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UNITED NATION REPORTS 40,000 STARVING TO DEATH AS
SOUTH SUDAN TEETERS ON FAMINE
--Report from Feb. 8
The figures released in a UN report describe some of the worst conditions yet in more than two years of a civil war marked by atrocities and accusations of war crimes, including the blockading of food supplies.
Conditions are "escalating" the UN said, with already over 2.8 million people needing aid, almost a quarter of the country.
"Nearly 25 percent of the country's population remain in urgent need of food assistance, and at least 40,000 people are on the brink of catastrophe," the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN children's agency UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) said in a joint statement.
Families have been doing everything they can to survive, but they are now running out of options," said UNICEF country chief Jonathan Veitch.
Those worst affected are in the northern battleground state of Unity, (Peter Gadet and Santino Makol work in this region) which was once the country's key oil producing region, but is now the scene of some of the heaviest fighting, including the mass abduction and rape of women and children.
The counties of Mayendit, Koch, Leer and Guit are hardest hit, with people there surviving by scavenging swamps for water lilies and fish, but those will dry up in the dry season in coming months.
It warned that people there were already "destitute" and the situation is likely to deteriorate."
SSAM TRAINED AND ORDAINED EVANGELIST BECOMES THE
GOVERNOR OF AWEIL STATE
-- Dr. John
I would like to inform SSAM that one of our longtime colleagues, Ronald Ruay Deng who was trained at The Great Commission Bible College in Nairobi under the sponsorship of SSAM, was chosen as Governor of the newly established Aweil State, one of the 28 states formed by the presidential decree a month and a half ago.
Loading medicine and supplies into the Mobile Medical Clinic
Honorable Ronald Ruay Deng has been serving Northern Bahr el Ghazal state since 2009 in a different position. Ronald Ruay is the youngest governor of the 28 newly appointed state governors. This is a true testimony that our church is part of a peace promoting institution in the country through the preaching of the gospel of Christ and training of the leaders for now and the future. To demonstrate the mercy and love of Christ, the mission in Aweil is to bring the good news where it has never been heard before in their native languages.
Our congregations across the country are sending messages of congratulations and requesting prayers for wisdom and peace of mind so that he may be the light among the leaders for peace and good governance.
We had a time of prayer with Ronald and he accepted some advise and wise counsel before facing a new world of governorship of Aweil, the newly created state.
PRAYERS REQUESTS FROM YOURNEW
- Peace and security in South Sudan.
- God to deliver His children out of hunger and diseases.
- The health of Yournew and his family. The health of our evangelists
and the hospital workers and their families.
- Funds to continue to come into SSAM's account so that God's word
will be delivered to those who need it.
- Dr. John to continue to his life saving course successfully this year
and return to help his people.
- Wisdom for the Aweil team and that of SSAM so that His kingdom
may be extended beyond our capacities.
OPENING OF CHELKOU CHURCH OF CHRIST
We visited Chelkou Church of Christ at Paulino's request. The aim was to give moral support and encourage the congregation at the new church to be strong in the faith. Our team was warmly welcomed. Neighboring churches gathered together to celebrate the new site. Our team was comprised of seven elders of the Aweil Mission, Yournew, Dr. John, Joseph Wel, Paulino Malou, Angelo Atak, Ezra Lual and Daniel Deng.
The visitation was fruitful. There were two community leaders who attended the celebration and opening ceremony of the new church building.
The opening of the church in Chelkou
U.S. PRAYER MEETING
The afternoon of February 8th, several from the local area met at Mountainview Christian Church in Gresham to pray for the needs of the South Sudanese. We know several from across the country were also joining us in prayer. The above prayer requests were individually brought before the throne of our Lord.
