Broken People Serving Broken People

By Pamela Grillis

Kyle and Pamela Grillis

Kyle and Pamela Grillis

What happens to a servant who can no longer serve his Master and the Master’s household in ways long accustomed? In literature and in real life, too often such a servant is set aside or turned away.

But it is not so with my Master, nor with the household I serve. 

My Master, Christ Jesus, has not set me aside. Instead, He has given me new ways to serve; and His household of faith has accepted me in my new role.

Almost nine years ago at the age of 51, as part of God’s Providence, I suffered a life-changing spinal cord injury.  For the majority of my forty years as a Christian before that, I had served mainly as a wife and mother.  But, I had also served as a Sunday school teacher, a women’s Bible study and seminar teacher, a weekly meal-bearing visitor to shut-ins, an active church member, and as a ministry volunteer.

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My husband and I also welcomed missionaries and ministry workers from multiple churches and organizations into our home.

But, when disability and daily, severe pain came into my life, the life of service I had known and enjoyed came to an end.

I know that God is Sovereign, so I knew that this change was His will, and He must be calling me to a different kind of service.  But what could a broken-bodied, pain-ridden, old servant have to give?

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As it turns out, more than I thought.

Prayer has always been a part of my walk as a Christian. But now prayer has taken on a whole new dimension.

Wracking days and sleepless nights spent in what I fondly call “the pain pit” (which is actually located on a mountaintop) have given me long periods of time to dedicate to intense prayer – prayer for people I know, prayer for those I don’t know, but a great deal of prayer for my persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ.

Being in the “pain pit” has given me a greater empathy for those who suffer. Although my suffering is not anywhere near the level of some of my brothers and sisters, my pain has opened my eyes and heart more to a deep connection with the persecuted and suffering.

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But besides prayer, I’ve discovered additional ways I can serve.

Thirty years ago, I was not only a young wife and mother, but also a young writer. In more recent times, a friend suggested I convert two history books I published decades ago to e-book format. 

Just getting through the day seemed hard enough, but I felt the conviction of the Lord that I could serve Him by revising these older works, converting them to e-books, and donating all profits from sales to ministries that serve the persecuted church.

My husband built a special table that can hold my laptop and swing over the couch where I recline during the day. Even with that, the pain was so great that it took me over a year and a half to convert just one of the books to e-book format.

But finally, by God’s grace, the first book was completed and now available online as an e-book— and soon as a paperback. 

As a book about local history, I realize it won’t make the NY Times best seller list. The important thing is that God has taught me that He’s not finished with me yet.

I learned I need to not give in to the whispers of the enemy that I’m through.

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My little offering may be the size of the “widow’s mite,” but the real value is determined by the Lord— not me. I believe God used a broken down, pain-ridden, to-the-eyes-of-the-world-useless, disabled servant to accomplish a work of love, however small, to show His surpassing glory. After all, He purposefully chooses the weak things of the world to shame the strong (I Cor. 1:27).

I learned in a real way that God loves to use the poorest material, the flimsiest fastener, the least effective tool in ways totally unexpected, but with the highest craftsmanship and superlative skill to glorify Himself, to strengthen the household of faith, and to build His Kingdom.

Therefore, young or old, healthy or ill, rich or poor, never think that you cannot be used by Him and for Him.  Our service to Him and the household of faith is not based on our external abilities, but on willing hearts.  And, even if you think that you have nothing to offer Him and no way to serve your brothers and sisters in Christ, I can assure you that you have something to bring to Him.

To our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ, none of us are old, useless, or poor servants; we are fellow warriors, fresh troops, coming alongside them in whatever way we can and in the unique ways the Lord has equipped and called us to “fight the good fight.”

Sola Deo Gloria!

[Editor’s Note: Pamela’s book, Vicksburg and Warren County: A History of People and Place, is now available on amazon.com. All proceeds will be donated to Persecution Project Foundation.]

The Monday Massacre

Some victims of Monday’s massacre.  (Photo courtesy of the Sudan Tribune)

Some victims of Monday’s massacre. (Photo courtesy of the Sudan Tribune)

On Monday, June 3rd, after months of protest in Sudan’s capital city, Khartoum, the ruling Islamist Military Council launched a full-scale attack on the popular uprising which has demanded an end to military rule in the country.

The attack was led by the infamous RSF militias, also known as the Janjaweed (Devils on Horseback), and the NISS (Sudan’s Secret Police). The result was a massacre. As of this writing, bodies are still being pulled from the Nile.

