To the Glory of God

By Ed Lyons

Just as Aaron and Hur held up Moses' hands, which allowed Joshua to defeat the army of Amalek, your gifts strengthen the Nuba Church to continue to fight the good fight of faith.

   Pastor Paul (in red) showing The JESUS Film

Pastor Paul (in red) showing The JESUS Film

One Evangelism Backpack Projector in Pastor Paul's hands, for instance, has resulted in the establishment of new church congregations in four different villages!

This year, nine additional pastors have received motorbikes, which enable them to take the Good News of Jesus Christ to villages farther from their homes. They can attend church conferences and run errands of mercy more easily.

   Four more pastors receive motorbikes for ministry

Four more pastors receive motorbikes for ministry

Your gifts have also enabled Samia to once again sleep in her own house. When her village borehole broke due to overuse, Samia was forced to walk 3 miles to fetch clean water from a neighboring village’s borehole. The queue was so long that she often slept on site while her jerrycan made its way to the front of the line.

   Abdelaziz rejoices at his new audio Bible.

Abdelaziz rejoices at his new audio Bible.

Abdelaziz, who suffers from cerebral palsy, received a wheelchair bicycle from PPF a few years ago. This year, he was excited to also receive an Arabic audio Bible. He can now listen to the Word of God 24/7.

 

The Unimog transport trucks that you helped purchase have opened up year-round delivery of emergency relief supplies. These trucks are “game-changers” as they easily navigate both mud and deep water.

 Game changer! Our Unimog trucks open Nuba to year-round outreach

Game changer! Our Unimog trucks open Nuba to year-round outreach

Just as importantly, your love and compassion has brought smiles to thousands upon thousands of weary faces.

But there are still more we can help.

 

So far in 2018, we have delivered 5 Evangelism Backpack Projectors, and we have ordered another 6. But there are hundreds of pastors who are eager to receive one of these ministry tools. Many non-believers and Muslims are coming to Christ through The JESUS Film.

 

   Entire villages are captivated by The JESUS Film

Entire villages are captivated by The JESUS Film

   Dignity hygiene kits bring many smiles

Dignity hygiene kits bring many smiles

Likewise, over the past few years, PPF has supplied motorbikes to fewer than 40 pastors and evangelists in the Nuba region, but there are thousands who could benefit from this project.

   With her village borehole repaired, Samia no longer walks 3 hours to fetch water.

With her village borehole repaired, Samia no longer walks 3 hours to fetch water.

To date, our Borehole Repair Team has repaired over 130 boreholes this year, but when the rains cease, we’ll be back at it. Pumps are used continuously, so parts wear down and break. Boreholes need constant supervision and management, and PPF is one of the few organizations making the necessary repairs… in an area the size of the state of Georgia. And did I mention there are no paved roads?

We have delivered 6,200 audio Bibles this year and expect to deliver hundreds more before year’s end. Many believers and non-believers, including Muslims, in the Nuba mountains have been changed by these devices. Audio Bibles are one of the most successful ways for people who are illiterate to understand the Scriptures. Individuals who listen to the audio Bibles have memorized verses and entire chapters of the Bible. In doing so, their faith in Christ has grown. The need is great for this ministry tool. Tens of thousands could easily be distributed to eager recipients.

   Worship songs open a pastors' conference.

Worship songs open a pastors' conference.

   Appreciative for Christian literature and audio Bible

Appreciative for Christian literature and audio Bible

We take to heart the counsel of Paul to the Galatians and “do not grow weary in doing good.” (Gal. 6:9)

   An emergency food distribution

An emergency food distribution

We thank you for doing the same, for standing with us. With your help, we will continue to provide protective tarps to the displaced and dairy goats to those who are starving. Lord-willing, we will deliver more medicines, Bibles, blankets, and emergency food. And we will do all these things and more, as Paul says, “to the glory of God.” (1Co 10:31)

   A very big reminder of why we do what we do.

A very big reminder of why we do what we do.

GO(a)T MILK?

The contested Nuba mountains region of Southern Kordofan is home to Sudan's largest Christian community.

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Since 2011, a humanitarian blockade and seasonal military offensives by Khartoum's Islamo-fascist regime have led to a humanitarian crisis and widespread famine conditions.

Right now, the beleaguered Christian community in the Nuba mountains is facing its worst crisis since war returned in 2011.

