“The ink which wrote this book is my tears,” Benjamin Kisoni says. He recently completed his story on God and suffering.
Five times men went to Benjamin’s house in eastern Congo to kill him. Each time the Baptist pastor and publisher evaded them. Desperate, he finally sought refuge in the U.S. last year, leaving behind his wife and 8 children, congregation and Christian youth magazine.
Benjamin was targeted because he alone pursued a court case for his brother’s assassination. Hired gunmen had murdered his brother, a veterinarian and businessman highly respected for his good works.
“I love my country and wanted to help change it by writing. I never imagined I’d be chased from it,” he says.
While in the U.S. seeking political asylum, Benjamin wrote his book manuscript, “God, Where Are You?” to encourage his countrymen. “I used to think you can go through suffering and then reach victory on the other side. But I’ve learned that when you are in the midst of suffering and have hope in God, that is victory.”
MAI honored Benjamin as a recipient of the David Alexander Author Fund last year, enabling him to finish writing. The book will be published in English next year by Hippo Books, a shared imprint of several African publishers.
“People in Congo love reading, but often don’t have reading materials,” Benjamin says.
He developed an early love of reading as a pastor’s son, devouring each new issue of Billy Graham’s Decision magazine. In high school and later in seminary, he launched publications for students. Then, as a high school principal he created a small school library.
When war broke out, he started writing tracts, printing and distributing them freely. His popular tract, “Cain, Where Is Your Brother?” looked at jealousy and violence from a biblical perspective. A military commander once texted him from the battlefield, requesting more copies for his soldiers.
Now Benjamin is writing a novel for youth about child soldiers in Congo, victims of a war that has resulted in at least 5 million deaths.
Read an excerpt from Benjamin’s coming book, “God, Where Are You?”
Watch a short video interview of Benjamin Kisoni.
Top Photo: Benjamin Kisoni (left) and MAI President John Maust