Friday, February 25, 2011

Return to the Southern Sudan

Christian Relief Partners has been involved in the Southern Sudan for a couple of years now. Last month a historic referendum was held in which the south voted to secede from the north and establish independence. This comes after a bloody twenty-five year civil war that decimated the country. Now this brand new country needs to put aside inner strife and inter-tribal conflicts and stand together.

In African countries that have experienced genocide, civil war, and tribal violence, the role of community in fueling hatred and inciting violence is impossible to ignore. Greed has prompted many African leaders to use communities as pawns - using their poverty and hopelessness to stir up dissention and hatred, and creating an environment of fear and hostility. Even as these conflicts are managed and new leaders come into power, the resentments and tribal hatred continue to fester, so that some of these communities are always on the brink of violence. It is becoming more apparent that those taking over leadership in post-conflict areas, and trying to rebuild their communities must play a significant role in tearing down these barriers of hate by promoting peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Leaders with the desire to create lasting change in Africa are increasingly collaborating with Christian organizations to seek training that can help them as they steer communities towards a more peaceful future.

The power of true biblical forgiveness is a model that has already resulted in transforming communities all over the continent. Obviously, many communities are still shackled with generations of hatred and resentment. Remarkably, the fledgling government of the world’s newest country is now seeking help to train government officials, civil leaders, police officers, and lawyers in peacebuilding, conflict resolution, trauma healing, and servant leadership.

In my capacity as Christian Relief Partners’ Liaison for African Projects, I will be departing for the Southern Sudan on March 8th along with some of the board of SEA Partners. It is a chilling kind of excitement to be hands on involved in the establishment of the world’s newest country! My itinerary will be as follows:

March 10-14: Meet with ministers and teachers in Boma, Southern Sudan.
                        Distribute food aid from the U.N. World Food Programme
March 14-16: Meet with government, civil, and religious leaders in the capital of Juba.
                        Meet with representatives of Joint Aid Management (JAM) in Yei.
March 16-18: Meet with leaders in the village of Biong to discuss the establishment of a  
                        new Christian school.
March 19: Return to Nairobi, Kenya.

After this trip I will develop a curriculum based on conversations with government and church leaders that will result in the training of teams traveling to the Sudan, as well as ministers in the Southern Sudan. This project will be titled, “A Model for the Training of Ministers as Agents of Reconciliation and Communal Peacebuilding through Biblical Forgiveness in the Southern Sudan.”

As you can imagine, such a trip costs a great deal due to the logistics of getting in and out of the Southern Sudan. If you have supported this work in the past, or if this is something you are interested in supporting, please contact me at: Every bit helps, and your kindness would be greatly appreciated.

Peace and Blessings