Since 2013, sectarian violence has been taking place in the Central African Republic (CAR) between Islamist Seleka rebels and the Christian affiliated anti-balaka forces.
Some of you will remember writing to a boy called Jeovani in 2014. At seven years old, his life was turned upside down on 14 April 2013 when Seleka rebels fired rocket-propelled grenades at his packed church in the capital city. He had been sitting on a bench in Sunday School when two shells burst through the roof.
Jeovani was one of at least 33 injured in the attack in which seven people lost their lives. The damage to his legs was so severe that needed a double amputation.
But alongside him were two other boys, Dieu Fera Zinon and Steven Malengou – now aged 11 and nine, respectively. They, too, sustained life-altering injuries and each required a leg amputation. Life for these three boys has been very difficult since.
Could you write to Jeovani, Dieu Fera and Steven to offer them encouragement?
In 2014, Jeovani told us, “I would like to go back to school. I’m sad when I see my friends walking to school while I can’t.” Your letters brought him encouragement then, which is why we would like you to write to him again as he tries to get over his next hurdle: learning to walk with his prosthetic legs.
There were delays in getting prostheses to Jeovani and, since receiving them, he has found them very challenging. He had additional surgery aimed to ease his movement , but he continues to struggle today. Please continue to pray for and encourage Jeovani who is frustrated at finding walking so difficult.
Now eight, Dieu Fera has been through another tragedy since losing his leg in the 2013 attack. In 2015 Dieu Fera lost his mother to a protracted illness. He currently lives with his father, grandmother and two older brothers, where life is very difficult. His father has no job and his grandmother’s trade work is all they have to live on.
Thankfully, Dieu Fera is making good progress in adapting to his prosthesis and is very happy to be able to run around and play with his friends again. But there are still difficulties.
“I was told that sometimes Dieu Fera asks questions to help understand what happened to him… Sometimes he ends up crying because of it all,” reported our co-worker. “There is, however, hope that he will one day walk like all the others. He just needs encouragement to walk with his prosthesis. He loves to play with his friends.”
Steven Malengou also had to have one leg amputated because of the severity of his injury during the church attack. Shortly after the incident, he kept asking his mother whether his leg would ‘return’.
Steven lives with both his parents, but they, too, are struggling to provide for all their needs through the small trade they are engaged in. In positive news, he is progressing well as he adapts to his new prosthetic leg. Please write to him to offer messages of encouragement as he gets to grip with the permanency of his loss.
Please send colourful cards to encourage the boys..
Here are some simple letter-writing guidelines to help you as you write.
Please put all your letters and cards in one envelope and send to Open Doors UK, PO Box 6, Witney, OX29 6WG.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.