The Military Council then cancelled all previous agreements with citizen groups and announced an upcoming "snap election" designed to guarantee the Islamists maintain control of the country.

RSF militias from all over Sudan have been brought into Khartoum and sent swarming throughout the capital to enforce “order” (a.k.a. rule by terror).

Defend the Persecuted.

Defend the Persecuted.

The reaction from the West has been predictably milquetoast. Saudi Arabia and Egypt heavily back Sudan's Military Council. Apparently, as long as these countries keep buying F-15s and missile defense systems, Western governments, including the USA, will offer only strongly worded "tweets." 

Persecution Project is not waiting for a political solution. We're ministering to the persecuted in Sudan right now-- thanks to your giving.

Sudan needs our prayers. And we will pray. But we will also continue, with God working through your hearts, to engage in active compassion for the persecuted.

Pray for the Persecuted.

Pray for the Persecuted.

"Medina’s Song" Premiers in the Nuba

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The Persecution Project Team recently visited the Nuba mountains, bringing several large consignments of relief— but also something very special: a film premier.

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The Nuba premier of Medina’s Song in the very community where it was shot was very special and encouraging to the viewers.

When we suffer through a major trial in life, it’s nice to know we’re not alone— and the Nuba people are definitely not alone thanks to your active compassion.

If you haven’t seen Medina’s Song yet, you can visit www.MedinasSong.com today!

Healer of the Nations

We know God is our “Great Physician.” In His generosity towards us, He often chooses to work His healing power through the compassion of willing hands.

Persecution Project has been privileged to partner with one particular pair of willing hands. They belong to Dr. Ahmed Zakariah, a heroic physician seeking to do the impossible: build a hospital in a war zone.

Construction of housing for doctors and nurses

Construction of housing for doctors and nurses

Dr. Ahmed is a native of South Kordofan State, home to the Nuba mountains. His medical “residency” took place with Tom Catena (“Dr. Tom”), an American missionary doctor at the Nuba’s only referral hospital. 

Dr. Ahmed performing surgery

Dr. Ahmed performing surgery

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 But Dr. Ahmed is also a trained architect. In 2016, at the height of the fighting in the Nuba, Dr. Ahmed decided to branch off and build another hospital to take pressure off of Dr. Tom.

With whatever was donated or he could find, and with the help of voluntary labor from the community, Dr. Ahmed began construction.

Maternity Ward solar panels being installed

Maternity Ward solar panels being installed

Today, while still under construction, Gigaiba Hospital sees an average of 3,000 patients per month. That’s 36,000 patients per year— and one doctor.

Persecution Project has chosen to focus most of our ministry efforts in 2019 to helping Dr. Ahmed’s hospital construction. Naturally, a project like this will take a lot of time. As of this writing, the Nuba is still under a humanitarian blockade, which makes getting building materials into the mountains a very time-consuming and expensive task.

PPF bringing in more building materials

PPF bringing in more building materials

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But the work is steadily moving along and much progress is being made. The PPF team recently delivered another large shipment of building supplies. In addition, a large medical consignment was delivered — with more medicine on the way.

This outreach is made possible by your generous giving as our ministry partners. We call it “active compassion,” but our Nuba family calls it hope for their children’s future.

Thank you!

Repairing the hospital generator

Repairing the hospital generator

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The Coup that Never Was

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After nearly five months of continuous, coordinated protests across Sudan, the 30-year reign of Islamo-fascist Dictator Omar al Bashir came crashing down via a military coup on April 11th, 2019 - At least, that’s what we were told by the mainstream media.

“Fake News” seemed to reach new levels when article after article reported that Bashir was “arrested” and finally removed from power.

Sudan’s Armed Forces, through a new military council, declared a state of emergency, suspended the Constitution, imposed a curfew, and said the country would be ruled by a military council for a two-year period in preparation for democratic elections.

There was just one problem… there was no coup, and there were no real “arrests.”

Sudanese demonstrators protest against the army’s announcement that al-Bashir would be replaced by a military-led transitional council [Photo credit: Reuters]

Sudanese demonstrators protest against the army’s announcement that al-Bashir would be replaced by a military-led transitional council [Photo credit: Reuters]

The entire episode was political theatre - and the Sudanese people knew it. As of this writing, as many as two million Sudanese are still in the streets, demanding an end to Bashir’s entire regime - not more political shell games.