But it's easy for each of us to make a lifesaving and sustainable difference for one Nuba family.

One dairy goat can provide a family with milk and offspring.

This means more milk and meat - and a source of income in communities affected by war, drought and famine conditions.

The Dairy Goat Project is supported by donations to PPF's Relief and Shelter Program.

Our goal is to provide 150 Nuba families with dairy goats in 2018.

Will you help?

Please visit GotDairyGoats.com to find out more!

The Nuba in Crisis

  Famine conditions hit the very old and very young the hardest.

Famine conditions hit the very old and very young the hardest.

The Islamist government of Sudan uses food and medicine as more potent weapons than bombs and bullets.

A recent humanitarian update from the Southern Kordofan/Blue Nile Coordination Unit reported that there are severe food shortages in the war-torn Nuba mountains. The heavily Christian counties of Buram, Heiban, and Umdorein are especially affected.

The Nuba have been under a government-imposed complete blockade since June, 2011.

The humanitarian update reveals that the accumulated effects of such a blockade, combined with poor harvests, have contributed heavily to depleted food stocks and poorer public health.

The lack of access to medicine is not just a problem for humans. Infectious disease is spreading among the livestock as well.

  Healthy goats, cattle, and poultry are essential for food security in the Nuba.

Healthy goats, cattle, and poultry are essential for food security in the Nuba.

Animals like cows, goats, sheep, and chickens are vital to the food security of the region. But according to the report, sheep pox is spreading, as well as New Castleman disease in poultry, and Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CCBP) disease is wreaking havoc among cattle herds in several Nuba communities. Such diseases can normally be controlled by a vaccine or treated by medication. Despite the reported "cease fire," security remains a problem for the Nuba. Government-backed militia raids have destroyed 357 square miles of prime grazing territory in the remote area of Western Gebel, further contributing to the humanitarian crisis.

  PPF's Safe Water Team repairing another well

PPF's Safe Water Team repairing another well

PPF is responding in many ways through your active compassion.

Our Safe Water Well Repair team continues to provide clean water to hundreds of communities. Our Relief and Shelter team continues to bring in tons of relief supplies, such as shelter tarps, mosquito nets, clothing, and compact emergency food. Our medical team continues to deliver tons of medicine to more than 180 primary health care clinics. And our Evangelism teams continue to distribute the Good News of Christ in written and digital form to those needing the encouragement and assurance of Christ's love for the lost and suffering.

  Empty bowls are sadly more common in the Nuba mountains.

Empty bowls are sadly more common in the Nuba mountains.

 PPF continues to send in crisis relief.

PPF continues to send in crisis relief.

  The Nuba church faithfully serves the community amidst the crisis.

The Nuba church faithfully serves the community amidst the crisis.

Standing Firm

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Recently, the PPF team was in Sudan’s Nuba mountains again.

  Planting crops to ward off hunger

Planting crops to ward off hunger

The rains had begun, and the whole country was turning green. Thin cows and goats were busy gorging themselves on abundant grass, and new life was seen everywhere. In every community we passed, whether in the valleys or on terraced hillsides, people were out plowing and planting. With the government-imposed humanitarian blockade now in its 8th year, it’s critical that this year’s local harvest be a big one. Famine conditions already prevail in many areas.

While visiting, our team delivered several more tons of medicine, emergency food, and other relief supplies, as well as Bibles and well repair parts. One of PPF’s new Mercedes Unimog trucks was hard at work, crossing through muddy, swampy areas with relative ease to deliver more “active compassion.”

Everywhere we stopped and spoke with locals, there seemed to be an unwavering resolve to “hold out” and weather the storm regardless of how long it rages.

“We will NEVER live under Shariah,” one Christian community leader told us. “Don’t worry about us. We won’t give up. We’ve been fighting this battle since 1956.”

PPF Engineers Repair another Nuba Well.JPG
PPF Engineers Repair another Nuba Well - 1.JPG
  PPF teams hard at work delivering "Active Compassion"

PPF teams hard at work delivering "Active Compassion"

Another leader we met (a Muslim) went further: “First, the Islamists told us we needed a united Sudan, so we should all speak Arabic. We complied. But that wasn’t enough. Then, they told us that if we were not Muslims, we must convert. Otherwise, we’d get no jobs, receive no access to education, and be permanently marginalized. So, some of us did. But even that wasn’t enough. We were then told we had to abandon our African identity and culture and embrace a distinctly ‘Arabized’ one. We finally said no. All of us. Christian and Muslim. Now, the government is trying to wipe us all out.”

