I talked to NGBOKO David, former mayor of Baboua, today. If you remember he, the sous-prefet, and an apostolic pastor were held hostage for one year and three days; they were released in July 2016. He told me today that there will be a special service of Thanksgiving in Baboua this Sunday, September 4, 2016. Many people will be there from all Christian groups (Lutherans, Catholics, Baptists, etc.) I didn’t think to ask, but my guess the Muslims will attend as well. Also planning to attend are government officials, those from MINUSCA (the UN peace-keeping force) and other notables.
I promised to pass the news along to you all with a request that you also send up prayers of thanksgiving on Sunday during your liturgies. We are grateful that these three men were safely released as were the Cameroonian hostages who were held by others. We are glad that they are in good health generally (even though they lost weight during the long ordeal).
I had previously asked David if he wanted to continue being mayor of Baboua. He said he thought not at this time. I also asked about his back salary (which was not paid to him or his family while he was hostage) and he said they are working to get that to him.
Here is a picture I got of NGBOOKO David, taken early in August. I know you join me in wishing all of the hostages healing so that they can return to a productive life with their families and communities. Thank you for all the prayers in support of this sign of peace and healing in the Central African Republic.
P.S. I am currently in Philadelphia, PA visiting my sister and her family. I am slowly continuing to “network” as I search for a job. Nothing yet. Next week I will be with Mom again and a brother who is coming from Los Angeles. Still unsettled, but happy to be with family.