Wednesday, May 22, 2013

South Sudan's Mission Field


Sudan
Have you ever had such a passion for something that no matter what path your life takes or other projects that occupy your time, your focus keeps returning to it? Writing has been one such passion for me. With God’s help, I’ve been able to enjoy my writing career becoming a reality.

But I’m speaking of a different sort of passion. One on a totally different level. One that God pierced my heart and mind with many years ago. And in His perfect timing, if it is His will, I’ll also see this come into fruition.

The plight of the Sudanese people captured my heart almost fifteen years ago when I read a book written by Canadian missionary and radio host Cal R. Bombay, "Let My People Go." He traveled to Sudan with a group of other missionaries apart from an official affiliate because their mission was illegal in Sudan.

The missionaries secretly purchased slaves' freedom during the 1990s genocide committed in southern Sudan. The book outlines the quest by the Arab Muslims in the north against the predominantly Christian south to wipe out their culture and convert them to Islam. After villages were burned, slave traders sold the women and children into bondage to the north Sudanese landowners. The missionaries risked their lives to travel to Sudan and buy slaves from the Arab kidnappers then return them to the south. I’ve read the book so many times, it’s dog-eared and remains one of my favorite books.

Sudan’s civil war spans decades and rather than try to explain it, which would take thousands of words, it’s easier to share this quote from International Medical Corps website that summarizes the situation well:

Less publicized than the conflict in Darfur to the north, the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan after more than four decades of conflict, is arguably as urgent. The First and Second Sudanese Civil Wars between North and South Sudan spanned most of the last 50 years. The latter claimed nearly two million lives and left four million others homeless. The civil war ended in 2005 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), giving South Sudan autonomy and its people the right to self-determination through a referendum on independence after six years. The referendum took place in January 2011 and the Republic of South Sudan became a sovereign state on July 9, 2011. However, despite many successes under the CPA, South Sudan remains one of the most underdeveloped areas in the world. (International Medical Corps)
After gaining their independence, South Sudan citizens continue to be attacked by North Sudan forces and the likes of Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) who routinely kidnaps young South Sudanese boys, terrorizes them, and forces them into military service. South Sudan has needs on all fronts—humanitarian, infrastructure, medical, spiritual, safe water, and basic survival.

Since my heart has been stirred for the Sudanese, it’s been my desire to travel to Sudan as part of a mission effort. And though I feel God gave me this desire, He has to make it happen. My effort would never succeed on its own. So many obstacles have to be supernaturally overcome, not the least of which are my own human weaknesses. We’re working on those. J

Meanwhile, I support others the door has opened for, which brings me to the Gonzalez family who’ve become special friends in the last two years. Dawn is a fellow Christian writer and mother who I share many things in common. Her husband Mike pastors Columbia World Outreach Church in Columbia, SC, and their son Adrian is a Christian singer. Mike and Adrian will travel to Sudan and then to Kenya in August to participate in pastor training conferences. One of the many things sorely lacking in South Sudan is training for Christian pastors. Among Adrian's music is Christian rap, which is well received in African countries. 

Please pray for their mission work, as well as their spiritual and physical health. The Missions page listed at the top of the blog has more detailed information about their trip. If you would like to prayerfully consider giving a financial donation to help pay for this costly trip, please click on this link to make an online donation. They have roughly half of the trip’s expense left to raise.

And most of all, please pray for the South Sudanese people whose needs are many.

Our worship song is “My Hope Is In You,” by Aaron Shust, dedicated to the Oklahoma City victims and their families in this difficult time of mourning and rebuilding. Aaron sings from a place of his own pain. His toddler son suffered a rare, life threatening illness God healed him of. Then Aaron’s wife gave birth to a baby boy with Down’s Syndrome who’s had major health problems. This video is heart-wrenching, but it speaks well to where our hope is found—in the comforting arms of our Savior.


If you have a need, I’d love to pray for you. Leave a comment or e-mail me confidential requests. Would you please take a moment to pray for others who leave comments, as well as those listed on the prayer list at the top of the blog? I’d sure appreciate it. J

God bless,
Laura

©Laura Hodges Poole

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13 comments:

  1. laura this was very informative. i will add the Sudanese people and the Gonzalez family to my prayer list.

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  2. Laura,
    Our shared passion for the Sudanese people in South Sudan is only one of the blessings I have through your friendship. Thank you for sharing your passion here, that it directly collides with the financial and prayer needs of our mission trip in August. Thank you for partnering with us in all these ways. Love to you.

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    1. You're welcome, Dawn. I'm glad to be able to help. Love to you, as well.

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  3. Laura, beautifully written! Your heart for missions is beating throughout this post and many will be touched. You write with passion and my prayer is that you will go someday and I hope to be able to support you. I love missions as well and have been blessed to be able to go to other countries. It is lifechanging...though I think your life already speaks of your heart. Thank you for making me aware of Dawn's family!

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    1. Thanks, Cindy. I enjoyed your blog post about traveling to Russia. It really inspired me. God bless you.

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  4. I'm so glad there are people willing to go! Prayer warriors for them are very important...each part is important and God calls us all to DO something!
    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I agree, TC. Whether God ever opens a door for me to go to South Sudan, I can support others who are going. God bless you.

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  5. You're enlarging our borders, Laura, and for that I thank you. And yes, that 'My Hope is in You' video is oh so powerful ...

    So very good to meet you tonight!

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    1. Thanks, Linda. I'm glad you were encouraged by the post. God bless you.

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  6. Thanks for linking to Wednesday's Word. I pray that your words touch others.
    blessings,
    Janis www.janiscox.com

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    1. Thanks, Janis, for hosting a linkup. I enjoy your blog. God bless you.

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  7. Laura, Wednesday's Word PERSEVERE certainly links well with the ongoing prayer and outreach to Sudan and around the world. Praise God for what He's doing in the Sudan, and I pray for how He will use you to make a difference in this part of the world that He's placed on your heart.

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