A few weeks ago, I visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC. It was an overwhelming experience, to say the least. I was left speechless as I learned the depth of atrocities committed against Jews and many others during World War II. I am a firm believer that horrible events like the Holocaust should be a part of each person’s consciousness, including my own. Even though it is painful and sobering to hear about these heinous crimes, learning about them is the only way we can ever hope to avoid similar atrocities in the future.
As we begin working in our second country, the Central African Republic (C.A.R.), my heart is saddened by the brutal conflict that has been raging in the country over the past year. Out of a population of 4.6 million people, 625,000 have been forced to flee their homes. An estimated 2.5 million people are in need of assistance. In a country where Christians and Muslims have lived peacefully side-by-side for many years, militant groups have used religion as a way to divide and incite fear in the population. The Seleka and anti-Balaka groups continue to commit terrible acts against civilians, threatening to teeter into genocide.
Despite these grave facts, we begin this new chapter with great hope. The people of C.A.R. have captured my heart and I know that I cannot turn away even as I read daily reports of terrible violence. As I walked through the Holocaust Museum, I felt so grateful to have the opportunity to take a step, be it ever so small, to work for peace in the midst of conflict. I felt hopeful, knowing that by helping to provide clean water to the people of C.A.R., I’d have a tangible way to respond to my experience at the Holocaust Museum and the knowledge of what is currently taking place in C.A.R.
So I invite you to join us, through your prayers, advocacy, and contributions, in standing up against the horrific violence in C.A.R. I invite you to show the people of C.A.R. that we hear them and we will do our small part to help them in this time of great need. May we convert the sadness we feel about this conflict into action that leads to peace.