Jim Hocking, long-time missionary to Central African Republic, recently returned from a four-week trip to Africa. Hocking heads Integrated Community Development International (ICDI), a non-governmental non-profit organization working in healthcare, AIDS awareness, literacy, orphan care and well drilling. Here are excerpts from his report of his most recent trip. For more information on ICDI, click here:
This trip to the CAR was at times nearly the highlight of my missionary career and at other times the deepest discouragement as I faced insurmountable odds.
I asked you to be praying for the final permission for the radio station at Boali, CAR. We did not receive those from the government. We did receive some good encouragement but we did not receive the permissions as yet. (2) We asked you to be praying for the transfer of title on the property and equipment for the well drilling company. Although this is not completed it has been started and the documentation signed. (3) We asked for prayer for the True Love Waits seminars and I was able to watch two of those take place. (4) As for the construction site of the orphan care center, we now have the security wall completed and the gates mounted. They have gathered the stone, gravel and sand for the foundation as well as bricks for the walls. (5) The visit by Dave and Jean Vittum as well as Bob Belohlavek was a tremendous boost to me as well as the national team there in Bangui. It has been decided that it will be essential for Bob to return with me in June.
Orphan Care in the CAR:
As we have become more and more involved in the lives of these orphans and destitute children we realize how little love they have had in their lives. It has been a thrill to see them singing, memorizing scripture and listening to Bible stories at their group meetings with their leaders. We now have nearly 250 children in the orphan care program, only a handful which are currently sponsored.
The orphan care center continues to move ahead and the care committee has decided to call this the Mercy Care Center. The third phase will happen in mid June when we have the work team arriving from the USA. People are already signing up for this team so if you are interested please write to Dave Vittum soon at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on what is going to be happening with this work team.
Well Drilling and Well Repairs:
It was truly a joy to be able to visit some of the sites where wells have been repaired by our well repair team. This team collects the monthly repair fees and do whatever repairs are necessary for each of the nearly 200 wells in our care. When I see the faces of children and adults alike enjoying the pure drinking water that they themselves have helped pay for, it is truly a blessing to invest in this ministry. Pray for the funding for next year of $6,000 in order to continue to expand this ministry to villages which have wells but no maintenance program to keep the well working.
Pray for a video projection set up (projector, generator, screen, videos and loud speaker system) for this ministry. In France, I purchased “the Passion” with subtitles in French to show in the CAR. It was amazing to see the impact this made on the people watching it. One lady said, “I have not been able to sleep for two nights thinking about what my Savior suffered on my behalf!”
Village Training for 2005 wells:
Currently in the area surrounding the capital city, Andre Yakota and Josué Mbami are doing training in the villages to help the people understand not only how to care for their pump and well, but also to teach them how to care for their families’ health care needs. Community health care, latrines, True Love Waits and well maintenance are all part of the three months of training which is taking place right now.
At the very end of our trip we were able to get down to Moale where Barb Wooler and Miriam Pacheco have been working with the Pygmies. We left early in the morning and had a seminar there on True Love Waits as well as did some survey work for drilling the well. One of the Pygmy evangelists translated into the Aka language to be sure all understood what was being said.
Radio Station property and permissions:
On our return from the Pygmy village, we stopped to visit the future site of the short wave radio station. Dave Vittum, our short term team administrator, also handles the technical aspects of the radio station and he indicated that it was a perfect site, located above the town on a nice hill with a direct line of sight to the capital city but not far from electricity. The mayor of the town of Boali is very pleased with the prospect of a radio station in her town and is doing all she can to help in the accomplishment of this goal. Please continue to pray for the final paperwork and permissions to come through.
Security and Elections:
Both of these are items for prayer. We do not yet know what all is going to happen with the elections but I can tell you that we traveled three different times on the heels of bandit activity. God was good and provided protection for us. Please be praying for the elections and the following weeks after the election as there is as much importance in what happens after the elections as there is in the elections themselves.
No Bibles in the CAR!
In a country where going to church is the normal thing to do on Sunday there are no Bibles available! Because of a property takeover by the government as a result of the construction project by the Chinese government to build a new soccer stadium, the French United Bible Society was displaced and never received compensation for their property. The administration for the Bible Society in the capital city of Bangui has broken down completely. Because ICDI is a non-denominational organization we have offered to broker a multi-mission order for Bibles which the UBS has agreed to send to us for distribution to the different missions. Please be praying for the financing for this project as well the logistics in seeing it come to pass so that those in the churches in CAR can again have access to the Word of God.