Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I’m going back to Africa, but I need your help. Please read on . . .
I love Africa. In many ways Africa is still my home. I was born in Africa. I lived in South Africa for the first 20 years of my life. The sounds, the smells, and the tastes of Africa are real to me. The people are wonderful. They are full of joy. They are welcoming and hospitable. And yet most of Africa is a continent without much hope for its people. Extreme poverty is not a cause but a result of Africa's problems. According to Genocide Watch, since 1960 about 9 million Africans had been killed through genocide, mass murder, and targeted starvation. The Sudan, in particular, is a nation in turmoil. Northern Sudan is Islamic, southern Sudan is Christian and Darfur in the west is an area of continual genocide.
A group of Sudanese church leaders met in 2004 to formulate a plan to begin the process of restoration in the lives of their people after more than two decades of devastating war. During this meeting, an organization was founded – The Sudan Evangelical Alliance (SEA). SEA exists to offer financial, educational, and spiritual support in order to bring new life and hope to the people of the southern Sudan.
When asked to prioritize the needs of their people, the local leaders of SEA said that giving their children a better life through education was at the top of their list. After some investigation, the SEA identified an isolated and impoverished tribal community in southeastern Sudan called Boma. A majority of the people in Boma are presently trapped with little hope for a better future. There has never been a functioning school or church in Boma. After meeting with the tribal chiefs and sharing with them the desire to help build a school, their response was to give 52 acres of land for this project. With two classrooms completed, “Faith Learning Center” opened for kindergarten and first grade in January of 2008. Work has begun on the next phase of additional classrooms which will house a secondary school. The school building project also serves as a workshop for training local Sudanese men to gain skills in brick making and construction. After developing part of the land as a farm, each household in Boma was provided with seed to plant corn using farming techniques taught them to raise their own food. The first harvest in Boma took place in July of 2007 amid much rejoicing. The school itself will have a farm from which students will be fed and the surplus sold to help pay teacher's salaries. Parents will work at the school and farm as payment for their children attending. The SEA hopes to be sending teams of medical personnel to begin training in community health issues and initiate the process of opening a clinic in Boma. While all of this is taking place, the teachers, staff, and volunteers will be sharing the gospel with the people not only in word, but also in loving actions.
Each aspect of the Boma project is designed to train the local people with the skills and knowledge that will enable them to independently operate the school and farm. When sufficient progress has been achieved in Boma and the school can stand on its own, its operation will be turned over to local leadership. (Please watch the video below)
So, how do I fit into all of this? One of the organizations supporting the SEA’s Boma project is Partners in Hope. Their goal is to raise funds to build an orphanage and boarding facility close to the school. As the school grows this will be a necessity. Since I have taken survey trips and medical missions to Africa as part of my work with the East-Reach mission in Zambia, I have been asked to take a trip to the southern Sudan in order to meet with local leaders, villagers, and children. My task will be to assess needs, get my “hands dirty” with construction and farming, and return to the U.S. with information to assist in raising the funds needed for constructing an orphanage. I will be departing on March 10th, and will return on March 24th. The total cost for this survey trip is $3000. This covers airfare to Nairobi Kenya, a charter flight to Boma, lodging, food, and travel visas.
If any of my friends and readers would like to help with this effort, I would appreciate your thoughts and prayers for safety and success. If you are able to, I would especially appreciate your financial assistance. Any amount will help. If you are interested in being a part of my new and exciting opportunity to spread hope in a very dark part of Africa, please contact me soon. My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact Ryan at Partners in Hope. His email is: email@example.com.
God bless you, and Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika (God bless Africa).