Visit this page for regular updates from South Sudan:
14 May Update
The situation is getting more difficult for the refugees from Sudan living in Doro. A number of weeks back a convoy of food from the UN World Food Program was attacked. Precious food was not able to make it to the refugee camps where there is an estimated 120,000 refugees from a number of different tribes. Many refugees have started coming to the SIM station looking for work in order to get money to buy food.
- for the missionaries there; that they would be able to handle the issue of seeing friends around them going hungry
- for the cessation of hostilities between the two sides in this most recent civil war in South Sudan (an agreement was signed but both sides have said that the other has breached it)
- for those missionaries who are on early home assignments. Pray that they would be able to make the best of their time as they also wait for the situation to calm
- for the SIM South Sudan council meetings to be able to see God’s way forward in this all.
30 Apr update:
Anti-government forces attacked the town of Renk in Upper Nile state on April 22. The government pushed back the forces the same day but many from the town have fled to other parts of the state including the northern parts bordering Sudan. There is still much fear in the area due to the countless attacks from anti-government forces.
- for Simon Awan, director for Sudan Interior Aid (SIA) who hopes to travel back to Melut and where many of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have taken refuge.
- for the situation in the state in general: with the insecurities in the northern part of the state, we’re not sure what the effects will be in Doro where our missionaries are.
- for SIM South Sudan leadership juggling all these security concerns.
Download Moulding the Pain (1 MB) – a great article on Trauma Healing workshops for South Sudanese in Kenya.
24 Apr update:
“I know we are in a difficult time… many of us don’t sleep anymore at night, because they are afraid… but in all of that we know that God is with us…”
We are sitting under the grass roof of our small Uduk Church in the Doro refugee camp – and I am so thankful that the pastor is taking the time to give some encouraging words to his congregation before he starts his sermon. I can feel in the atmosphere that people are discouraged. They are not as happy and talkative as usual, many are hungry and tired. The last food ration that was given out, was not sufficient. Because of the ongoing fighting in other parts of the country most ways for transporting the food supplies are cut off. So they are given all that is left on the ground at this time.
Because of the short resources the tensions are rising between the refugees and the host community. There was even some shooting one time and at least two people died… All these things weigh heavy on the hearts of my friends. And they have so many questions: “Where will we find food? What if at some point we will have to leave the area – where can we go?” They can’t return home, because there is still fighting and bombing going.
- the situation in Bentiu where as many as 400 civilians may have lost their lives
- for peace to reign in the country and for reconciliation to start
- for SIM missionaries traveling to Doro today to resume work where it has been relatively safe
11 Apr update:
Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile State in the northern most part of South Sudan, has changed hands between government and anti-government forces six times. Other cities and towns have also seen wanton destruction of public and personal property. Many people remain in the relative safety of UN camps. As the rainy season approaches, the situation may become more difficult. There are many in makeshift dwellings made of grass who will suffer greatly if there are no improvements in their housing situation. The onset of the rains also brings with it many associated diseases such as malaria (transmitted through mosquitoes who reproduce in the wet conditions).
- relief efforts to reach the most desperate (food and non-food items such as tarps and cooking utensils)
- for the areas of Paloich and Melut where there are oil refineries. This has been a longstanding target of those who want to continue to destabilize the situation
- Praise the Lord for Rachel, our South Sudanese staff, who made it out safely from Malakal to Nairobi. We thank God for the miracle of her escape.
26 Mar Update
Southern Sudanese colleague who recently came out of South Sudan to Nairobi, Kenya, shared in a few words the situation in his homeland. “They have suffered… suffered… but we hope, we hope.” He had fled to Melut when fighting started in Malakal town. There, he spent a number of days in a tarped hut, part of a wider internally displaced persons camp. We need to continue to pray for the many in camps scattered across the state. One more month of the dry season remains before the onset of the rains. Pray also that they will be able to organize better shelters before then.
- The situation of those in the internally displaced persons camps
- For the church to be able to speak hope into the situation
- For the SIM team stationed in Doro (all currently out) to find a good arrangement to be able to go back in soon.
16 Mar Update
This week, our team in Doro, South Sudan, has been relocated back to Nairobi, Kenya, given some of the situation in the field. It is a hard blow for those who are ministering there.
Theft and acts of violence have continued in the refugee camps in and around Doro and this adds to tensions that are already heightened. There is a real danger when enough bad things happen, that the attitude towards them passes a threshold. Things that are bad may no longer be viewed as bad. Theft of food and materials from the UN then can become justified in one’s mind based on the basic needs of self-preservation. This is what has already occurred in places like Malakal where the sense of right and wrong are hijacked by a desire to show one’s might. Countless rebel assaults have continued to increase in their brutality as numerous news agencies start to report of the vicious human rights abuses on both sides of the conflict.
- Our staff in Malakal. For their safety in the midst of this chaos
- For our team who have been ministering in Doro. That the Lord would help the SIM team find wisdom in when and how we can re-enter the area
- To an end of the conflict and the beginning of healing
- For SIM South Sudan and SIM Kenya missionaries involved in starting a healing group for Southern Sudanese in Nairobi, Kenya.
