On the evening of July 14th, the world learned of the terror attack in Nice, France, by an Islamic extremist. This tragic event killed 84 people and injured scores of others.
In the wake of this terrible event, and so many others in recent memory, the conversation quickly turned to how people need to prepare for such events in the future. “Is Nice the new ‘normal’ for the West?
In the U.S., instructional videos have even been produced to educate staff on what to do during an office shooting.
With violence and terror becoming a part of the landscape of much of Europe and America, we are getting a taste of what it’s been like for our brethren in the Nuba mountains of Sudan, who have endured a systematic campaign of violence and terror for more than five years.
Attacks are so common, all the Nuba have trained ears. When an Antonov bomber flies over, and we run for cover to a bomb shelter, we’ll often look around and see the Nuba going about their daily business. This is because locals know when a plane is flying towards them, when it’s getting ready to bomb, and roughly how long they have to make it to shelter before the bomb hits.
What a terrible way to have to raise children! Foxholes are everywhere. Our team once saw a two-year-old instinctively run for a hole when he heard a plane in the distance. This is normal for the Nuba.
So, what do we do? We can personally refuse to live a life of fear and refuse to allow terrorists to influence our daily routine. But it’s not enough to be stubborn. Romans 12:21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” We must be proactive in doing good if we are to combat the forces of evil.
This is exactly how the Nuba church is responding to their daily “normal.” The church has reached out, not only to their own communities, but to the communities of Muslim neighbors, who share equally in the suffering. Even the POWs of the enemy receive material aid and medical attention from the church.
The Nuba church has chosen to unite in doing good works to confront the evil that seeks to destroy their homes. Sure, they also defend their homes with lethal force when attacked. Christian families send their sons to battle just like Nuba Muslims and animists. But the Church knows that the biggest battle is in their own hearts. The battle against despair, sinful anger, and bitterness. How is this battle fought and won?
By doing good.
In the West, our “new normal” is the “old normal” for the Church in Sudan. But our response should be the same: overcome evil with good. On the day we read about the attack in Nice, we also read a report from our staff in the Nuba, celebrating the distribution of 7,000 crisis relief kits for internally-displaced families.
While talking heads wring their hands about how to deal with Islamic extremists, we’re repairing broken well pumps to give communities of Christians and Muslims access to safe, clean water. We’re providing medicine to 180 regional Nuba health clinics, where everyone, regardless of their background, receives the help they need to fight malaria, typhoid, and even the common cold. And the local church is leading the way. It’s preaching the Gospel primarily by living the Gospel.
And thousands of Bibles and gospel pamphlets are being distributed to provide spiritual hope in addition to physical relief.
It’s not enough to curse the darkness. We must shine the light. Thank you for your role in keeping the lamp burning bright!