PHASE I COMPLETE!

Maternity ward Phase I construction is complete.

Maternity ward Phase I construction is complete.

It’s always great to receive good news, and August was a month for it at Persecution Project.

After many months of labor, including mind-numbing logistical challenges, weather challenges, supply challenges, etc., we finally received word from Dr. Ahmed Zachariah that Phase I for the Maternity Ward has been completed.

Phase I involved a lot of bulk construction, including the foundation and walls, roofing and solar power, electrical and so forth.

There is a desperate need for this Maternity Ward in the Nuba mountains. So we thank God for this major step towards completion of a facility promising to save many lives.

As you can imagine, infant (and mother) mortality is a major problem in the Nuba, especially as it remains cut off from the rest of the country by order of the Islamists still dominating the government.

What encourages us is that despite the ever-changing political landscape, Dr. Ahmed has soldiered on “making bricks without straw” on occasion, while still managing to treat 60-100 patients per day in the peak malaria season.

Of course, Dr. Ahmed's vision is for his hospital to go beyond a Maternity Ward and include several other patient wards, a proper lab, an operating theatre, and a doctor and nurses’ compound. 

But we must walk before we run, and the first priority is to help build the Maternity Ward.

Thanks to the generosity of all our ministry partners, we’ve completed the first phase and rolled immediately into Phase II.

Phase II involves “filling out” the interior with everything from tiled floors, windows, lighting fixtures, painting, plastering, ceiling installation, etc.

To learn more about how you can be instrumental in helping accomplish this important next phase in completing the maternity ward, simply visit www.NubaHospital.com.

Above all, please keep Dr. Ahmed, the construction crew, PPF’s team, and the entire Nuba community in your prayers. We need it!

Gigaiba Hospital

One man’s vision; an entire community’s need.

Doing the Impossible

By Ed Lyons

I appreciate J. Hudson Taylor’s quote, “I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God: first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.”

God often calls us to do the impossible, showing us time and again that with Him, all things are possible.

It wasn’t a simple task for Abraham to leave country, culture and family for a land that wasn’t yet visible. Yet by faith he went, “for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Hebrews 11:10)

To Israel, it seemed as if they would never leave Egypt, much less be able to cross the Red Sea. How could they make it through the wilderness to the Promised Land?

Conquering Canaan? Felling a giant? Toppling city walls… Extending daylight hours… Feeding 5,000+… Walking on water… Moving mountains… Raising the dead to life… Making disciples of all nations…?

All approaching impossible.

Somewhere in the back of our minds, lingering in a distant corner, is Matthew 19:26, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

As we repeatedly sweep away the cobwebs and shine the light of Truth into that corner of our thoughts, the more we begin to believe it. Dare I say, live it.

No longer do we shy away from seemingly futile goals. Instead of running from them, we now seek them. Charge toward them. Pick up the smooth stones and sling shot and walk into the blistering sun while others jeer.

For in so doing, we see the power of God!

What glory is there in staying comfortably in the Shire when facing Smaug can save lives?

For thus men have crossed oceans, traversed the poles, and explored space.

Dr. Ahmed’s hospital serves up to 3,000 patients each month.

Dr. Ahmed’s hospital serves up to 3,000 patients each month.

And this is why we (you and our other PPF partners) are building Gigaiba Hospital in the middle of a warzone in an area still under a humanitarian blockade. To accomplish, in God’s strength, what is impossible for man in his own.

We walk in faith to declare His glory and to praise His Name. One day, we will see the impossible accomplished, and we’ll marvel at His goodness to us and to the Nuba people.

Compassion vs. Chaos

Chaos in Khartoum  (Reuters)

Chaos in Khartoum (Reuters)

As of this writing, the Sudan is still reeling from political turmoil. The country continues to be ruled by an Islamist elite. The capital city of Khartoum is still unsafe for dissenters. After a 37 day total blackout, the Internet has only now just been switched back on. Many people are skeptical the latest power-sharing agreement will last the three years and three month transition to “civilian rule.” 

The situation remains chaotic.

Life in the mountains is difficult.

Life in the mountains is difficult.

But that’s not the whole story. From the chaos come stories of hope. Stories of compassion. Your compassion.

At the same time the turmoil is being reported, tons of aid is being delivered and distributed to some of the hardest hit areas of Sudan’s Nuba mountains— home to one of that country’s largest Christian communities.

Unimogs in action

Unimogs in action

Although the rainy season is in full swing, Persecution Project still delivers. Our small fleet of Mercedes Unimog trucks have been incredible— able to traverse roads which literally swallow other vehicles.

One of the most remote areas of the Nuba is the home of the Kwalib people. The mountains in Kwalib are like big piles of boulders which create thousands of caves used by people as temporary homes for security.