Taken in context of everything going on in this area of the world, this kind of resolve is remarkable.

 Nuba mountains "graffiti"

Nuba mountains "graffiti"

  The Nuba Church has resisted Islamization since 1956.

The Nuba Church has resisted Islamization since 1956.

Right now, things look really bad for the Nuba. The Islamist government in Khartoum continues to keep the area under a stranglehold to compel its surrender or abandonment by the Nuba people. South Sudan is struggling under hyper-inflation and instability due to its own internal conflicts and can provide little help.

The US and International Community has done an about-face and started siding with the Islamists in Sudan, pushing the Nuba “rebels” to accept the current Arab regime and lay down their arms. There is even a real danger of Sudan’s government being removed from the “State Sponsors of Terror” list, which would give the Islamists $ billions more to spend on their internal wars against Christians and other “infidels” and “apostates.”

  A wedding celebration

A wedding celebration

And yet wherever our team went, markets were buzzing, churches were full, wedding celebrations were held, people were smiling, and if it wasn’t for all the bombed out buildings and unexploded ordnance everywhere, you’d forget this place was a war zone.

“…the joy of the Lord is your strength” Neh. 8:10

  Contagious joy... and the courage to never give up!

Contagious joy... and the courage to never give up!

The Nuba people are standing firm— especially the Nuba church. The issue is very simple to them: They will not give up their culture and their faith. They will not be Islamized. They will not be ruled by Islamic fundamentalism. Their schools will continue to teach English, not Arabic. Their churches will continue to preach Jesus, and no other Way. Their communities will continue to stand to defend their ancient homeland. They will never, never, NEVER give up.

We felt very convicted. PPF’s latest outreaches to the Nuba began in 2011. But the Nuba have been involved in defending themselves from extremism since 1956. Many on our team get to fly away back to first world conditions, while Nuba children must play soccer next to 500 pound bombs sticking out of the ground. Many of us involved in this work have felt discouraged at times, wondering whether things would ever change— but the Nuba church continues to press on day-after-day without losing hope.

“If our brothers and sisters can be so determined, why can’t we?” This is the question we ask ourselves when we’re tempted to be discouraged.

When PPF began working among the persecuted in Sudan, many in the organization saw it primarily as fulfilling an obligation. “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.” Heb. 13:3

  The Beautiful Nuba Mountains of Sudan

The Beautiful Nuba Mountains of Sudan

But now, we see it as a privilege. It’s a privilege to be chosen to stand in solidarity with the persecuted Church in Sudan’s Nuba mountains. It’s a privilege to be a part of their lives and community in some small way.

In the same way, it’s a privilege to stand with all the ministry partners of PPF making this work and relationship possible with the Nuba people.

Our prayer is that we all remain standing firm together, as one body spanning many thousands of miles. Would you pray with us?

The "Mechanics of Ministry" to the Persecuted

A big challenge with trying to help our persecuted brothers and sisters in Sudan is that so many live in very remote and hard-to-reach areas.

Part of the campaign of persecution by Sudan’s Islamist regime is purposefully neglecting “enemy” areas for development.

Sudan’s war-torn Nuba mountains are some of the least developed areas of Sudan. The addition of a long-standing humanitarian blockade has resulted in the slow grinding down of what infrastructure is there.

  Can you find the road?

Can you find the road?

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The few roads in the Nuba have gotten perpetually worse since the war began. It’s not uncommon to see the rusting hulks of heavy equipment standing idle for lack of fuel and spare parts to keep them running. Sometimes fuel and parts can be smuggled and bought at high prices on the black market, but during famine conditions, people are more worried about food and medicine than good roads for the few vehicles running.

  It's hard to move when you can't even see the tires for the mud.

It's hard to move when you can't even see the tires for the mud.

These challenges mean the addition of heavy-duty vehicles for ministry is a must for Persecution Project.

Thankfully, PPF recently welcomed the addition of two Mercedes Unimog trucks. These two vehicles have added tremendous capacity for outreach.

