Amid Violence, Some Good News from Central Africa
February 20, 2014
Members of a radical Islamic terrorist group are determined to turn their Central African country into a state governed by sharia law. They are known for their vicious attacks on the innocent, and for destroying churches, schools, and government buildings. Even fellow Muslims who don’t practice their interpretation of “true Islam” are at risk of being brutalized.
Repeated acts of terrorism have not stopped the gospel from being proclaimed in Africa. Pictured is a group of believers who are walking to a nearby river for a baptismal service.
Most of the violence has occurred in the northeast of the country, where the group has an established stronghold. More than 100 residents of a Christian farming village were killed in a rampage on the night of Feb. 15, according to media sources. Survivors reported that gunmen wearing military fatigues arrived in trucks and on motorcycles, opening fire on villagers. Male residents were rounded up and slaughtered, food supplies were looted, and houses were set on fire.
According to Christian Today, another violent attack took place Jan. 31, when gunmen opened fire on a church in the area and killed 11 people, including a pastor. The terrorist group was suspected of carrying out both attacks. The following day in a nearby area, a Muslim cleric, known for his outspoken criticism of the group’s tactics, was murdered, along with other family members.
Now for the good news:
The leader of a ministry that Christian Aid assists in the area sent the following email January 30:
Just last night four victims of this terrorist group were smuggled to us. They were injured during the Sunday attack. Three of them lost their wives, and two of their children were killed. We are hiding them, as they are really traumatized and helpless. Pray for them.
In the same vein, two of the rebels who wanted to withdraw from terrorist activity were attacked by their colleagues. They have accepted Christ and have been brought to us, as the church around here believes we are the only ones who can handle this issue. Please help us pray for their spiritual growth. These individuals are very genuine, as during the course of our discussion one of them said, “If I could fight to die for a cause and I do not know my fate, because I am now a believer, I am ready to die for this truth, no matter what.” This man is ready to go and preach to Muslims after he knows the Bible. Pray for him.”
For three decades this ministry has sent out missionaries to share the gospel and plant churches among Muslims and animist tribes in the area. The ministry’s 180 missionary workers currently serve throughout the country, including areas where security is poor.
Despite the dangers, these faithful servants of the Lord desire to remain on the frontlines so they will have the opportunity to point these lost people to the only one who can bring true peace and salvation—the Lord Jesus. And their efforts are being rewarded.
This past summer three of the rebels left the organization and received Christ as their Savior. The ministry brought them to a convert care center, where they will receive protection, be discipled, and have the freedom to study God’s Word.
“The Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthian church, said, ‘Old things have passed away and behold all things are new.’ The impact of the gospel is full and complete,” said the Africa Area Director for Christian Aid Mission. “Paul turned from persecuting the Church to nurturing it. He found the good news to be the power of God unto salvation to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.”
The ministry needs additional funds to complete its new headquarters facility.
“When someone is truly born again, the natural progression is for them to be bold and want to proclaim the gospel to others, even when it is risky,” he said.
The ministry had to abandon its headquarters office last year due to threats received from the rebel group. Christian Aid supplied funds for them to purchase land in a safer and more centralized location. Construction of the new facility, which includes plans for staff housing, has been partially completed, but another $20,000 is needed to finish the project.
Thousands of civilians have died at the hands of the terrorist group since 2009, and the government has had little success in stopping their attacks. Some fear that violence will spread into the southern part of the country, where most of the Christian population resides.
The ministry leader asks for believers around the world to pray for an end to the violence and for the love of Christ to transform his nation.
- For the power of the gospel to penetrate the hearts and minds of the terrorists and transform them into soldiers for Christ
- For protection for ministry workers and their families
- For peace in this Central African country