But reaching Kwalib is a long and arduous journey, and impossible for normal vehicles during the rainy season— but not for Unimogs.

Our headquarters’ team recently received several photos and videos of our Unimogs in action on the road to Kwalib. It was so encouraging to know that several tons of crisis relief was on its way thanks to a couple of refurbished trucks older than many of our field staff members driving them!

The maternity ward under roof

The maternity ward under roof

Pastors Nabiel and Morris head up the hospital chaplaincy program.

Pastors Nabiel and Morris head up the hospital chaplaincy program.

On the way to Kwalib, our Unimogs drive past the building site of Dr. Ahmed Zachariah’s hospital in Gigaiba. Dr. Ahmed recently reported major construction progress— despite the increasing hardship of getting building supplies.

While the hospital in Gigaiba is far from complete, it still manages to serve 3,000 patients per month. The small pharmacy is packed with medicines delivered by PPF. Pastors Morris and Nabiel provide chaplaincy services to patients in their beds or awaiting treatment under trees. The hand-pump well at the hospital which was repaired by PPF’s team can be heard night and day providing safe water to patients and local residents.

These pastors recently received motorbikes to facilitate their work.

These pastors recently received motorbikes to facilitate their work.

A Nuba mother receives help

A Nuba mother receives help

All of these examples of active compassion are confronting the forces of hate and chaos afflicting Sudan. This is the Gospel message lived in word and deed. Darkness will give way to the Light. Love will drive away fear. Forgiveness will heal deep wounds. Encouragement will lift spirits and keep those suffering persecution going day after day.

This is all happening because God has chosen to answer the prayers of His persecuted flock by sending normal people thousands of miles away to be the hands and feet of Christ in this little corner of the world. Of course, God doesn’t need us. He can literally send manna from heaven if He wishes. But He gives us the gift of service to imitate Him, and be blessed as we bless others.

Thus, compassion confronts chaos— and compassion wins.

Compassion wins!

Compassion wins!

Away from the Chaos

by Ed Lyons

Ed Lyons addressing young people at Camp Red Arrow

Ed Lyons addressing young people at Camp Red Arrow

Chaos is not restricted to Sudan’s borders. The author of confusion and disorder runs rampant throughout the world. We find disunity, distractions and disharmony everywhere.

There is only one solution to all the chaos, and that is Jesus Christ.

Jesus brings peace where there is turmoil, truth where there are lies, and direction where there is uncertainty.

Thus, Christ must be the foundation from which all of PPF’s ministries originate.

Recently, I had the privilege of sharing that message with over 100 teenagers at Virginia’s Camp Red Arrow, a summer Christian camp where young people were drawn out of the “chaos” of the world for a week. With no access to Internet, television, radio, or social media, campers focused exclusively on hearing from God.

I was there to share with the campers what God is doing through PPF, and what He can do in and through them.

I related various aspects of Persecution Project’s ministry to Jesus’ own ministry in chapters 4 through 7 of the Gospel of John. For instance, PPF’s Safe Water Projects flow from Jesus’ meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. As we repair Nuba boreholes, these locations become wonderful places to share the Good News. Wells are natural gathering spots for people, who pass the time with conversation.

In John 4 and 5, Jesus heals two individuals of illnesses and infirmities. As a result, those who are healed (and in one case, the person’s entire household) believe in Him. Likewise, PPF delivers medicines and medical supplies to the Nuba region, and we are helping construct Gigaiba Hospital, all in an effort to point people to the life-giving, life-sustaining love of Christ. In fact, our hospital chaplaincy program enables Nuba pastors to share Jesus with patients and staff and heal souls while the medical staff heal bodies.

From Scripture, we understand that Jesus was often moved with compassion when He saw the multitudes, who were like sheep without a Shepherd. In John 6, the crowds are fed by Jesus through a miracle of provision. All of PPF’s Relief and Shelter outreaches support our Active Compassion for the Persecuted. Whether providing emergency food, relief packs, hygiene kits for women, tarps, mosquito nets, cooking utensils, clothing, school supplies, dairy goats, or any of the other items that we distribute, PPF hopes to encourage Christians by letting them know God has not forgotten them. By showing compassion and presenting the Gospel, we also hope to bring unbelievers to Christ.

Finally, in John 7, we find that Jesus’ own brothers did not yet believe that He was the long-awaited Messiah. Later in that chapter, on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus stood and cried out saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (vv 37-38)

“Rivers of living water” flowing out of us, just as they did the Samaritan woman in John 4 when she immediately shared Jesus with members of her village… and many of them believed in Him because of the words she had said.

Thank you for allowing His living water to flow through you. Overcoming evil with good - one word and one deed at a time.

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.