But these vehicles didn’t drop out of the sky. They were provided by God’s grace working through the generosity of our ministry partners— like you!

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What good is buying 10,000 Arabic Bibles if there is no way to get them to the people who need them? Likewise, what use is our medical outreach if we can’t move 30 tons of medicine to the more than 100 clinics we stock?

  Unimog being unloaded

Unimog being unloaded

These logistical needs are not often glamorous… but they are absolutely essential. We’ve often referred to it as a “ministry of mud.” It really is that important.

We extend our sincere thanks to those who have specifically donated towards the “mechanics of ministry". Your active compassion is literally moving mountains— mountains of mercy.

Evangelism Backpacks

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Wars, corruption, poverty, famine and turmoil seem to have no end in many African nations.

But the Gospel of Jesus Christ truly is the "Good News" that transforms nations, communities, tribes, families and individuals.

Persecution Project Foundation is training and equipping small teams of evangelists to bring the Good News of the Gospel to South Sudan's unreached tribes.

Use Your Community to Reach Their Community

  Backpack Projectors

Backpack Projectors

You can be a part of this ministry by helping PPF equip teams of indigenous evangelists with the tools they need to reach their neighbors with the Good News of Christ.

Each team undergoes training in the use of an Evangelism Backpack Projector Kit. One team equipped with a projector can bring an audio/visual witness to a population which is more than 90 percent illiterate.

During the next six months our goal is to train and equip five more Evangelism Backpack Projector Teams to immediately deploy in several unreached communities.

Each projector system costs about $1,500, plus transportation.

This means 15 people giving $100, or 30 people giving $50 can help us equip one team.

Visit evangelismbackpacks.com to donate or to become a fundraiser for this vital campaign.

  Showing  The Jesus Film  at the JLTC.

Showing The Jesus Film at the JLTC.

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Invite a Speaker

 First Presbyterian Church, Hopewell, VA

First Presbyterian Church, Hopewell, VA

We are so grateful for the ministry partnership of churches like our brethren at First Presbyterian Church in Hopewell, Virginia. If you would like us to come visit your congregation, please contact Ed Lyons at 540-829-5353, or write to ed.lyons@persecutionproject.org. We look forward to sharing with you what God is doing through our Active Compassion!

Sudan's Silent Killer

The Islamist's Ultimate Weapon

   Sudan's dictator, Omar al Bashir

Sudan's dictator, Omar al Bashir

For more than a year, the skies over the war-torn Nuba mountains of Sudan have been mostly quiet. The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) ground troops have also shown little mobilization. Part of the reason for this is that the SAF has been increasingly pulled into the war in Yemen, allied to their new financial backer, the Saudi government.

But you rarely read about Sudan’s role in the Yemeni war. And what little press is reported about the Nuba mountains is that a unilateral government “cease-fire” has been holding.

   A woman plants sorghum and prays for rain.

A woman plants sorghum and prays for rain.

   Hospitals and clinics are full.

Hospitals and clinics are full.

But this supposed “ceasefire” actually doesn’t exist, unless one is only considering traditional weapons like guns and tanks. The main weapon against the Nuba, which has been consistently used by Sudan’s dictator, Omar al Bashir, has been a total economic and humanitarian blockade of the region.

More simply stated: in Sudan, food and medicine have always been more effective weapons than bombs and bullets.

The Nuba mountains have been under this blockade since June, 2011. That’s nearly 7 years as of this writing. The cumulative effect of this kind of embargo has devastated the Nuba economy.

Add to this poor rains and widespread crop failure in recent years, and we have all the ingredients for a full-scale famine in many areas. This famine is Sudan’s Silent Killer.

Bashir thinks he can fool the world by playing diplomatic “footsie” with the West. Officially cutting his ties with Iran, supporting the Saudi’s in their proxy war in Yemen, sharing intelligence with the Americans on certain “terrorist” targets, are all means Bashir is using to convince the world that he’s a changed man.

   Mariam making tea in her cave home.

Mariam making tea in her cave home.

But is he?

Just ask people living under his regime.

Ask Mariam, who lives in Delami county, an area hit very hard by the humanitarian blockade.

When we met Mariam, she was living in a cave made by the massive boulders around the base of a mountain range. Her village had been abandoned, and even with the cease fire, Mariam still lives in the cave, because she’s afraid to go home due to its proximity to enemy lines.

