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
©Laura Hodges Poole