Relief & Shelter

PPF in the Nuba: Six Years of Service

The conflict in Sudan’s Nuba mountains has surpassed its sixth year, with unfortunately no clear end in sight. During this time, the Islamist government in Khartoum has tried to terrorize and starve the Nuba out of their homeland. The Nuba is home to the largest Christian community in Sudan outside the capital city.

Most humanitarian organizations left the region very early into the conflict.

But that’s when PPF showed up.

On July 4th, 2011, our assessment team arrived in the Nuba on one of the last relief flights into Southern Kordofan State.

Brad-speaking-at-the-Emergency-Hearing-600x399.jpg

In August, 2011, we testified before an emergency hearing on Capitol Hill to warn Congress of the danger of a “repeat of Darfur” taking place.

Our team then set about the process of reaching out in active compassion to the Nuba community left behind, and those seeking refuge in neighboring South Sudan.

The generosity of ministry partners helped us start several outreaches, including deliveries of important relief and shelter supplies and medicines. Our Discipleship and Evangelism program has sponsored Pastoral Conferences, as well as the distribution of tens of thousands of Bibles, audio Bibles, and other discipleship materials to the growing Nuba church. And our Safe Water Program began repairing broken well pumps spread throughout the Nuba region, providing clean water for hundreds of thousands of residents.

Picture1-600x400.jpg
Picture-2.jpg

Although the war has dragged on, creating famine conditions, the situation in the Nuba is much better than it would be had PPF not intervened. The head of the Nuba Medical Consortium, Tutu Turkash, stated that he didn't want to think about what it would be like if PPF was not working in the Nuba. “Having them with us here, where few others will come, it’s a game changer,” said Turkash.

The Church Militant

A-family-listens-to-an-audio-Bible-377x600.jpg

The Nuba church is growing amidst the conflict. With this growth, we can expect an increase in persecution from the Islamist government (II Timothy 3:12).

It is a very unfortunate reality that US government policy towards Sudan has changed since the days when economic sanctions were first enacted and strengthened by Presidents Clinton and Bush, respectively.

Regardless of whether one believes sanctions are an effective way to change policy in Sudan, the truth is that President Obama put the US on a definite track to “normalize” relations with one of the most brutal terrorist regimes in the world. And, as of this writing, President Trump’s administration seems to believe the Obama track is the right course to take.

Picture-3-420x600.jpg

But the Nuba church knows that no matter which way the winds of politics shift, its mission will not change— for the church serves a Government that NEVER changes. This Government has a compassionate King, Whose reign will go on, and vanquish all competing parties with mercy, justice and love.

The church in America serves the same King, and with the continued support of its members towards our brothers and sisters in the Nuba, PPF will continue its mission of “active compassion” for the persecuted.

A "Working Faith" in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan

By Tim Rice

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:14-17 (NIV)

In April last year, Pastor Emmanuel Offendi from the war-torn Nuba Mountains of Sudan saw an all-too-familiar, pitiful sight: a ragtag group of people with only threadbare clothes fleeing another bomb attack. The group of 15 adults and children were not a family, but a group displaced from their homes and their land, and walking towards the pastor.

The group had come from Karkaria, an agriculturally rich area that government forces attacked and warplanes bombed, driving civilians from their livelihoods, Offendi remarked. “They had lost their loved ones, lost properties – even families,” he said. “They come war-weary, seeking help from the community and the church.”

The citizens of the Nuba Mountains are accustomed to war. For the last six years, the government has targeted civilians as potential supporters to the rebels. In fact, government warplanes have dropped well over 4,000 bombs on civilian targets since 2012. It is in this context that pastors across the region try to uphold hope and support.

“We as pastors are generally good at talking to our community –but sometimes you feel lost for words –how can I encourage and support our people when looking at so many hopeless faces?” Ofendi asks. The pastor felt this way when he saw the group of displaced from Karkaria coming towards him.

Fortunately Ofendi no longer feels quite so helpless when attempting to console others, largely due to the faith-based Persecution Project Foundation’s (PPF) unique relief distribution system. Besides providing the bulk of life-saving medicine to the Nuba people, PPF is also the main provider of non-food item support to the war-affected civilians. Items such as soap, pots, clothes, mosquito nets, sheets –all are crucial for displaced families that have lost literally everything.

 

But how do you deliver such vital supplies in one of the remotest places in Sudan, during a war? The government effectively blocks most humanitarian aid coming into the country. The rainy season, from mid June to October, muddies roads and makes access routes impassable. Not least, many of the most needy are displaced and live in remote locations –seeking shelter from the war by staying in caves within the mountains.

Fortunately for PPF, pastors are available to help—and do. As God-fearing individuals trusted by the local community, pastors are uniquely qualified to assist. “When we bring items, we ensure it goes to people who are really in need. We check with local authorities and through our own networks to ensure that,” Offendi explains. Working hand-in-hand with local community leaders, PPF Field Coordinator Kuti Rajab says they have managed to distribute kits smoothly, without issue.

