Stories from the Mission Field

May 2022

Of power outages, roadblocks and state presidents

"Bangui is the capital of the second poorest country in the world (Human Development Index, 2020). Here, there is only electricity for just 8 out of 24 hours a day." This is what Magloire Kadjio, regional representative of EBM INTERNATIONAL, writes in the first lines of his travel report. He visited the projects in the Central African Republic in March 2022 and experienced the typical challenges of the country, but also a lot of hospitality and hopeful insights into mission work.

"It is 5:30 p.m. in the early evening when I arrive at the airport in Bangui in the Central African Republic. As usual, the three highest representatives of the local church have come to the airport to meet me: president, vice president and general secretary. A small welcoming delegation that I have become accustomed to in my travels: When I come as an EBM representative, it is a top priority for the people. After the brief welcome, things move quickly: we have just three hours to get to the mission station, have dinner, and have the first meeting because there's no electricity just after 8 p.m."

Uncertain political situation: road and curfew closures

There are also curfews in the evening. Just at the time Magloire is in the country, rebel groups have regrouped to attack the capital. Controls and curfews have been a bitter reality in the country for many years. If anything, the situation has worsened since the presidential elections in November 2020. Nevertheless, after the short meetings and the night at the safe mission station, many project visits are scheduled in the country. It is nice to see how much good is happening in all the tragedy of the civil war-like situation:

Maison Dorcas: training for women

"I could see how many activities the director of the Maison Dorcas training center, Anne Moussa, has initiated: Former students now cook on the premises in a simple restaurant. It opens to the district community and to people on the campus, where the Theological Seminary is also located. At the same time, the products made at the sewing school are shown and sold here. It's impressive how every means is used to try to generate income for the people." EBM INTERNATIONAL has supported the Maison Dorcas center for many years with up to 6,000 euros a year. And Magloire also makes this clear: "You can continue to rely on our support of this school."

Theological education: Reliable partnership

The situation is similar with theological education in the country. There are currently 47 trainees studying at the Bangui campus, and 26 of them will receive their degrees in July. In Bangui, men and women study theology. This is something that we as EBM INTERNATIONAL consciously promote, but it is far from being common in all Baptist unions with which we cooperate. Theological education is supported with 10,000 euros annually. Despite all the challenges, it secures the salaries of many qualified teachers, among other things. The institution's graduates are among the most highly qualified people in the country - and not only in the field of theology.

Church service with the state president

Magloire continues, "On Sunday, I preached twice in a large congregation to more than 2,000 people each time. After the first service, I was able to meet the state president and the prime minister of the country. Both are Baptists and came to the church with their families for the service. This was a great opportunity and experience for me and shows once again how well we as EBM INTERNATIONAL are networked through our partners in the countries."

Prayer for the Central African Republic

Magloire and the leaders of our partner federation UFEB in the Central African Republic have accompanied the whole trip with much prayer. And they explicitly invite us to join in this prayer: For the political situation in the country and for a comprehensive peace, for the government and the president. And of course for the many churches and the projects: May God bless the many aspiring pastors and change society through them. And may many young women be able to lead an independent life through the trainings at Maison Dorcas. May God grant Anne, the director, strength, wisdom and perseverance.

According to a report by Magloire Kadjio