   11-year-old Rhemas carrying water to her family

11-year-old Rhemas carrying water to her family

Mariam is one of thousands of examples of ordinary Nuba people, many of them our brothers and sisters in Christ, who continue to suffer from Sudan’s “Silent Killer.”

The people who genuinely suffer the most are children— like Rhemas. Rhemas is a girl our team met on a trip to visit the Kwalib people, a large, mostly Christian community in Delami county. We’ve shared her story in our June 2015 Africa Messenger.

Rhemas’ family live among the large boulders and caves just like Mariam. To get water for her family, Rhemas must climb high into the mountain to a cave where rainwater collects. She makes this perilous trek sometimes twice a day. Can you imagine doing this kind of work on an empty stomach?

   More emergency relief supplies on their way

More emergency relief supplies on their way

PPF has supplied crisis relief items to the Nuba since 2011. Each year, we have seen the humanitarian situation gradually worsening, as the effects of the blockade compound.

Honestly, it’s a struggle to keep up with the need. The Nuba is home to nearly 1.5 million souls. Yet the number of organizations defying the Islamist blockade with a permanent presence in the mountains can be counted on one hand. And the Islamists consider us criminals. To them, providing safe water to people like Rhemas’ family is a criminal act. Providing emergency food and shelter items to Mariam and her family is also a crime.

   These women are thankful for a PPF-sponsored distribution.

These women are thankful for a PPF-sponsored distribution.

Bashir and his Islamist government do not want anything to stop their “Silent Killer.” While they turn on the charm offensive and try to convince the world they are allies in the War on Terror, the Nuba people know better.

As do we.

Thank you for your financial and prayer support.

Let’s continue in prayer… then engage in more Active Compassion for the Persecuted!

Safe Water Update: 77 More Safe Water Wells!

   Another borehole being repaired

Another borehole being repaired

In early April, PPF's Emergency Well Repair Team in Sudan's Nuba mountains reported that they had completed the 77th repair of the year! This number is significant, because it was the initial goal PPF set for all of 2017. But barely into the second quarter of 2018, our team blew past this number.

Our repair team could not accomplish this vital relief work without having access to plenty of spare parts, vehicles, fuel, staff support, and all the other logistical needs for this project. These items have been provided by God working through your generosity to PPF's Safe Water Program.

Because of your giving, we can give a cup of cold water in Jesus' name to thousands of His persecuted flock.

   Celebrating clean water!

Celebrating clean water!

The Children's Issue

When Persecution Project writes about "Active Compassion for the Persecuted," we're writing mostly about little people.

When we report on impending famine conditions, we're talking about mostly hungry little people.

When we speak about a government-sponsored campaign of extermination, we're talking about the extermination of mostly little people.

The embargoed area of Sudan's Nuba mountains is like most places in the country in that it's home to lots of young people. Children under 15 years of age easily make up more than half the population. We don't need scientific surveys to tell us this. We just look around. Kids are everywhere.

  Most little people have BIG jobs.

Most little people have BIG jobs.

In a rural, pastoral community like the Nuba, children are a major blessing. Little boys tend large herds of cattle while girls fetch heavy containers of water from the wells. Hard work in a part of life, and most little people have big jobs.

Unfortunately, with the current war, most of the victims are also little people. Most of the suffering and sickness is borne by little bodies. The killed and wounded are disproportionately children.

But on the flip side, your active compassion towards the persecuted in Sudan is mostly blessing little victims. Most of the medicine helps heal little bodies. Most of the emergency food supplies fill little bellies. And most people drinking from newly repaired wells are little people.

The local church mirrors the rest of the community in that congregations are heavily populated by children. Their voices are typically the loudest, and their worship the most enthusiastic and sincere.

When you pray for the persecuted in Sudan, do you picture people like you who may just look or dress differently? Well, if you picture them as being a lot younger, you'll be closer to reality.

Jesus said that "inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me." (Matt. 25:40)

In this verse, Christ identifies with the marginalized in society and invites us to fellowship with Him by meeting Him at their level. It's hard to imagine being more marginalized than a child living in a war zone in one of the poorest, most underdeveloped areas of the world. But hopefully the pictures in this report will convince you more than words that we have definitely found Christ in this special community of little people.

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Prayer:

In Sudan, children are everywhere. Thank you for loving them.