Central African Republic (MNN) — While the civil war in the Central African Republic leaves thousands dead and tens of thousands fleeing for their lives, a Christian shortwave radio station in Boali is sharing a message of hope throughout the nation.
Jay Hocking, Communications director ofWater for Good, a ministry partner of Reach Beyond, says, “Our staff there has developed programming focused on peace and reconciliation, and they’re bringing in special speakers and religious leaders. Our radio station is the most-listened-to station in the country.”
The radio staff members recently attended a conference in Yaloke where the Christian community was significantly violent toward the Muslims in the area. “The conference focused on encouraging Christians to love their Muslim neighbors: take care of them and protect them.” Says Hocking, “Our staff did a report on the conference, encouraging people in area towns and villages to think about how they could demonstrate Christ’s love to their Muslim neighbors.” Several important men from Bagui spoke at the conference. Radio staff members are hoping respect for the important men will lead to people paying attention and making some changes.
Conflicts began more than a year ago after Muslim rebel leader Michel Djotodia took power in a mostly Christian country leading to violence and revenge killings because of religion and ethnicity. President Djotodia resigned January 2014 during a time of diplomatic pressure, but the acts of violence by militia groups continue to be a problem for the Central African Republic.
The U.N. estimates that 1.3 million people–a quarter of the country’s population–are in need of aid.
“The situation is still very difficult,” explains Hocking. “Even in the capital city there are killings almost daily, although the large-scale conflicts seem to be pretty much over in Bangui. Outside of the capital, anti-balaka militia groups are still causing many problems, and most Muslims have been run out of the country, with many others trapped and looking for a way to escape.”
Despite the continual unrest in Central African Republic, causing Water for Good to close its main office in Bangui and forcing many staff members to leave the capital and move to outlying communities, the work continues.
“The Central African Republic isn’t the same country it was 18 months ago,” says Hocking. “We’d appreciate prayers for wisdom as we have many decisions to make as we adapt our operations to meet the new situation in the country. “
Pray that the Christian radio station would continue to impact the Christian and Muslim communities. Pray for peace and hope as the ministry shares the gospel in the Central African Republic.