SIM doctor Rob Congdon is currently working at the Mabaan County Hospital. As well as caring for the ill, this hospital treats people who have been injured due to on-going armed conflict in areas neighbouring Mabaan County. He wrote the following in February: Does Jesus Care
10 Mar Update
A Southern Sudanese returning to Nairobi from a short trip back to his area described the situation as difficult. He was able to meet up with some siblings though he was only able to talk to his mother by phone. She is in a rather large internally displaced camp in the same area of Melut in Upper Nile state. Many of those who are there now come from further south around Malakal town which has been devastated by multiple attacks from the rebels.
- The tens of thousands in the internally displaced camps around Melut who are having a hard time adjusting. The rainy season is in two months and they don’t have tarps to shield themselves from the rain.
- The relief work happening in Malakal by the UN agencies
- SIM missionaries who are getting ready to go back into Doro in Mabaan county and for the Lord to watch over them (others are coming out from there for a break soon)
- Rachel Ayul, a Southern Sudanese lady who is SIM’s guesthouse manager from Malakal who is in the UN base there in Malakal. [now safely in Nairobi – Ed.]
26 Feb Update
Here is a comment made by a friend in South Sudan about how he feels the church is acting in this situation:
“What is the role of believers in South Sudan in this current crisis? Are we still practicing our faith which would show a way to a solution or are we the cause of the problem? I am sorry that we are mixing Christian ways with other ways. Churches on Sundays are full but amongst them no one is condemning the killing of people, we should have to declare that we are not Christians. If we were, we would preach no to war and yes for peace, but in Churches we are declaring war, we are like pagans. This is a curse really.”
Some churches are doing all they can to help people at this time in a way that shows they have the love of God in them but in some cases it is possible that if the church had spoken out louder some situations may have been different. This quote above is a challenge to every Christian in regards to the stand we take for Christ.
- For the war in South Sudan to stop and the situation to become stable
- For the leaders of both sides that they will see what is happening to their people and that there pride will be broken by this
- That the areas where Internally Displaced People (IDP) are taking refuge will continue to be peaceful and stable
- For the South Sudanese diaspora as they are feeling helpless and unable to anything to assist friends and relatives
- Pray for South Sudanese church leaders to truly know the truth of the gospel and be a Christ like example despite their circumstances
- For the situation in Malakal which has been attacked again by Anti Government Forces (AGF)
- Especially pray for safety and strength for our guesthouse manager Rachel who had to flee from Malakal and has been separated from her husband. We don’t currently know where Rachel is. [now safely in Nairobi – Ed.]
- Pray for our Ministries in Mabaan County as missionaries begin to return. Pray that local staff will receive the encouragement they need and that expats will be able to process all that is going on around them to be able to minister well.
12 Feb Update
I was talking with a friend from the Equatorial Region of South Sudan, a region which has not been caught up in the fighting. He shared how pressure from different directions is growing for people from his area to join the conflict. After sharing from his heart he concluded that much prayer is needed for people’s hearts to be changed so this conflict can be resolved
- The beginning of the peace talks was delayed and then boycotted by the opposition. Pray that the peace talks will begin, be productive and that all the different parties, including the church, will feel like they have a way of contributing
- For strength and courage for the good people in local government positions who are trying their best create a good environment for their people but are facing pressure to show bias’
- For continued stability in Mabaan County as we look at returning to this area
- For missionaries to have peace and understanding at this time as they are torn between staying safe from potential risks and returning to their ministries. There are many rumours that make this decision difficult
- Pray that reports and rumours of another imminent attack on Malakal turn out to be false. (the SIC church compound now has est. 1000 people living on it)
Feb 5 Update
South Sudan is far from returning to a state of stability and reported statistics paint a sobering picture of the consequences of this fighting – almost 1 million people have been displaced and 10,000 people have been killed. However this conflict has not engulfed the whole of South Sudan and local contacts the South Sudan team has have provided information that has enabled us to know the reality in our ministry locations.
The locations where SIM has been ministering have been effected to different degrees – in one case the city has been wreaked and the SIM compound looted but in another case the community and the SIM compound has remained physically untouched. This means that, in some cases, it is easy to say it is not safe to consider returning at the moment but for other locations the possibility of returning is being considered.
• for wisdom and insight for field leadership as we chart a way forward for the team
• for our partner church, the Sudan Interior Church, as it comes to terms with the destruction and displacement of people in some areas (we know of 360 people living on one church compound)
• for wisdom and appropriate resources for SIM South Sudan team as we process how to respond to requests for assistance from our partner church
• for the major relief organizations who are trying to help large numbers of people in need
• that the ceasefire agreement will hold
• that the peace talks scheduled to begin on February 7 will start and result in a resolution of the core issues
Thank you for continuing to stand with us in prayer.
Fighting which began December 15th in the South Sudan capital of Juba has spread across many states in the eastern section of the nation. At least 1000 have died and tens of thousands have become refugees.
SIM leaders have fully evacuated our 27 adult missionaries (and one child) from their locations in Malakal and Doro to neighboring Nairobi, Kenya. Providentially, our entire team in Melut comprised of 11 adults and 10 children, had already left the ministry site for Christmas and other family reasons.
• for protection of SIM personnel
• for protection over our many ministries and our partner church, the Sudan Interior Church
• for the peace talks to bring about immediate ceasefire and for humanitarian aid to reach the tens of thousands of refugees who have fled for their lives
• for the Church in South Sudan to stand firm in faith and to discern God’s will for them
• for the door to open up for our people to return to South Sudan soon
For more info go to:
Washington Post: 9 Things to know about South Sudan
BBC News: Ceasefire talks open in Ethiopia