When we are faced with a crisis, whether personally or as a group, we can respond in one of several ways.
There are those who complain and point out all the reasons why the crisis occurred and how the victims were not responsible (or in some cases got what they deserved). These responders are more focused on finger-pointing than actually doing something about the problem. The news media tend to be like this. They report the crisis and diagnose it, but seldom go further.
Then there are those who look with eyes of compassion and seek to respond in love. That’s the response of the persecuted church in Sudan’s war-torn Nuba mountains. That’s also you, standing in solidarity with the church.
Over the summer, local authorities in the Nuba region confirmed the arrival of at least 200,000 refugees fleeing from the fighting and carnage all over the country. Even though the new war started in April of this year, the Nuba has been under a humanitarian blockade since June, 2011.
Islamists in Sudan consider the Nuba “rebels.” They’ve sent in invading armies to try to defeat them. They’ve dropped more than 6,000 bombs on schools, hospitals, and marketplaces to terrorize and drive the people away.
But after all this persecution, the Nuba is safer and more stable than most other areas of Sudan.
It’s also a place where the love of Christ is practiced in word and deed.
Driving through this very under-developed part of Sudan, one sees churches dotting the landscape. Some are made with cement and have metal roofs. Others are made of sticks and mud with thatched roofs. But you know it’s a church because even these crude structures boast little wooden crosses on the roofs.
On any given Sunday, these churches will be crowded with people sitting on crude benches. The men sit on one side wearing slacks and collared shirts. The women sit on the other side wearing brightly covered wraps and veils. Children sit wherever there is space, some stand outside peering through the cut-out windows in the mud walls.
For hours there is singing, prayer and preaching. No one comes to arrest them. No military personnel drive up to set fire to the building. On the contrary, many of the parishioners are in soldier’s uniforms.
When the church buildings are not being used for worship, they become distribution centers for relief and shelter items contributed by your partnership with Persecution Project.
Priority is given to newly arrived refugees having to start over from scratch after losing everything in the war.
Recently, our team in the field reported that an additional 27 metric tons of supplies were distributed to needy families, courtesy of your response of love.
These items included thousands of emergency shelter tarps, mosquito nets, buckets for carrying water, salt (very important), and refugee kits containing articles such as clothing, pots, utensils, soap, and other important household items.
In addition to these items for families, Persecution Project was able to re-supply our team repairing broken well pumps. More than 100 wells have already been repaired in 2023. With this resupply, our team can continue the work providing safe, clean water to Nuba families. Safe, clean water is the most important single contribution to overall community health.
As of this writing, the Nuba church is scheduled to receive a new shipment of solar-powered audio Bibles for distribution to 6,600 additional families. Moreover, 18 metric tons of additional relief supplies are in transit and set for delivery and distribution before the end of the year.
Responding in love can be a challenge, because it’s much easier to complain and point fingers. But when we choose love, God does miraculous work. We recall the story of Jesus feeding the multitude. He was able to do this because His disciples, responding in love, gave Him the little food they had. Jesus took their offering and multiplied it to feed thousands.
When we respond in love with the “little” we have, and others like us do the same, God takes these offerings and blesses the multitudes.
May we always choose to respond in love, not just in our outreaches in Sudan, but throughout all aspects of our lives.