The Assemblies of God News Service found out about “If Thy Tongue Can Speak,” from my blog which was picked up by the Chi Alpha blog feed (a little internet connectivity) and decided to do an article of their own. I thought I would save your finger from another click and give you the article right here:
Chi Alpha student writes, produces play with a cause
April 28, 2008
According to the International Rescue Committee (http://www.theirc.org), since 1998, more than five million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo have died from war-related causes. Hundreds of thousands of women and young girls have been violently assaulted, leaving them with lifelong physical and emotional scars.
The nation is in the throes of a humanitarian crisis, yet few in the United States are aware of the situation.
When Leah Bomberger, a sophomore at American University in Washington, D.C., learned of the tragedies the Congolese people have suffered, she felt she had no choice but to act on their behalf. Behind Bomberger’s conviction to fight for justice is her desire to be an imitator of Christ.
“Jesus did not only work for social justice, but He spent most of His time on earth with the poor and brokenhearted,” she says. “We are called to get our hands dirty – to live passionately for others and love with abandon.”
While talking with a friend about the Democratic Republic of Congo, the idea arose for Bomberger to write and produce a play that would increase awareness of the atrocities occurring in the nation.
“I have always viewed theatre as one of the most powerful methods of communication, especially about abstract and distant issues,” Bomberger explains.
Bomberger is a member of American University’s Chi Alpha (XA) ministry, which U.S. AG missionary Mike Godzwa directs. During the group’s fall retreat, she spent a great deal of time praying about the possibility of doing the play. By the end of the retreat, she knew God was directing her to do so.
So, in mid-October, Bomberger got to work, devoting months to researching, writing and producing the play, “If Thy Tongue Can Speak.” She based her work off the testimonies of Congolese women who were interviewed by the organization Human Rights Watch. Theirs are stories of unimaginable horrors that reflect the common experiences of hundreds of thousands of women across their country.
Fellow XA students, Alexis Nadin and Kelsey Scherer, joined Bomberger’s efforts as co-producers and around 10 XA students dedicated their time to helping with the play in various capacities. The campus group also provided some of the financial support needed during the process of producing the play.
Godzwa helped Bomberger connect with Africa Harvest Ministries (AG), which is currently trying to establish 24 medical clinics in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Bomberger and those involved in the play decided to donate the entire proceeds from the show to the ministry. The play raised over $2,000 for medical supplies. In a country where medical services are almost nonexistent, the students’ efforts will literally help save lives.
“The timing of Africa Harvest’s medical clinic program and the play was miraculous,” Godzwa shares.
On April 11, 2008, months of work culminated when “If Thy Tongue Can Speak” debuted at American University. In the days since the show, Bomberger says many people have approached her and said they were previously unaware of the situation in the Congo and were shocked to learn what is happening there.
Bomberger wants “If Thy Tongue Can Speak” to continue being a voice for the Congolese people. She hopes other XA groups will produce the play on college campuses across the country.
“The best part was the countless conversations each XA member had planning, preparing and performing the play,” says Godzwa. “The gospel was preached in word and action, and with Leah preparing to get the word out to campus groups across the country, I believe we’re just beginning to see what God can do!”
Through the process of learning about the Democratic Republic of Congo and writing the play, Bomberger says her faith has grown exponentially. She hopes to one day move to the nation and work with women who have been victims of gender-based violence.
As Bomberger looks to the future, she is remaining dependent on the Lord. “This dream of living in the DRC and the reality of it keep me continually broken at the foot of the Cross because my faith is the only reason that I have been able to do this project, and it will be the only way I will be able to go to the DRC.”
Author(s): Kara Chase
It’s so cool to have a little part in God’s grand redemption plan!