The UN is calling the Central Africa Republic (CAR) a “silent crisis”, defining it as housing some of the worst conditions on earth.
I’ve experienced the suffering and misery first hand as OneHope has had a passionate interest in and outreach there for the last 4 years. As Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times has said, it is “the neediest country in the world.”
I contracted life-threatening E. Coli there several years ago and several members of our team have endured brutal malaria after ministering there. Of the more then 125 nations where OneHope works, it is safe to say nowhere has come close to the spiritual warfare and human plight that we have experienced in this poor country.
But because of incessant war and debilitating corruption, most nonprofits and ministries do not have a presence there. So when crisis strikes no one responds. This land-locked triangle of terra has had its cry for attention muffled; the media has given little time and attention to the horrors that abound there. Our eyes have been averted to other areas around the world while things have gotten monumentally worse in the CAR.
Rebels…government…refugees…coups…all contributing to the jumbled mess that is leaving almost everyone in this centralized African nation at a devastating loss and without hope.
Children who defy the 16 percent chance they won’t make it past their fifth birthday are being forced to work in horrifying conditions to mine resources like diamonds or uranium, act as sex slaves, porters for stolen goods or recruited as child soldiers.
Poverty abounds and so does desperation. Since people are isolated and without access to healthcare, disease runs rampant, bringing with it an incalculable death toll and a pervasive spirit of hopelessness. Some CAR inhabitants feel less than human, describing themselves as animals just waiting to die.
One of my assistants was in the capital, Bangui, just last year speaking with the government and in talks with the Church to try to keep our programs in the country going. He shared that people who had been scraping by were losing everything to the rebels who were especially targeting and bombing churches. The unrest disrupts jobs, so there was no work to be had, no money, no food, no peace, and no hope. God’s Word was the only source of hope in this desperately hopeless place.
The Central African Republic has fallen out of the media’s spotlight, it’s not a “hot topic” anymore. As a result, there has been a huge decrease in money and aid being sent to help the refugees, displaced and desperate people there. It is the definition of “things have gone from bad to worse”.
I’m reminded of the Israelites and their devastatingly long captivity by the Egyptians. We must not forget the people of this nation who are facing some of the most dire, tragic circumstances of their lives. They have not been forgotten by their Heavenly Father, or by us, His Church.
On their behalf, I pray the words of David in Psalm 13:1-6
O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand? Turn and answer me, O Lord my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die. Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!” Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall. But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because He is good to me.
Pray with me for this nation that they may know they have not been forgotten in their time of trial.
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