our neighborhoods is a sensitive matter [to which] even politicians do not dare give concrete answers.”

In 2020, Ghislaine took out her fifth loan from HOPE Congo to start a new venture: Merci pour la Bénédiction (“grateful for the blessing”), a business manufacturing sofas. But she says that the Lord gave her more than a new business idea; He also gave her a vision to address the challenge of gang violence in her community.

I decided to bring these young people back into my workshop, so that they could learn a trade instead of spreading terror in the city.”

Today, Ghislaine has welcomed eight young men as apprentices and hopes to expand her facility to make room for 12 more. While Ghislaine provides food, medical care, transportation, and even housing for those who needed it, the men work under the senior carpenter to gain skills in furniture joinery.

I made a choice to care about people who are considered abandoned. I spend money every day for these children. Not a month went by without me showing up at a police station to drop off food or try to get a child out of the jail. … But I am committed to this fight without fear because I am convinced of the call I received from God.”

Just as HOPE has invested in her as an entrepreneur over many years by offering financial services, training, and discipleship, so Ghislaine seeks to care for her apprentices holistically. “I continue praying for and with them,” she says. “Spiritual transformation is something that should come gradually, step by step.”

The impact of Ghislaine’s step of faith has been mutual.

I am a woman; I did not have the chance to have children—all this was not easy for me. … Today, God spoke to me to adopt these young people whom everyone treats as lost, to make them my children. And I love these children as if they were my own children. Caring for these children is my ministry, it is a mission that God has entrusted to me.”

“The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell.
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell.”

Lyrics from “The Love of God” by ⁠Frederick Lehman

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As Christ’s followers responding to His great love, HOPE International seeks physical, social, spiritual, and personal restoration in places of brokenness. Through Christ-centered economic development, we empower men and women to strengthen their families, build their businesses, and unleash their dreams.

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