How many Christians are there in the Central African Republic?
The Central African Republic (CAR) is a majority-Christian country; of the 4.8 million people who live there, 3.6 million are Christians, making up 75 per cent of the population.
Why are Christians persecuted in the Central African Republic?
The Central African Republic has been embroiled in conflict since 2013 and most of the country is occupied by armed militia groups, responsible for a range of human rights abuses. Christian leaders who have publicly denounced the violence have been threatened and church buildings have been burned and ransacked.
In the video above, young boys Jeovani, Steven and Dieu Fera talk about how Open Doors supporters helped them recover and find joy again after they lost legs in a terrible bomb attack on their church.
Christians have been caught in the middle of the fighting between Seleka, an Islamic extremist group, and Anti-Balaka, a group made up of animists and nominal Christians, and have become targets for both sides.
Meet Pastor Zoundji
“We will move forward, knowing that only God can protect us. And even if death should come, I will die in the Word.”Pastor Zoundji
What’s life like for Christians in the Central African Republic?
The conflict has resulted in the displacement of thousands of Christians who have been forced to live in camps and have lost their homes and livelihoods. In many of those circumstances they were attacked because they are Christians.
Pastor Zoundji has been living in a tent for six years now – for the most part, without even the bare essentials, like soap. Muslim Seleka forces looted his home and ransacked his town, forcing him and the Christians there to flee into the wilderness. Returning home is not currently possible. And he has around 200 Christians under his care as part of a church he leads, all of whom are internally displaced persons (IDP) like him.
An IDP camp may look like an impossible place for the gospel to flourish, and yet Zoundji feels called to preach the love of Jesus no matter the cost. “We know we must announce the Word,” he says. “In hard times, we shouldn’t be looking back.”
How can I help Christians in the Central African Republic?
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in CAR. Your gifts and prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors has supported Zoundji and other believers in central CAR through persecution survival and discipleship training, economic empowerment projects, trauma care and the distribution of aid and Bibles.
Lord Jesus, bring Your peace to the nation of Central African Republic. Protect and defend Christians who find themselves caught in the crossfire of violence, and sustain and uphold all those who have been displaced and are far from home. May they draw their comfort and strength from You.