April 21, 2018

UN Peacekeepers Support Church Building in the Central African Republic

West Central Africa Division News & Adventist Review

A contingent of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) based in Burundi recently made a stop in that central African nation to offer support and building materials to the local Adventist Mission.

Official festivities took place on February 10, 2018, on the new site that Cadastre Services granted to the Adventist Mission in the Central African Republic (CAR). Church members in Sibut, the capital of the Kemo Prefecture, witnessed as the MINUSCA team donated construction materials to build a new church building. The Burundi-based team supporting the stabilization process in the CAR, which is 150-people strong, includes at least a dozen Seventh-day Adventists.

In addition to MINUSCA team representatives, the ceremony was attended by government officers, including the Kemo governor, the mayor of Sibut, and several traditional rulers. At the same time, a delegation of church leaders traveled from the CAR capital city of Bangui two and a half hours south to acknowledge the donation. The church delegation was led by CAR Mission president Elie Boromia, Secretary-Treasurer Félicité Lafortune Mobia, and communication director Solé Tita-Samba.

After the worship service, the donation ceremony included three speeches. The first was by MINUSCA’s team deputy commander, who is a Seventh-day Adventist. He shared that he was proud of the initiative, and appealed church members to consolidate peace in the CAR. “I call you to support the promotion of peace across this country, that is struggling to get up,” he said. “I hope this donation helps you to build a beautiful church, which may teach that love God wants for all people.”

By way of an answer, Boromia thanked MINUSCA for the donation, as he urged his listeners to cultivate the character modeled in the Bible parable of the Good Samaritan. That parable told by Jesus teaches that any person in need is our neighbor and that we should always be ready to give that person a hand as needed.

Boromia also emphasized that the donation received goes straight to the hearts of Central Africans in general, and specifically, to brothers and sisters who are members of the Sibut Seventh-day Adventist Church.

When her turn arrived, the Kemo governor said she appreciated the gesture of the Adventist Christians of the Burundian contingent, as she pledged ongoing support to the construction project. “It is my intention to help Sibut Adventists to finish their church building,” she said. “Please make good use of the materials received.”

The CAR is trying to recover after years of political unrest, which also negatively impacted the work of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the country. Current mission leaders are working aggressively on a reconstruction strategy plan, which includes building new churches and assigning new pastors across the territory.

“Mission leaders are the first responsible for the development of God’s work,” explained Tita-Samba. “However, when you see the enormous challenges and ponder on them, you realize that the responsibility for making the church more compelling also lies with every church member.”

Tita-Samba believes the MINUSCA donation is a start. “The example of this small group from Burundi, who came on a mission to restore peace in the Central African Republic, must serve as our inspiration,” he said.