Central African Republic crisis: insight from the front lines

By June 25, 2014
Jim Hocking and Farel Ndango of Water for Good. (Image from Farel Ndango's Facebook page)

Jim Hocking and Farel Ndango of Water for Good share an update about
the Central African Republic.
(Image from Farel Ndango’s Facebook page)

Central African Republic (MNN) — Violence occurs daily between Muslims and Christians as the Central African Republic crisis continues. The country is reportedly inching closer to genocide, as national security forces have been unable to contain the fighting.

Nearly 20 Fulani Muslims were killed yesterday after Christian anti-balaka militants attacked their village near Bambari. In addition, Sudan is trying to evacuate Darfur refugees living in the CAR. The U.S. is sending another $51 million in humanitarian aid that will reportedly provide for clean water, food, emergency health services, and more.

Farel Ndango of Water for Good, an in-country partner of Living Water International and Reach Beyond, is sharing an update from the front lines.

“My generation, my children’s generation, had never experienced a war like this,” he explains. “We had seen some government turnovers, but never this bad and this long.

“[Now] is the time to be speaking about the Gospel on a regular basis.”

Reach Beyond and Water for Good share the hope of Christ daily through radio broadcasts.

“We talk about the Gospel, about God, and what His desires are for everyone,” Ndango notes.

Established just a few years ago, the shortwave radio station was originally intended to broadcast maintenance information to CAR communities. Following the violent outbreak of sectarian violence, Water for Good and Reach Beyond’s radio station gained new purpose: sharing regular reminders of God’s love, redemption, and reconciliation.

Help reconciliation and Gospel broadcasts continue.

(Image courtesy Reach Beyond)

(Image courtesy Reach Beyond)

“We have this tool that God has given us: we are able to use it. We have radio announcers, [and] we continue to work on funding to make sure it stays on the air,” says Ndango.

“It’s currently on the air eight to ten hours; we hope to move it more toward 12 and 24 hours, but God continues to give us just enough funding to continue.”

Radio is only one aspect of Water for Good’s ministry in the CAR. They also help communities start the climb out of poverty by providing clean water and agricultural development.

Acting as Living Water’s in-country representative, Water for Good teams drilled 20 new wells during the first six months of 2014 and completed 667 well maintenance visits. They also built several platforms in refugee camps to hold the water bladders these camps relied on for clean water.

No matter where in the ministry Gospel workers serve, they each face danger. One of Water for Good’s drivers was kidnapped by militants, dressed in a uniform, and taken to Chad; he eventually managed to escape and return home. A security guard was shot in the arm.

“It’s been difficult,” Ndango shares. “We have not had people killed, but we have had a lot of people injured.”

Central African Republic crisis

Water for Good’s maintenance teams have shown a lot of courage. In the last 6 months, despite the dangers, they’ve continued to visit remote villages, servicing water pumps for people in desperate need of hope. A total of 667 visits have been made. They’ve kept clean water flowing for approximately a quarter of a million people.
(Image, caption courtesy Water for Good)

Despite the dangers and challenges, national workers press on to care for their neighbor and make Christ known. In response to the ongoing Central African Republic crisis, Water for Good initiated a year-long campaign called “Love Now” focused on relief for CAR families.

“There’s never enough [funding], so we covet your prayers as we seek support on a regular basis,” says Ndango.

“There still is evidence of a lot of work to be done before reconciliation and peace really arrive there in the Central African Republic.”

Will you help Water for Good, Living Water International, and Reach Beyond meet needs in the name of Christ? Learn more about the Love Now campaign and how you can help here.

Prayer is also a top priority.

“Pray for peace in the country and pray for reconciliation across the lines,” Ndango requests. Pray also for Ndango’s family. Residing in Bangui, they’ve had to relocate to refugee camps three different times.

“Continue to think and pray for our country. The war is not over,” urges Ndango.

“There’s still fighting, and until the United Nations troops arrive, 12,000 of them, we know we still have hard times ahead.”

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