This article was originally published in the June 2018 edition of ITMI Monthly.
What would you do if you found yourself living in a war-zone?
If you regularly saw huts pierced with bullet holes? If you didn’t feel safe in your home but felt even more at-risk outside of it.
If the threat of tribal violence threatened your children?
In the city of Bor, South Sudan, as tribal violence rose, the population of approximately 5,000 was faced with a tough choice.
Numerous families decided it was better to abandon the villages, huts, communities and lives they’d built, carry what possessions they could on foot across the desert to take up residence in migrant slums in Khartoum, Sudan.
The mass exodus was part of the almost two million people displaced from South Sudan by tribal violence and natural disasters.
Life in Khartoum was only slightly better than living in a war-zone.
As non-Muslims and non-citizens in a Muslim society, their value was next to nothing in Khartoum and at best, they were treated poorly. At worst, many suffered abuse and injustice.
As tribal violence in Bor has hit a lull, many are returning. But this isn’t the golden homecoming you might imagine. They are returning to find squatters in their homes, a grossly inflated market, no jobs, no water and no crops.
Because of the rainy season, currently the road from Juba is too muddy to travel. Supply trucks can’t provide relief.
All they are able to get their hands on to eat is what they can fish from the nearby White Nile River.
The violence has purged the area of most visitors and missionaries. There are limited churches, limited leadership and limited counsel for healing the trauma suffered.
There is a severe want for quality Bible teachers, and the result is widespread ravenous craving for hope.
The damage and trauma continues to be paid forward as traumatized and hurting people are prone to hurting others.
ITMI’s Lazarus Yezinai put it this way, “Normal mode of the people is to react with pain and harshness.”
When you need hope this badly, you’re ripe for others to prosper by promising you hope they cannot deliver.
There are plenty of “prophets” and “apostles,” readily available to help you name and claim your blessings - for a price. And when hope in a false gospel fails them - and it always will - they are left with even more pain and baggage, but nowhere to turn for relief.
Two of our South Sudanese partners, Lazarus and Vicky Waraka went to Bor to infuse hope that comes from knowing and believing God’s truth, hope that doesn’t fade with prosperity or circumstances, into this perpetual cycle of pain and suffering.
They were accompanied by a ministry cohort, Mama Esther. The three were invited to give a women's conference.
South Sudanese eager to hear Lazarus and Vicky share at the conference in Bor.
We’ll share the unusual encounter Lazarus had at the conference and the unexpected turnout in next month’s edition.
Though their physical needs are pressing, the main request from those who attended the conference was, “Please come back and give us more Biblical teaching.” Their second request was, “Please train some people in Bor to spread this truth.”
The trio would like to comply. They are already planning another visit with SALT trainings in the morning and crusades in the evening.
Travel expenses will be about $930 USD.
We’d also like to send them back with 100 audio Bibles in Arabic and Dinka, with space to record additional SALT material Biblical teachings. We can purchase 100 for $4,667 USD.
If you or someone you know would like to help spread hope and peace to the suffering in a tangible way, would you consider participating in this initiative?
About the Authors
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics, (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 4 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.