Tag Archives: South Sudan

the face of hunger in South Sudan

Hunger is not abstract numbers even if those numbers are in the thousands or even millions. Hunger is real, and it has a million faces.

One such face is that of this malnourished child in the village of Old Fangok in South Sudan. The mother brought her son the Dr. Jill Seaman’s clinic for help.

When Dr. Seamon offered a packet of Plumpynut the young child grabbed it from her hand and consumed it so fast she offered a second packet.  This one, seen in the photo, was eaten a little more slowly.

Dr. Seamon took the photo after asking the mother’s permission, and then shared it with Stop Hunger Now who provided the funds to purchase the Plumpynut. She uses food as a vital part of her medical treatments as hunger and malnutrition are major health issues in her area of South Sudan and has grown worse with the increased violence and warfare.

Working together we can keep food in the hands of hungry children, and make possible the compassionate work of dedicated medical staff like Dr. Seamon. Thanks for all you do to help end hunger in our lifetime. Thank you for caring enough to act. Thank you for being a part of the global movement to eradicate hunger forever.

a prayer for peacemakers

I praise you this morning, God. You alone are worthy of worship and praise, and so I pause to again give you glory and honor for your love, your mercy and your unending grace.

Thank you for your unconditional love and acceptance. Thank you for the grace of Jesus the Christ and for the explosive power of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for creating such a perfect world.

This morning I lift up all the victims of senseless violence. Be with the families of those recently killed in Paris, but be with those grieving families in other areas of the world, as well. families in Syria, in Yemen, in Uganda, in South Sudan, in Iraq , Afghanistan, and even here in the United States. Let every member of every family touched by violence feel your love and experience your peace that passes all understanding.

And Lord I would pray that you grant all your children that perfect love that casts out fear. Help us live as your children should live, unafraid of whatever life brings. We now live in an age of growing violence and terrorism. Grant us all the strength and blessing of faith and faithfulness that we might be beacons of hope and light in a world darkened by fear and hatred.

Allow each of us to live alive, fully sharing the love you have first given us. Help us to be agents of reconciliation in every relationship you have granted us. Empower us to speak love and peace in the face of fear, bigotry and hatred.  Grant us the strength to be peacemakers in a world gone mad. And in the end, grant us the blessing of your eternal presence. Amen

 

starvation in South Sudan

Thousands are at risk of starvation in South Sudan because of war. The UN is demanding immediate access for humanitarian aid.
Thousands are at risk of starvation in South Sudan because of war. The UN is demanding immediate access for humanitarian aid.
WFP/George Fominyen
The article reprinted below is by William Lambers for the Global Hunger Examiner. It is unedited.

Civilians face starvation in South Sudan, UN demands access

exciting stuff

Our entire United Methodist VIM team has now made it safely back home with one exception…me. I am still in Raleigh for meetings, but I hope to be home in Virginia by early evening.

The trip home from South Sudan was uneventful (brutally long, totally exhausting and sleepless, but uneventful). And that is about all that can be said for it. For future reference, however, having an 11 hour layover in Entebbe after our first flight really makes the remainder of the trip seem much longer. And having a middle seat for the 19 hours of flights afterward doesn’t help much either.

But after a long hot shower and a night’s rest I cannot wait to begin working on the next steps on all the possible projects we discovered. The need is so great. But the need is matched with tremendous opportunities to make a positive difference in the lives of thousands.

We can help transform the future of those living in poverty and hunger in South Sudan. We can help change the history of a nation. That’s exciting stuff.

Our trip is now officially over. Now the hard work begins: translating the vision of what is possible into a reality that is reflected in a transformed world.

I cannot wait to begin.

heading home

All good things must come to an end. So it now is with our time in South Sudan. We must leave for the airstrip in about 2 hours.

That will be the start of almost 24 hours of travel. All of us are ready to get home, but there’s not a one of us on the team looking forward to the trip.

The time here in Yei and the surrounding region has been rich in opportunities for ministry, and the entire team feels good about all the work we have been able to accomplish.

This team is far more experienced than a lot I have been on. That has allowed us to split up and go in different directions and work on a number of different projects at the same time. That is unusual.

