Redemption offers hope following 3-year civil war

By April 4, 2016

Central African Republic (MNN) — Hearts throughout Central African Republic are breaking. Only a message carried by ministries like TeachBeyond offers permanent hope, because it’s the story of redemption.

“This is something only God’s Holy Spirit can do,” says TeachBeyond President George Durance. “He brings the new birth.

“We have the privilege to communicate that, to facilitate that, to be His messengers of the hope of the Gospel.”

Living a nightmare

The families of 100+ minors throughout CAR brought accusations of sexual abuse — suffered at the hands of UN peacekeepers — to the alliance’s attention last week. Investigations of crimes taking place between 2013 and 2015 have begun, but attacks are also ongoing.

Helmet and Flack Jackets of UN Peacekeepers. (UN Photo/Marie Frechon.)

Helmet and Flack Jackets of UN Peacekeepers.
(UN Photo/Marie Frechon.)

A 16-year-old girl was reportedly abused multiple times last week by a Congolese peacekeeper.

“We must face the fact that a number of troops sent to protect people instead acted with hearts of darkness,” UN spokesman Setphane Dujarric told reporters on Thursday.

UN peacekeepers have maintained a heavy presence in CAR since 2013, when tit-for-tat violence led to a coup, then a full-scale civil war.

“It’s been really disruptive; we’ve lost a lot of money, actually,” Durance states. “Plane tickets, you know, are no longer valid; and then meanwhile, the people that we’re going to serve are writing back to us all kinds of heart-rending stories.”

In early 2013, two TeachBeyond consulting teams were ready to meet with local leaders and begin a project in CAR. A few days later, rebels took control of the country. Then began months of sectarian violence, and approximately 400,000 people lost their homes and livelihoods.

“One of the last things that people think about is education, particularly of children who’ve been displaced,” says Durance.

The past three years have been tortuous. But, redemption is at-hand for the children of CAR.

Redemption dawns

The inauguration last week of the first democratically-elected President since 2013, Faustin-Archange Touadera, signaled the dawning of a new day for CAR. It’s also a new beginning for TeachBeyond.

“There’s been an appointment of new political leaders; there’s been some religious, spiritual healing that’s taken place in the country–reconciliation,” Durance shares.

“The opportunity there has opened up again. There’s a lot more stability.”

Without hesitation, TeachBeyond picked up where they had left off in early 2013.

“We’re once again able to have people move into the country and provide educational leadership, training, and also have people there doing ‘frontline’ education, working with individual students,” says Durance.

CAR is in tatters, and most resources have been destroyed by years of fighting. It’s not enough to hold the leaders of TeachBeyond back, though. They’re driven by a bigger vision.

According to Durance, “We want to ‘teach beyond’ the ordinary–teach beyond just the simple, utilitarian type of education that trains people for the work place or to be good prudential citizens.

“These are wonderful qualities in education, but we want to go beyond that to see individuals transformed, to see them really become all that God, their Creator, intended them to be.”

TeachBeyond needs your help to make their dream for CAR a reality. “It’s not going to be about money,” Durance clarifies.

(Photo courtesy Teach Beyond)

(Photo courtesy TeachBeyond)

“The first thing that we would ask people to pray about is for God to put on the hearts and minds of His followers a burden for people across the world who will be open to education.”

Secondly, “What we need more than anything else are quality people who are passionately sold out to Christ, and who are willing to go abroad and live in, sometimes, pretty difficult circumstances, simply because they love people and want to see them transformed.”

To learn more, click here to connect with TeachBeyond.

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