Bashir’s government is teetering on the edge of the abyss, because it’s an Islamo-fascist system that has murdered and looted for nearly 30 years. From all indications, the popular uprising in the streets is entirely organic - meaning it’s people-led; not inspired by outside agitators or governments.

Not surprisingly, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates expressed their support for the new military council - which is presently led by Darfur war criminals Abdel-Fattah Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (head of the infamous Janjaweed militias, aka “Devils on Horseback”).

The Saudis have been sending the Sudan Military $ billions since the latter agreed to support Saudi’s proxy war against Iran in Yemen.

But Western powers haven’t been as supportive of the “new” regime. They know that nothing has substantively changed in Sudan.

Bashir came to power through a military coup in 1989. His brutality across the country is well-documented, and his actions, particularly in Darfur, helped earn him an indictment by the International Criminal Court for war crimes.

Inflation of the Sudanese pound has been crippling. In 2010, the rate was a little more than 2 SDG to 1 USD. In 2018, it reached nearly 50 to 1. Dramatic cost increases of fuel, food, and other basic life necessities pushed people to the point of desperation.

But regular Sudanese don’t just want an end to rising bread prices, they want an end to the entire Islamo-fascist system Bashir’s NCP government represents.

Time will tell whether the military “coup that wasn’t” will lead to a civilian government respectful of the rights of all Sudanese, not just an Islamist elite.

More Medicine on the Way!

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The Africa-based PPF team recently sent over several photos showing the loading of several tons of medicines onboard a container bound for the embattled Nuba mountains. Persecution Project is a member of a Nuba medical consortium consisting of the few remaining organizations working behind the lines to provide basic health services to 1.5 million Nuba living under a government-imposed blockade. 

According to the Nuba Secretariat of Health, Persecution Project has been responsible for 70-85% of all medical assistance making to the Nuba people in the last several years.

These photos from the field encourage us to stay focused in engaging in Active Compassion for our persecuted brothers and sisters.

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Medina's Song: A Profile of the Persecuted

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Wife. Mother. Teacher. Artist. Warrior. Patriot. Medina is all these things and more.

She's also one of the "unknowns" in a terrible conflict most of the world has ignored.

Medina lives in the war-torn Nuba mountains of Sudan. Her story, though tragic, is full of hope and beauty. Every day she struggles to provide for her little family living in a war zone.

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We want you to know her story.

Medina's Song is the first in a series of short films released by Persecution Project to highlight unknown heroes, like Medina, who struggle to live normal lives amidst war and persecution.

The Nuba mountains are home to Sudan's largest community of Christians.

And today, their way of life is threatened.

The Nuba have been targeted for annihilation by the sadistic regime of Omar al Bashir, Sudan's dictator since 1989.

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In 2011, Bashir re-launched a campaign of genocide and terror against the Nuba people, dropping more than 4,000 bombs on schools, churches, marketplaces and hospitals. 

Many lives have been lost, and the international community has all but abandoned the Nuba people.

But people like Medina continue to persevere. Her patriotism, her unbreakable faith, and her songs keep her going… and inspire a rising generation of Nuba who have only known struggle.

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Our hope is to use Medina’s Song to raise awareness of what is happening in the Nuba mountains, and what the church in America can do to respond.

In 2019, our priority is to expand and improve access to medical services to more Nuba women like Medina by helping to build a new referral hospital in her community — including a Maternity Ward. Right now, Medina and her neighbors must walk for days to reach the nearest hospital. We’re trying to change this. You can help.

Please visit www.MedinasSong.com today to watch our film and to share it with your friends and family.

Persecution Project has chosen to defy a government-imposed blockade and continue to stand alongside heroes like Medina. Please watch Medina's Song, then consider your role in engaging in more active compassion for the persecuted.

Clinging to Power

Omar al Bashir stepped down as head of the National Congress Party.

Omar al Bashir stepped down as head of the National Congress Party.

In recent weeks, Sudan's dictator, Omar al Bashir, announce a state of emergency, suspended the constitution, and dismissed his state governors in a desperate attempt to divert attention from the systemic collapse of his government's regime and a nationwide popular uprising calling for his removal.

Peaceful protests have been met with a severe crackdown involving thousands of extrajudicial killings, arrests, detentions and torture.

Bashir has now stepped down as head of the National Congress Party (NCP), formerly known as the National Islamic Front, and appointed Ahmed Haroun as his replacement. 