We have a retired police officer that spent the week training local Yei police in the rule of law and riot control. We have a hospital CEO from Georgia that spent the week working with the United Methodist medical missionaries. Several of our group spent the week installing libraries (including donating & cataloging over450 books) at two children’s homes. Another group worked to resolve long-standing issues with local churches. A couple of us worked tos discover how to increase local food security and find new microenterprise opportunities.

All of us have made new friends and relationships. And all of us already want to return even though we are ready to be home.

It’s been a full and blessed time, but now we have to say farewell for now as we begun the long journey back to the US.

no “20 minute” rule

Yesterday was a day I will long remember. I traveled from Yei to Morobo, a journey of 32 miles. The trip was uneventful, but took an hour and a quarter due to the condition of the road (which was actually one of the best in the area).

I traveled to Morobo to be the guest preacher at the Charismatic Episcopal Church of Morobo. I had been invited by Bishop Tom Kokanyi to bring the morning message.

I arrived to find the entire church waving tree branches and singing songs of welcome. We had a procession to the church where I was formally welcomed. Then I had refreshments with two Bishops and eight or nine clergy. That was followed with a brief time of prayer for the morning worship service.

As we walked toward the church Bishop Tom told me that there was no “20 minute rule” in this church.  He said, “You preach your heart. You preach until God tells you stop.”

The church was packed and the worship was beautiful. It was spirited and full of joy and praise. After my sermon we had several periods of intense prayer. It was a powerful and moving experience. The service began about 11,  and we concluded sometime after 2. It was a wonderful time of worship, and as the Bishop had told me, no one was watching the clock.

After the service I shared a delightful meal of Posho (a staple dish of finely ground maize boiled to a stiff grits-like consistency) roasted chicken and rice with the Bishop and a number of senior church leaders. The meal was followed with a meeting to discuss the work of the church in Morobo County, especially the Stop Poverty in South Sudan Program.  Then we concluded with a tour of the farm and new cathedral under construction.

The ride back to Yei took a little longer than the ride to Morobo as it was raining. I arrived back at our compound sometime after 4pm. It had been a full day and I was exhausted. But it was a day of worship among bothers and sisters that truly love the Lord. It was a special day, a gift, one I will not soon forget.

 

meetings, meetings & more meetings

Although my trip is only about half way to the finish I am already pleased over all that I have been able to accomplish. And just like the majority of my trips, so much of what has been accomplish has taken place in the midst of meetings.

I have already lost count of the number of meetings I have been a part of since beginning this journey. And anyone who knows me knows I am not a big fan of meetings. But…there are meetings and then there are MEETINGS. You all know what I mean.

Here in South Sudan I have met with doctors, agriculture specialists, managers of microfinance programs, pastors, farmers, teachers, church and education leaders. All have stories to tell, and each of them have helped clarify the needs and the amazing potential here in Yei County. It is exciting to see all the various pieces begin to come together.

I have also learned from the numerous site visits we have been able to make, as well. Seeing brings to life all the information gathered in the hours of meeting.

It has been a good and fruitful trip so far. I know the rest of it will be even more so.

microfinance = major impact

Joice Jana is the head of the microfinance project for the Yei District of the United Methodist Church in South Sudan. I had the opportunity to talk with her on Monday. She is passionate about her work and the success of the program and rightfully so.

She manages 10 separate microfinance groups in 7 different communities, each group comprised of 35 members. Three-fourths of the members are women. And although the program has not been existence for long the success stories are already beginning to pile up.

The microfinance program provides education to the groups and helps with record keeping. All the funds come from the individual members of each group. Once a member has been in the program for a full year they are allowed to apply for loans. When a member needs a loan they are allowed to borrow up to 3 times the amount they have already saved.

All loans are repaid with 10% interest. And the repayment rate is over 98%.

The maximum loan given to date is 1500 South Sudanese Pounds and the smallest has been 200 pounds. (The largest loan was about $100 and the smallest about $13).

These loans have helped pay school fees to keep children in school. They have helped begin small businesses that have increased food security. They have provided an important bridge to a better life. They have provided hope.

Helping support such programs is a powerful way to help transform the lives of those trying to have a better life. I am proud of the United Methodist Church’s leadership in making this happen in South Sudan.