Since December of 2013, South Sudan,the world’s youngest nation, has been embroiled in civil war. Racked by drought in the dry season and extensive flooding in the rainy season, South Sudan is already one of the most food insecure places on earth. As a result, a very tight window exists for those farmers trying to eke out a living from the dry dusty plains for planting and harvesting.
With the onset of the civil war, sporadic skirmishes have hindered farmers from planting on time. Additionally, nearly one out of every five people of South Sudan is either displaced or taking refuge in neighboring countries. Being forced to flee their planted crops, many farmers find themselves unable to tend to them or return to harvest the meager bounty of their toil. Rising inflation, a worsening economy, and high prices on imported food leave those fleeing with very little purchasing power. The results are catastrophic.
Severe acute malnutrition are on the rise with no real,
long-term solutions in sight.
With every new day bringing bad news of the worsening conflict, widespread corruption, extreme violence and desperate efforts of families to survive, its easy to be discouraged. We sometimes wonder if what we’re doing makes any difference at all. Sometimes we may find ourselves unable to control our emotions as we grapple with the sheer evil that corrupted power brings on humanity. We are reminded of Syria, Burundi, Iraq, Ukraine and even violence on our own streets here in America.
Where is the hope? Sometimes we struggle to find it.
We Are Ambassadors of Christ!
I echo the thoughts of many that we are ambassadors of peace and reconciliation. Ambassadors for the Prince of Peace. I’m reminded that one of God’s most emphatic promises is that He’s coming back one day. He’s coming back to set up His Kingdom. He’s coming back to rule in a manner that Salva Kiir or Riek Machar or any one of us are able to even fathom.
But, like the heroes in Hebrews 11, we may never see that promise in our lifetime. It doesn’t mean we don’t engage at all. It just means that we may only have time to fill in one entry in this massive crossword puzzle; to write our very short chapter.
South Sudan is certainly not a puzzle that we will simply solve and move on to the next.
But, like the writer of Hebrews said, since all of these heroes are watching, let’s run our relatively short races, fixing our eyes on Jesus…and not on the hopelessness of the problem. Those Hebrews 11 heroes took the long view. That’s why they’re still watching…watching the next episode in a very long series of reconciliation. They watch and wait, ardently cheering us on as we write our part into that book. With great anticipation we set our hands to the plow, to see the bountiful harvest that will one day be brought in by our Lord.
Running the Long Race With South Sudan
Today, Food for the Hungry is providing much needed food, agricultural equipment and seeds, training and education as well as fishing equipment and training to help mitigate the suffering of those most affected in the conflict zone.
Its an honor to have you all as teammates and co-laborers in this great effort. Here’s to Nehemiah’s steadfast focus, determination and dedication: we are doing a great work and cannot come down.
Here’s to taking the long view.