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During the summer of '09, TMC Youth co-sponsored Youth Summits in Cameroon, the Democratic Rupublic of Congo, and Kenya, with local branch churches in those three African countries. The theme of the Congo summit, "Let Your Light Shine," reverberated not only in the Christian Science church in the city of Boma, where the second Summit was held, but at a nearby orphanage. Michele Tyler, her husband, John Tyler (who lectured at the Summit), and Pedro Manzenza were among a small group of Summit staffers who took a last-minute side trip to the orphanage the day after the Summit. The Journal has excerpted Michele's and Pedro's blogs on about their visit.

Christmas in August I

From the December 2009 issue of The Christian Science Journal

IT WAS A LONG TRIP from Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, to Boma, down river toward the coast about 300 kilometers to the west.

On the way, a group of us learned that an orphanage for children of "witches" existed near Boma. ... these children are considered to be pariahs—almost literally untouchables—and totally excluded by the local population, even the churches.

While the TMC Youth team was preparing the Summit logistics, we decided to visit the orphanage. The director was happy to welcome us. We saw quickly the four simple, clay-brick buildings. In the largest one all the children had been waiting for some time. The pastor began to explain the history of the place. He and his wife had decided to take care of these orphans ten years ago. He explained to us that he left his own religion because it, as many other Christian churches, had also rejected these children.