For several years, the Central African Republic has been torn apart by conflict. A conflict that resulted in the killing of civilians, and the burning and looting of houses.
But amid the conflict, there is hope. The church is very much alive and active in its local community and for people like Suzanne, the church has been the lifeline she needed.
In the 1950s, Suzanne married Antoine, a man from a different village, and they lived together just outside Bangui, the capital city. Following her husband’s death, Suzanne was sharing her home with her daughter and her three grandchildren. When the conflict erupted, they thought they would be safe in the family home.
Before long, however, Antoine’s family came to Suzanne’s home. They blamed her for his death, saying that she was an ‘outsider’ who had caused problems by marrying someone from a different village. They chased away Suzanne, her daughter and the grandchildren, threatening to kill them if they returned.
Suzanne’s daughter and the children were able to find shelter with a family in the local area, but there was no room for Suzanne, who had to sleep in the bush or on the floor of the local church.
Tearfund has been working with the local church in CAR through a process called Church and Community Mobilisation (CCM). Tearfund organised several training sessions to inspire, and equip the church to reach out to the vulnerable in their communities; to rescue the lost and to heal broken hearts.
Following CCM training, the church in Suzanne’s community was deeply moved by Suzanne’s story and wanted to help.
Brick by brick, the church was able to provide a new home for Suzanne. The pastor raised funds, and the church members brought in bricks or lent tools. The church worked for three months to raise the walls with some of the more wealthy members financing the roof.
Together, they were able to be a new family for Suzanne – and helped heal her broken heart.
She says, ‘seeing what my brothers and sisters have done for me has healed me. I have felt their love, their compassion.
I am grateful to Tearfund who made it happen. I praise the Lord for now being in my own house, I can move on, and feel that the future is brighter than ever.’
Praise God for the churches that have attended Tearfund's CCM training and for the desire they have to see change in their local communities.
Lift up Suzanne and her family as she settles into her new home.
Pray that the church in CAR can continue to be salt and light even in a very difficult context.
We pray because we're desperate for God - to walk with him... in step with his will for the world.
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