Update from South Sudan
I just recently got back from South Sudan with my great friend and colleague, Stan Fikes. We have been traveling to this beautiful place for over 15 years. We have seen brilliance and devastation, restoration and destruction, peace and war. It has been a mixture of realities combined all together at the same time.
During this trip, I was able to speak to the some of the Rebel and government leadership.
On Sunday, I was asked to preach, both government and Rebel leaders attended. I took the opportunity to preach out of the Parable of the Good Samaritan. I then called three government leaders up and three rebel leaders.
Take a look at what happened in this short clip:
Following the time in church we took a helicopter to Morobo, the town where our first orphanage was built. Last year our children were evacuated because of the violence. By a true miracle, we have been able to use the orphanage land as a gathering point for the rebels so we can work through a multi-phased approach to peacemaking.
Another miracle, as you will see in the video below, is that our buildings have largely been unharmed! These are some of the only buildings that still have roofs and are not destroyed.
As I spoke to the Rebels, some of them began to weep. My message was that every single person is made in the image of God and therefore, worthy to have their inherent sacredness protected and encouraged, not exploited and destroyed.
The following day we were able to meet with the government. We met with the Minister of Cabinet Affairs (Prime Minister), the Minister of Defense, and the Head of National Security. We came with the same exact message. The Minister of Cabinet Affairs asked us if we had any requests.
Our first was a message from the Rebels in Morobo. They wanted to be reintegrated back into the government. When we gave this request, the Minister of Cabinet Affairs called the Minister of Defense immediately. He came over and we told him the same thing. The Minister of Defense got on the phone and called over the General who is in charge of Morobo and asked him to immediately work towards reintegration.
This, in itself, is guaranteed to save thousands of lives. 628 rebel forces (the amount in Morobo, along with hundreds more in near outlying areas) clashing with government forces would have been a disaster.
Second, as I told them about all being image bearers, the Minister of Cabinet Affairs asked me to say the message on national TV, so he called them over and immediately had me give this message to the country!
Ultimately, our trip was beyond what we could ever ask or imagine. Please continue to pray for the South Sudanese and also what we are doing in peacemaking. If you feel led to become a partner, you can find more information here.
As I said in the video above, our prayer is “In South Sudan as it is in Heaven.”