“Yes. We are all fine; the mortal shelling and RPGs are horrible but none of us have been injured thus far. The main fighting over the weekend happened some five kilometers out from Hope for South Sudan. Our children are trembling in their classrooms but we are offering prayers of thanksgiving that none of them are wounded. On their way to meet the rebels for battle, the government soldiers stopped here at our orphanage for water, and we refreshed them very well. We are thankful that they see we are taking care of many orphans and even the elderly and impaired; so, they are trying to keep the battles outside of our gates. Please pray they continue to keep us safe.”
The above came from Paul, the administrator at HFSS, this morning as we spoke on the phone about the fighting going on all around our orphanage this weekend. During my February visit to HFSS, Lual Atak, Romano, and I met with General Wein Akoon Akoon, the Top General leading the entire region where Hope for South Sudan is positioned. We spoke at length about concerns the government of South Sudan had held against Romano because they could not understand why a man would stay in the bush in the thick of war with hundreds of children and elderly. They assumed that he must be in collusion with the rebels, and have inside information, or he would have run with the thousands of others who fled to refugee camps.
General Akoon said, “Actually, I never would have visited this place if Lual Atak had not informed me that you, Kimberly, were coming to visit. That got my attention. Now that I have seen this place with my own eyes, I see that these are in fact the children of South Sudan—our future—and there is not such a place in all of South Sudan that is providing real and lasting hope for our children. Thank you; and I promise you that we will do all we can to keep this place and our children safe.”
Although catastrophe surrounds us once again—and we are certainly aware of the traumatic emotional and spiritual effects upon our staff and children even if their bodies are safe—General Akoon is keeping up his end of the promise. Now, instead of soldiers coming to interrogate, accuse and arrest Romano, they know HFSS is a place who turns no one away. We are the Stationary Good Samaritan, who instead of walking along the road rescuing strangers, are the constant for all that passersby who need water, food, and medicine. We freely give such healing and aid in the name of Christ. We love and nurture peace—one child, soldier, victim, or stranger at a time.
This NY Times article published today, articulates so well the man-made famine borne out of fear, hatred, and greed that continues to cripple the world’s newest nation. It states so very clearly—both the root causes as well as the affects upon the people.
What is the solution that little ole’ Make Way Partners offers when the most “brilliant” political minds in the world have failed to overcome the Pollyanna wishful thinking South Sudan’s “independence” epitomizes?
Holistic Care. Some may scoff that it is too expensive to provide complete care to children in a war zone (building schools, hospitals, and homes as well as provide meals, medicine, and clothing), however, it doesn’t even come close to the financial output the U.S. Government has provided, with only maleficent results. In fact, the U.S. Government has given the government of South Sudan more than 11 billion US dollars in the past decade. The funds were intended to build schools, hospitals, roads and infrastructure. Instead, the funds have lined the pockets of those profiting from the ongoing genocidal mechanism born of Salva Kiir and Reich Machar’s greed.
Kevin Carter was the photographer who snapped the Pulitzer-Prize winning photo of a little girl trying to make her way to food during the 1993 famine in Sudan. He sold the picture to the NY Times and it circled the globe. He killed himself the very next year. In his suicide note, one of the things he stated was that the pain of living out-weighed any joy.
WE, brothers and sisters, do not have to bear such weight of despair—for the Hope of Christ is literally dying within us so that it can burst forth a transformational love to all who suffer. Kevin had gone to Sudan with the UN; he found no hope nor answers to the complex problems plaguing the people. We know that Hope does not rest upon any government, but rather His Body is called, equipped, and empowered to heal the nations.
We are not people of a Pollyanna faith; rather we are a people called to run straight into the Darkness so that we might be the Light in the moment of despair. We are a people appointed to call out the names of Darkness so that those held in its grip might be set free. Christianity is not for the faint of heart, nor for the political aspirant—as sometimes the things we hold near and dear are the very entities which we must confront for the Greater Good. Sometimes, in this naming of what is good for me and mine, we may even find the stain of ink bearing those names of innocents upon our own hands—as in how we as a nation may also profit from such wars. Still, we must boldly name, forge a new path, and rescue those who suffer the consequences of our profit and “security”.
This year, MWP has our Big Four Far-Fetched Dreams. Our Big Four touches all aspects of those most vulnerable, from housing to food, from education to medical care, and the transportation to make these things available. Please click on the above Big Four link to choose which part of holistic care YOU, your family, your co-workers, Sunday School class, or church will offer today.