God Graciously Answered Their Fervent Prayers

Posted: April 21, 2014 in Articles

During Open Doors’ recent trip to the Central African Republic (CAR), we visited several communities that testified about the destruction they have experienced during the Seleka rebellion and the hardship caused by anti-Balaka reprisal. As we travelled through the capital Bangui and into the South and West of the country, the destruction was evident everywhere.

But when we reached Bozoum, we heard a surprising testimony.

“After a difficult journey from Baoro on a dirt road at a snail’s pace in a ImageSangaris convoy, we reached Bozoum. At the Lutheran mission where we lodged, we met the pastor and an elder. We found their optimism surprising,” explains Open Doors’ Research and Communications Manager for West and Central Africa.

The Christian leaders told OD that not much harm had been done in this city. No more than 20 houses were burnt, and only a handful of people died in the rebel campaign. There was also no violence between anti-Balaka and Seleka here.

Compared to other towns this escape of Seleka destruction is unheard of.  Even in the next town of Bouar, the circumstances have been completely different. Here, the religious extremists rejoiced at the Seleka take-over and declared that they were ready for action against the Christians. “Mbaran Chrétiens fou”, loosely translated to mean, ‘If you Christians play with us, we will kill you!’

The Bozoum Christians ascribe their circumstances to God graciously answering their fervent prayers during an intense intercessory movement in the city. The Christians prayed and fasted for their city from the start of the Seleka rebellion in December 2012 and continued meeting weekly, each time at a different church, to proclaim the Name of Jesus. We saw evidence of their proclamation in the Bible verses they painted on rocks all around the city. They also prayed for the people of the other religions who had come to see the Christians as their enemies.”

For the Seleka commander, Suleyman, it was a total mystery why they were only able to do 1% of the harm they planned for the town. Somehow their plans were always blocked. Suleyman has since died in an attack near the Cameroonian border. With his death came an end to Seleka reign over Bozoum. However, while Suleyman’s legacy has disappeared with his death, the testimony of God’s gracious answer to the Bouar Christians’ fervent prayers remains.

 

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