Central African Republic (MNN) — Insecurity is growing in a nation already plagued by volatility. As the Central African Republic crisis approaches its two-year anniversary, peace looks even more unlikely.
According to OCHA, the Central African Republic crisis has displaced over 438,000 people and has driven more than 423,000 people into neighboring countries. Around 2.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.
And yet, God provides a silver lining.
“We’re still reaching nearly half-a-million people with the Gospel and water across the country,” shares Living Water International (LWI) partner, Jim Hocking. Hocking’s group, Water for Good, implements water solutions across the CAR.
The CAR crisis
The Central African Republic’s current bout of instability began in March 2013, when Muslim Seleka rebels ousted the president and took over the capital city.
In the following months, a Seleka leader took over and then resigned under international pressure. A transitional government replaced him and has since been trying to restore order and stability.
Sectarian violence grew following the initial ouster, inciting a nationwide divide between Christian and Muslim populations.
Water for Good workers brave the rift to share Gospel Truth as they supply people in-need with clean water.
“It’s not Christian-versus-Muslim. It’s Muslim-versus-Non-Muslim,” Hocking says, describing how workers explain the truth about anti-Balaka and Seleka fighting.
“That understanding has begun to permeate the country much better, which gives us a better footing to stand on as we share the Gospel.”
Since 2015 began, a so-called “peace deal” between the CAR’s two former presidents failed, but another one is supposedly in the works. This deal would be between Seleka and anti-Balaka rebels — not the interim government.
“These two factions, who were literally killing each other a couple of months ago, are saying they’ve now signed an agreement to get along,” explains Hocking.
“They feel they can do a better job than the government.”
In addition, the United Nations is calling for even more peacekeeping troops. If approved, that would bring the total number of UN troops addressing the Central African Republic crisis to nearly 13,000.
Internal security forces are on the rocks–army, local police, etc., so UN troops are needed to keep the CAR from slipping further into chaos and anarchy.
Water for Good has taken extra measures to ensure the safety of their staff and to keep their work up and running. Along with supporting well projects, LWI is teaching Water for Good staff how to share the Gospel more effectively.
“Jerry Wiles was there in the Central African Republic doing some [orality] training with our teams,” Hocking recounts.
“They continue to use that on a regular basis in villages, trying to share with them what Jesus Christ really can mean in their lives and the fact that they need to turn over their lives [to Him] and set aside their differences.”
Prayers and financial support are their top needs, adds Hocking.
“We have some serious needs in the Central African Republic right now,” he says.