Displaying items by tag: Africa
Despite being called a predominantly Christian country, the Central African Republic (CAR) is a difficult place for biblical disciples to live. Since 2012, Islamic rebel groups, called Seleka, have caused civil unrest. Fighters opposing the Seleka, the anti-Balaka, considered to be mostly ‘Christians’, have carried out brutal revenge killings. As with the Seleka, some anti-Balaka have targeted biblical followers of Christ. In truth, the anti-Balaka are simply non-Muslims. While 85% of CAR’s 5 million people identify as Christians, only 30% are thought to be committed followers of Christ. These believers are increasingly attacked, driven from their homes, and killed. Since the fighting began, over 1.2 million people have been relocated across CAR because of violence. Another 600,000 refugees live outside CAR, and 600,000 live in camps for internally displaced people. Pray for adequate donations to be given to aid agencies providing thousands with food, shelter, and medicine.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s funeral was on 1 January. He was a driving force behind ending racial segregation and discrimination in an era when South Africa taught the world what courage and reconciliation could achieve. The contrast between those times of sacrifice, justice and glory, and today's corrupt political realities are stark. Deep economic frustration, high unemployment and inequality is governed by the African National Congress (ANC), which is at open war with itself and full of corruption. The day after Tutu’s funeral a fire severely ravaged much of the houses of parliament, causing ‘significant damage’ to the new assembly wing, including the National Assembly chamber where lawmakers sit. While firefighters were still working on ‘hotspots’ further flames erupted, threatening to cause the entire structure to collapse. We can pray that as men rebuild the houses of parliament, God will raise up and anoint political and community leaders to repair the damage done by mismanagement and corruption.
Prime minister Abdalla Hamdok resigned after pro-democracy protests by thousands against his power-sharing deal with the army. Chanting ‘power to the people’, they called for a return to full civilian rule. The military responded with force, and Hamdok's resignation left them in full control, damaging Sudan's attempt for democratic rule. Mr Hamdok said that Sudan was at a ‘dangerous turning point threatening its survival’, and he had tried his best to stop the country from ‘sliding towards disaster’. He added, ‘Mediation attempts with civilian and military officials to achieve the necessary consensus to deliver to our people the promise of peace, justice and no bloodshed have failed.’ An economist by training, he is widely respected in the international community, having previously worked as an official with the UN. He helped negotiate removal of some of Sudan's debts, but this involved removing fuel subsidies, leading to higher prices of goods and then anti-government protests.
According to military sources, suspected IS-linked extremists decapitated a pastor in Cabo Delgado on 15 December and forced his wife to carry his head to the police station. The monstrous act took place amidst a four-year long insurgency ravaging the country, leaving over 3,000 people dead and almost 100,000 displaced. Pray for the Lord to provide comfort to the wife of this slain pastor, and that He would heal her of the trauma she has had to endure. In a statement after the attack, IS boasted that its affiliate, Al-Shabab (not linked to Somali terror group), had killed dozens of security personnel and Christians, including westerners from what the statement termed ‘Crusader nations.’
The national primary health care agency (NPHCDA) destroyed 1,066,214 expired doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that were donated to them in October but had to be used by November. The decision to destroy the vaccinations followed several testing processes showing it was necessary to destroy them to protect Nigerians from being harmed. NPHCDA’s director said they had an option to try and use these vaccines beyond the labelled expiry date, but decided to destroy them at the point they expired. The vaccines came with a short life span, some as short as two weeks. NPHCDA said while Nigeria appreciated the gesture of the donors, it was not in the interest of Nigeria that vaccines with a short lifespan were sent there. Only ten million Nigerians have been vaccinated to date: Nigeria’s target is 110 million people.
The villagers of Lihukwa used to fish the local rivers, but this barely provided them with enough food or income to survive. Families went hungry, there was no school or hospital, and accessing essential supplies was challenging. Pastor Teddy Chinyama visited the village and began offering Bible study. Then, as he got to know the villagers, he taught them how to use the land God had given them and trained them in growing a variety of crops. They began to hope for a better life, and transformation began. They successfully petitioned the local council to set up a health clinic and support the construction of a new school. New projects are springing up all the time. The villagers now grow their own food and sell vegetables at the market. People are now able to afford what they need, and hunger is a thing of the past.
An Algerian message: ‘Christians eagerly wait for Christmas. We wait for joyous worship services, time to gather with family and friends, presents to open, and the celebration of the hope we have in Christ. But since authorities closed our churches in 2019, we won’t be able to celebrate Christmas together for the third year running. The churches are doing their best to take care of their sheep in an impossible situation and are waiting for heavenly intervention. In the midst of these hardships, Christians meet on Zoom, and watch church services on TV. We believe in a mighty God: nothing is impossible with Him.’ Pray for God to renew the spiritual strength of Algerian Christians waiting on God to shift the things beyond their control. May we join with the pastors who proclaim that the best is yet to come. Pray that Algerian churches will be permanently re-opened.
The Horn of Africa has experienced prolonged drought, rapidly increasing food prices, and escalating armed conflict. A nutrition crisis is exacerbated by climate change and Covid-19. Families are fleeing their homes in search of safety and arable land. In 2011 they experienced the worst drought in sixty years, and are still reeling from the effects. Somalia is experiencing full-on famine. Drought conditions in northern Kenya, much of Somalia, and southern Ethiopia are predicted to persist until at least mid-2022, putting lives at risk. The situation is already so bad that wild animals are dying in their hundreds and herders are reporting losses of up to 70% of their livestock. Kenya is home to vulnerable and endangered species which include lions, giraffes and the world's only two surviving northern white rhinos. The coast is also a transit route for migratory whales, dolphins and endangered turtles. The biggest-ever animal census was recently carried out from the marine parks and forest reserves of coastal Kenya.
Nigeria regularly sees ongoing massacres of indigenous Christians, and security forces imprison free thinkers for the ‘crime’ of blasphemy. Nevertheless, the USA removed Nigeria from its Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) list. On 2 December Rev John Hayab wrote an article in Nigerian Voice stating, ‘The US’s delisting Nigeria from its CPC list is appalling, as the persecution of Christians is still at its peak. Because Nigeria still has grave problems with religious persecution, this action is like a doctor discharging a patient from hospital even though they are still critically ill. What that signifies is telling the patient to go home and die. The USA was either ill-advised or does not care what happens in Nigeria. It does not comprehend that the current regime wants to impoverish and weaken the Christian community without letting the international community notice it. The Nigerian government employed highly professional lobbyists to convince the US state department to reach its decision.’
On 28 October you prayed for Sudan to find a workable political system so that coups and coup attempts cease. On 21 November Sudan's ousted prime minister Abdalla Hamdok was reinstated and released from house arrest. All political detainees were also released as part of a new agreement between the military, civilian leaders and ex-rebel groups. The coup had sparked weeks of mass protests with many deaths. Mr Hamdok agreed to the terms to avoid further bloodshed. The group of mediators, which included academics, journalists and politicians, released a statement outlining the terms of the agreement, which said the rules governing the transition towards democracy would be restored.