370 MEMBERS OF NEW CHURCH PLANT IN AWEIL TOWN
Apada Church of Christ recently started in an area about about three miles away from Aweil town. The population is mostly returnees from Khartoum. Apada Church of Christ is one of the fastest growing among our new churches in Aweil. In the second week of October we baptized 32 new members into the church. The following Sunday, 70 were baptized. Among the new members, were two Muslim women. They have both shared their testimonies in front of the church. One of these two said, "Christ is the Lord, Christ is a real Son of God who by His grace is full of mercy and everlasting love, our God is a living God." AMEN!
WHERE WILL SSAM BE?
Febr. 21 a.m. Molalla Christian Church, Molalla, OR
April 3 a.m. - Centerville Christian Church, Centerville, IN
April 7 - 9 - IDES Board of Directors Meeting, Noblesville, IN
April 10 a.m. - LaCrosse Christian Church, LaCrosse, IN
April 17 a.m. - Fredonia Church of Christ, Fredonia, KS
April 20 p.m. - Ridge Chapel Church, Kansas, OK
April 24 - a.m. Antioch Christian Church, Pittsburg, MO
May 14 p.m. May 15 -a.m. - Westside Christian Church, Roseburg, OR
June 28 - July 3 - Oregon Christian Convention, Turner, OR
July 31 - Aug.. 5 - Winema Week of Missions, Oregon Coast
Oct. 15 a.m. - Ladies Breakfast, Northland Christian church, Kansas City, MO
Oct. 16 - p.m. Northland Christian Church, Kansas City, MO
Nov. 11-12 - IDES Board of Directors Meeting, Noblesville, IN
Nov. 17-21 - Int'l Conference on Missions, Lexington, KY
If you would like an update on the South Sudan African Mission please contact Bev by email or phone 503.729.4631.
Other venues are pending but have not been confirmed.
Dr. John was able to spend his break from his studies in Lilongwe, Malawi in the Aweil area of South Sudan. We are going to focus on portions of his report and pictures for this newsletter. Dr. John is very well respected and loved by the people in his country and he is very appreciative to SSAM and its contributors for allowing him this opportunity. Look for more in future newsletters.
MY TRIP TO AWEIL AND RETURN WAS A SAFE TRIP
Early in the morning on December 1, I woke up with the hope of arriving in Juba that evening but unfortunately I had a layover in Addis Ababa and had to sleep there for half a day. Being the first time I spent a night in Addis Ababa, the city seemed busy and every national and seemed to live in harmony and peace with each other.
The ups and downs of the city population was observed but I got the impression that everyone was nice to one another--a quality I consider a positive to a civil society like that in Addis and a thing I thought lacked when I arrived in Juba. I believe if we accept Jesus, He will surely accept us back and we will prosper and grow much stronger than we are today.
When I arrived in Juba, I asked for a lift on the first motorcycle I saw. He asked if I spoke the Dinka language claiming that other customers will end up taking you to their residence and then refuse to pay the travel fares because they can easily threaten the cyclist. My heart melted in anguish at the possible loss of brotherhood among the civilians. This incident left me wondering if the peace between the rebel leaders and the government is all we need for a better South Sudan. I keep saying and will continue to say that our church has a role to play in the peace of South Sudan. Apart from bringing the lost to Christ, the Church of Christ in South Sudan is a peace promoting institution where we proclaim one tribe under the kingdom of Christ. To be a great nation we need to behave as if we are one, in one country, one tribe as humans of the same blood and same values.
AWEIL MISSION FOOD FOR LIFE
I was there on the day Malek Church planned to distribute the little they have to the needy and it turned out to be so little because the food could only cover the most needy households of orphans, widows/widowers, those with disabilities who cannot work and those settling from warring states. We made an effort to encourage food production through cultivation and planting of crops in an area identified as a good harvest by the church. The "Food for Life" has been so vital for so many years and we need more support to maintain the project.
A widow recieves Food for Life food
AWEIL TOWN COMPOUND AND THE MOBILE CLINIC
Because of the celebration of Christmas Eve at most of our churches across the state, I set the time for the Malek medical and evangelist team to visit January 2 and 3rd. The mobile clinic at the village of Makuac Amiir addressed common illnesses ranging from bacterial respiratory disorders, diarrheal diseases, skin diseases, malaria and typhoid fevers, and mass de-worming in both children (2 years and above) and adults in all walks of life.
