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Initiation rite is a menace for the church in Chad

Our brothers and sisters in Christ have asked us to pray for their security and protection in a difficult situation in Chad.

The period of “Yondo,” which is a religious initiation rite for the traditional African young boys, lasts until the end of August in Chad. This event takes place every ten years. All things being equal “Yondo” should have happened last year, but was rescheduled because of the country’s economic crisis.
During this period and before the festival, homes are visited, young boys are recruited and children are taken away—some as young as seven years old. Often, children are taken from the streets and led to the forest where they are required to pass initiation tests.  Some families oblige their children to participate in the event.
“My mother is Christian, but my father is not. Because of pressure from him, my mother allows me to participate in the competition,” lamented a young boy.
Leaders of churches in Chad suffer maltreatment
In May, Silas, the leader of a church was threatened. “They told us when the Yondo started they would destroy our church. According to them, Christians upset their customs by explaining in church, what is happening in the forest during the initiation,” he said.
In July, another leader was intimidated. “I was told that if the ritual of initiation were disturbed because of our sermons in the church, we would suffer the consequences,” said the priest. In some places, there are regular fires in our churches. “We talked about the threats to the authorities, but they do not care about it. They do nothing to help us,” he added.
To protect the Christian boys, some denominations organise camps for the younger boys, far away from the city. The camps finish at the end of August when the rituals of initiation have also ended.
A boy, who participates in one of the camps said: “My parents live in the town. I am afraid that they would come here, take me,  and make me participate in the initiation rite.”
Another boy said: “Pray that God may protect us and that he may open the eyes of my parents, who are Christians, but believe in local superstitions.”
Translator: Ildikó Ungvári

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