Ahmed Haroun, the man responsible for the Nuba Darfur genocide, has been appointed as Bashir’s replacement.

Ahmed Haroun, the man responsible for the Nuba Darfur genocide, has been appointed as Bashir’s replacement.

Haroun is a name very familiar with Sudanese, especially those living in Darfur and the Nuba mountains. In the 1990s, Haroun was the architect of the Nuba genocide, in which an estimated 500,000 people were killed.

The genocidal tactics Haroun practiced in the Nuba were later perfected in Darfur, where he was directly linked to the killing of an estimated 300,000 Darfuris. This earned Haroun Sudan's first indictment for war crimes from the ICC.

Protests in Sudan’s capital.

Protests in Sudan’s capital.

Then, in 2011, Bashir brought Haroun back to the Nuba to prosecute a new conflict and to finish the job he started in the 1990s. 

Bashir, Haroun, and their Islamist brothers are desperately clinging to power and will try by all means to hijack Sudan's popular uprising and retain their 30-year Islamo-fascist system.

Let's continue to pray for Sudan at this time and especially for our persecuted brothers and sisters as they stand against this evil regime.

A Great Work

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.” (Eccl. 4:9)

Dr. Ahmed examines infants at his hospital.

Dr. Ahmed examines infants at his hospital.

The war-torn Nuba mountains of Sudan have been under an Islamist government-imposed humanitarian blockade since June 2011.

Think about that for a minute.

That’s nearly eight years. Can you imagine living in your home state and being cut off from any trade for eight years (except the black market)?

None of us can imagine this because our states already have a lot of existing infrastructure, while the Nuba mountains are very rural and undeveloped.

For instance, there is only one referral hospital (Mother of Mercy) to serve a population of more than a million people. We complain about the expense of medical care in the States, yet most of us live relatively close to a hospital. Not in the Nuba. Many people must walk or be carried for days (there are few working vehicles).

Together with our prayer and financial partners, PPF is trying to change this.

PPF supports Dr. Ahmed’s hospital, which serves the persecuted church in Sudan’s Nuba mountains. Construction continues despite shortages and expense of building materials.

PPF supports Dr. Ahmed’s hospital, which serves the persecuted church in Sudan’s Nuba mountains. Construction continues despite shortages and expense of building materials.

Ahmed Zakariah was introduced to us by Dr. Tom Catena, who runs Mother of Mercy Hospital. Dr. Ahmed is heroically trying to build another hospital in the Nuba despite the humanitarian blockade.

This project is a Herculean effort and one that we (with the support of our ministry partners) have decided to support with our whole heart.

We’ve already received some very generous donations towards constructing the hospital’s Maternity Ward. Dr. Ahmed is also completing a Children’s War, improving the existing surgical theater, and even building staff quarters for visiting doctors and nurses.

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While this construction is ongoing, and necessarily slow due to the shortages and expense of building supplies, Dr. Ahmed’s hospital still treats an average of 3,000 patients per month!

Dr. Ahmed’s hospital is supported by Persecution Project’s Medical Program, which has also provided more than 70% of the medicines available to the Nuba people. Medicine is distributed to 178 smaller clinics spread around the mountains. We love visiting these small, remote clinics and seeing shelves stacked with boxes of antimalarials, antibiotics, and other important pharmaceuticals.

Hospital Lab

Hospital Lab

One of Dr. Ahmed’s patients

One of Dr. Ahmed’s patients

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Please visit NubaHospital.com to learn how you can directly support this important ministry. Above all, please pray for open doors and open hearts to see this work to completion - for it truly is a great work, and we don’t want to quit!

Persecution Project Emergency Borehole Repair Team

“Water is life,” and safe water can prevent 80+ percent of all disease in Africa. This is the reason why Persecution Project’s Emergency Borehole Repair Program is one of the most important outreaches our Safe Water Projects supports. By repairing broken well pumps, we literally give the gift of life to our brothers and sisters living in embattled communities.

In 2018, 133 broken boreholes were repaired by our team in the war-torn Nuba mountains of Sudan. You can help us continue this valuable work in 2019 by supporting our Safe Water Projects. As little as $1,000 repairs a well providing 1,000 people with pure, clean water. That’s just $1 per person!

Without access to safe water

Without access to safe water

Safe water well repaired by PPF

Safe water well repaired by PPF