March 22, 2020

Adventist Church Assists Former Boko Haram Fighters With Food

Abraham Bakari, West-Central Africa Division, and Adventist Review

Regional leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church delivered more than 20 tons (about 40,000 pounds) of food to the Regional Committee for Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration of the Extreme North of Cameroon in Maroua on February 28, 2020. Beneficiaries were former combatants of the Boko Haram organization.

Special guests at the ceremony were Extreme North Region governor Midjiyawa Bakari, Adventist Church president in the West-Central Africa Division (WAD) region Elie Weick-Dido, and WAD evangelism director Vincent Roger Same.

More than 1,000 church members, administrative and military officials, area residents, and media outlets were present to witness the delivery of the donations. Local church leaders included North Cameroon Adventist Conference president Hendjena Richard; executive secretary Issa Babba; and treasurer Ndoumie Tchamaya, who was in charge of putting the donations together.

According to church leaders, donations included corn flour, cooking oil, rice, millet, and salt, worth more than 5 million Cameroon francs (about US$8,600).

In his remarks, governor Bakari thanked the Adventist Church for its responses to the requests made by the head of state.

“In 2016, the [Adventist] Church had already brought donations worth more than 21 million Cameroon francs (about US$36,000) to the victims of Boko Haram and our valiant defense and security forces,” Bakari said. “The government has not forgotten this gesture, which will serve as a model for future generations.”

Addressing Weick-Dido, Bakari added, “This gesture . . . reflects the importance that the Seventh-day Adventist Church attaches to the final return and consolidation of peace in the Extreme North of Cameroon, as well as to the well-being of its population.”

According to local officials, donations will be used to meet the basic feeding needs of almost 1,000 former Boko Haram combatants who have decided to lay down their arms.

One of the highlights of the ceremony was the prayer for Cameroon, church leaders said. Weick-Dido prayed for Cameroon officers and the people of the country. Before praying, Weick-Dido exhorted Cameroonians to embrace “peace, forgiveness, reconciliation, and love while participating effectively in national construction.”

According to Weick-Dido, this is not an overnight process.

“It is not by pressing on a button that one can develop a nation. Each country needs the contribution of its children. Those who have gone astray can try the prodigal son’s experience,” said Weick-Dido.

A solemn worship service ended the pastoral visit of the WAD president, with almost 5,000 people assembled on the premises of Maroua Adventist School. In his message entitled “The Tragedy of Missed Opportunities,” Weick-Dido called Adventist members not to despise the time of visitation, the time of grace, the time of probation, and the time of blessing; and to make the most of every chance to bless others.

“We must, therefore, remain vigilant,” he said.

The original version of this story was posted on the West-Central Africa Division news site.