The two day visit was described by Lino and Philip Garang (our primary Health Care Clinician at Malek Christian Hospital) as the hardest work we have implemented in all the visits and camping we have conducted since before I went to Malawi. The medicine dispenser said that he recorded more than 1600 patients in the whole process within a period of two days.
One thing is clear. People who are far from the Malek Christian Hospital are unable to come to Malek because the transportation is expensive and the cost of living is high. It is very hard for the mothers and fathers to leave the role of the hunt for food and follow up the child's sickness at the health care unit.
The community indeed praised the Lord and the mobile clinic team for the mercy they gave to their village which was the first doctors to camp in their village and only the second visit by car. Brother Steve was the first to come in 2013.
PRAYERS REQUESTS FROM DR. JOHN
- God will help me finish the 18 month course successfully so I can get
back to help my people.
- God will help us build His foundation of physical and spiritual healing in
South Sudan (particularly Aweil) to benefit the needy people of South
- God will bring changes the leaders can embrace and they will avoid the
things that make them slide back into conflict. Pray that they will have
a natural love for humanity so that South Sudan can become a land of
hope, prosperity and peace again.
- God will keep our evangelists and hospital workers and their families in
good health and at peace.
Steve Holsinger and the SSAM board is hosting a special afternoon of prayer on Monday, February 8, at Mountainview Christian Church, 1890 NE Cleveland, Gresham, OR from 1 - 3 p.m. If you are unable to join us in Gresham, please pause and ask God to put it in the hearts of the leaders in South Sudan to work out their differences so there will be peace in their country, to bless the nation with a good harvest and to bless the work in South Sudan.
Dr. John doing a physical examination
I would like to emphasize the issue of car maintenance services to be considered by the SSAM Board and Bev. The car needs repairs on the brakes. The tires, including the spare are smooth and the driver is worried that the tires may burst anytime which could result in other obvious risks. All the churches I travelled to with Yournew and our team were asking the time the mobile medical clinic shall resume the routine circular of camping--of which I promised them the continuation when I have completed my courses.
In late December last year and the first week of this month I made critical observation on the children that I prescribed and had given anthelmintics (for de-worming). I felt badly to realize that most of the children attending our mobile medical camp didn't have scar for a BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin), a vaccine given at an early age to prevent Tuberculosis during adulthood. The scar is observable by inspection on the outer upper arm of a vaccinated child. Even one to fifteen year old children would tell us that they have never been visited by a doctor or have they ever visited a doctor's office, a case rare in the USA today.
I know that we are asking so much from SSAM beyond your capacity, but in the situation where there is nothing more to hope for, where the wars and lack of physical infrastructures has limited everyone's capacity, we are calling out for a community that God has used to give mercy to those who severely need it. This is correct in John 3:16, "God so loved (the greatest devotion) the world (the greatest number) He gave (the greatest act) His only begotten son (the greatest giving ) and whoever believes (the greatest condition) in Him should not perish (the greatest mercy) but have everlasting life (the greatest result)".
WHERE WILL SSAM BE?
Febr. 8 - 1 -3 p.m. Afternoon of Prayer, Mountainview Christian Church, 1890 NE Cleveland, Gresham
Febr. 21 a.m. - Molalla Christian Church, Molalla, OR
April 7 -9 - IDES Board of Directors Meeting, Noblesville, IN
June 28 - July 3 - Oregon Christian Convention, Turner, OR
July 31 - Aug. 5 - Winema Week of Mission, Oregon Coast
Oct. 15 - Ladies Breakfast, Northland Christian Church, Kansas City, MO
Oct. 16 - a.m. - Northland Christian Church, Kansas City, MO
Other dates are pending but have not been confirmed as of yet. If you would like a SSAM update, please contact Bev at 503.729.4631.