A House of Healing: One Doctor's War... Against a War

  Dr. Ahmed Zakariah

Dr. Ahmed Zakariah

We knew of Dr. Ahmed Zakariah long before we met him. His fame began to spread when he completed his residency with real American Hero Dr. Tom Catena at Mother of Mercy Hospital in the war-torn Nuba mountains of Sudan.

Dr. Ahmed saw how Mother of Mercy struggled to keep up with the unending stream of patients flowing through its doors. He knew what he had to do.

Dr. Ahmed travelled several hours from Mother of Mercy to an area choked with internally displaced refugees fleeing the destruction at the front lines. He found an old clinic and began seeing patients. First dozens. Then hundreds. Then more.

 Dr. Ahmed (right) in surgery with Dr. Tom Catena.

Dr. Ahmed (right) in surgery with Dr. Tom Catena.

Today, Dr. Ahmed’s little clinic treats an average of 3,000 patients per month.

It is simply not an adequate space for the growing needs of the Nuba community.

That’s why Dr. Ahmed started building his hospital— with no money or outside support and in the middle of a war zone surrounded by government forces which want to kill or drive away every Nuba inhabitant!

Crazy? For sure.

But love can make you do “crazy” things. And Dr. Ahmed loves his people.

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In the spring of 2015, the Islamist government forces of Sudan launched a major offensive against the Nuba. The PPF team was in the Nuba delivering medical equipment to Dr. Tom’s hospital at the same time. The team also carried a gift for Dr. Ahmed— a quad bike he could use to move around and make house calls.

  The Children’s Ward

The Children’s Ward

Our team was informed that Dr. Ahmed was at his clinic but had nearly been killed the day before in a bombing attack. We immediately drove the several hours to see Dr. Ahmed and found him treating victims of the bombing that had nearly killed him. He showed us the marks where several tiny shrapnel pieces entered the small of his back, and we thanked God he had been spared.

  The Maternity Ward

The Maternity Ward

Dr. Ahmed was grateful for his quad bike and gave us a tour of his “hospital.” At the time, only the Children’s Ward was under construction. The community pitched in to provide bricks and manual labor. Someone even donated an old generator and welding machine. But there was no fuel to run the generator and no welding rods or rebar or anything else to complete the building.

  Current patients

Current patients

Our team was moved by Dr. Ahmed’s vision and seemingly unquenchable optimism — even during that very bleak time in 2015. This was a man who knew exactly what God wanted him to do with his life.

Today, a Children’s Ward is in use, and Dr. Ahmed has begun construction on the Maternity Ward.

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Dr. Ahmed’s vision is very ambitious and it may seem a little crazy. But it’s also inspiring. This man didn’t wait for someone to come along and help. He saw a need and got active.

We want to help Dr. Ahmed complete his hospital. But building a hospital in the middle of a war-zone, surrounded by a humanitarian blockade, is no easy task. It is not cheap, either. But it is a matter of life and death for many thousands of Nuba residents.

To help Dr. Ahmed, PPF has launched a new campaign: NubaHospital.com

  The hospital laboratory

The hospital laboratory

This campaign allows you to not only contribute towards the construction of Dr. Ahmed’s hospital, but also to share the need with your own community and recruit them to join the effort with you.

Please visit NubaHospital.com today to learn more about how you can help a courageous man build a House of Healing for the persecuted!

Campaigns of Compassion

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Persecution Project’s ministry programs are divided into four mission areas: Safe Water, Relief and Shelter, Medical, and Discipleship and Evangelism.

To support these programs, PPF has started, and will continue to develop, campaigns of active compassion. These campaigns not only allow you to support an important outreach to our persecuted brothers and sisters, they provide the tools to compound your love by recruiting your friends and family to join your effort.

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For this edition of Africa Messenger, we’re featuring two PPF Campaigns of Compassion for your consideration: DignityDrive.com and GotDairyGoats.com.

GOTDAIRYGOATS.COM

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Sustainable famine relief is a major need in areas wracked by natural and man-made disasters. Our persecuted brothers and sisters in Sudan’s Nuba mountains have been subject to a government-imposed blockade since 2011. Added to this challenge has been years of inconsistent rainfall, causing crop failure in major agricultural districts.

To tackle this need, PPF has launched a campaign to provide dairy goats to select communities. Goats are very hardy animals and do well in the harsh climate of Sudan.

Moreover, they have lots of “kids”, providing a growing source of milk and meat to fill the gaps caused by famine conditions.

There will always be a need for emergency food outreaches in times of war, famine and persecution. But PPF’s Dairy Goat campaign is providing a long-term, sustainable solution to the Nuba food supply.

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One dairy goat costs just $70 and is a gift that keeps giving day-after-day, year-after-year. Please visit GotDairyGoats.com today, to find out how you can bless the persecuted church in Sudan with sustainable famine relief.

DIGNITYDRIVE.COM

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As a ministry serving in conflict-ridden areas, we tend to focus on “major” needs like emergency food, medicine, shelter, etc. But sometimes “little” things can often have a bigger impact than one thinks.

We’ve found this to be the case with our Dignity Drive. By providing thousands of women with comfortable, reusable feminine hygiene kits, we encourage and energize the major life-force of community in the two Sudans.

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Women who lack access to a safe, hygienic monthly solution miss out on educational and economic opportunities— not to mention exposed risk to higher rates of infection and disease.

For $20, we can provide a Dignity Kit to a woman or girl in need. More importantly, we provide encouragement and a reminder that we serve a God Who provides for all of our needs.

You can mobilize your church community to join you in contributing to make PPF’s Dignity Drive a continued success. Please visit DignityDrive.com today!

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A Call for Dignity

by Rachel Starkey

“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (Mark 5:34b)

Many years ago, my husband and I established a factory that manufactures clothing. It was our aim to sustainably help some vulnerable women gain employment where we live in Egypt.

   Thank you!

Thank you!

During this time, I learned of another dire need. In East Africa, 80% of women lack access to sanitary pads (60M women!) and 43% are under 15 years old (25.8M). One in ten adolescent girls miss school during menses. And these shocking numbers go up in more remote, war-torn areas like Sudan’s Nuba mountains.

I kept thinking, “What if this was me? What if this was my daughter? How would I manage the shame and lack of dignity if I didn’t have access to reliable sanitary protection?”

And what about health and hygiene? Think of the millions of women living in areas without access to safe water. Infection rates are significantly higher, further contributing to missed educational and economic opportunities.

   The EVA Dignity Kit

The EVA Dignity Kit

I decided to dedicate our left-over fabric to create EVA Dignity Kits, an affordable three-year solution for women living in the developing world.

Each Kit contains 2 pair of underwear, 2 waterproof shields, 6 reusable pads, a bucket, soap, and a drawstring bag.

When Persecution Project approached me about partnering together to serve women in the two Sudans, I was excited to support their work.

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And when I saw Brad’s picture of a girl holding up the piece of bark and string (her previous monthly solution for menses), and then the joy on her face as she now held a soft EVA Dignity Kit, it made all the prayer, sweat, and tears worth it. And I learned through the experience just how much God loves His daughters and provides for our every need.

PPF’s Dignity Dive is one of the most important projects I’ve ever had the joy to support, and I invite you to join us in this wonderful movement.

Please visit www.DignityDrive.com today to learn more about how you can help clothe more of our sisters in dignity.

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"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Prov. 31:25

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.”

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  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!