“The Church does not have much to give, so PPF fills a crucial gap,” said Pastor Ismael Suleiman, who has personally helped deliver over 2,000 non-food item kits to those in need in a town called Kurchi within the Nuba Mountains. “As a general rule I try to give to those most disadvantaged first --such as widows, orphans, the elderly and the disabled, before reaching out to others in need.”

Sometimes it becomes very easy to prioritize recipients based on their predicament, Offendi said, such as the case of a widow whose home was burnt down …twice. “It was terrible, [government] soldiers raided her home and razed her village to the ground, she fled to the mountains with small children and meager supplies.” Neighbors came to the rescue and helped her build a makeshift home within the rock crevices, Offendi said. “But then one of her children burnt this structure down by accident while trying to light a fire, the woman just could not believe her predicament.”

Hearing the story from neighbors, Offendi managed to get some materials to her so that she could rebuild her life again. “It was incredible, it was the first sign of hope she experienced in a very long time.” The pastor’s efforts also convinced her to become one of the most devoted at Offendi’s church, attending services regularly. “This support creates a very big difference in people’s lives –even if these items may appear basic to some, they are life-changing for others,” Suleiman said. Another gift that arises from these distributions, Suleiman added, is faith. “Some people, just from receiving these items, started to develop a stronger belief in God.”

By using local community members such as pastors, PPF’s support also builds relationships within Nuba communities –even with those from different faiths. According to another pastor, Yusuf Alferic, the pastors make it a rule not to discriminate by faith when distributing. Alferic provides support to Muslim families as readily as he does Christians. “It’s not just about giving aid –it’s about building relationships and trust within communities,” Alferic explains. “And any soldier will tell you, building trust is key when living in wartime.”

Many of the pastors helping PPF distribute aid take it one notch further and provide support directly to their aggressors who very well may have attacked them in the past. Several pastors in Um Dorein County, Nuba Mountains, deliver aid directly to prisoners of war (POWs) in the rebel-controlled areas, Offendi said. Assuming they will remain isolated and abandoned, Offendi added, POWs were surprised to see them. “We talk to them freely, share the gospel, they were very surprised and started to see that our God was really God.” It was not always easy, Pastor Morris Kartina explains as many opposed the pastors providing the POWs support. “People called us crazy –even my own kids could not understand it,” he said, “but in church we learn to love your enemy and to pray for them.”

While many in the Nuba Mountains have grown to appreciate the pastors and PPF ’s support –even former enemy combatants, there is still one major setback: demand. “It can be hard sometimes, you can’t please everyone,” concedes Alferic. “Sometimes we simply run out of items and some grow jealous and start to blame us.” PPF managed to deliver over 10,000 kits in 2016 and have plans to disseminate more this year, Rajab said. But he admits the need is always greater. “It’s hard, sometimes you deliver kits to many needy people but then more people turn up who need our help just as much as those you have distributed to.”

According to recent UN estimates, roughly a quarter of the population in the central rebel-controlled counties in the Nuba Mountains are displaced from the war –that’s around 120,000 people currently homeless.

Fortunately, the sense of community and sharing still thrives in Nuba, to the point where everyone relies on one another. “Even if the kits are not enough –our people somehow manage to share what little they have,” explains Alferic, The pastor went on to explain how he has seen those who have received relief packets share some of the items with their neighbours, despite the fact all of the items were sorely needed by the original recipients.

But there is another group of people desperately in need that are not necessarily recipients of these kits: the pastors themselves. “Often the church has no money and we must rely on contributions from our congregation,” Offendi explains, “but how do you ask for support from those who have nothing?” PPF realized that if they wanted the pastors help distributing kits and to continue preaching the gospel –they needed to help these church leaders in return.

This led to the organization’s providing cattle and other livestock to the pastors to help them stay afloat. Now pastors are able to feed their families and dedicate more time to reach out to their community. “This support has helped in so many ways –even time,” said Pastor Suleiman. “Now, I find I have more time to preach and reach out to others, before farming and scrapping together whatever small amounts of support I could provide my family would take up almost all of my time.” Suleiman has received two goats and one cow from the PPF project and now the cow has given birth to a calf, he said proudly. “God is always working, I’m sure of that.”

Beating Back a Weapon of Genocide: Faith-Based NGO Running Medicine to Sudan War Zones

By Tim Rice By mid-March, an aid convoy managed to reach an extremely remote, war-torn area of the Nuba Mountains in Sudan: Kau-Nyaro and Werni counties. Effectively cut off from the outside world due to conflict, the UN estimates around 45,000 people living in these counties are considered the most affected by the six-year conflict in the Nuba Mountains.

Pastor-Tito-1-575x600.jpg

The South Kordofan-Blue Nile Coordination Unit, an organization that monitors food security and displacement in the two areas, reported last February that 242 people – including 24 children —had died of hunger-related illness in the two counties. Now, for the first time, vital medicine provided by Persecution Project Foundation (PPF) reached one of the most isolated areas in Sudan, if not the world.

“We’ve been trying for years to penetrate every community in the Nuba with our medical outreaches,” said PPF President, Brad Phillips. “We thank God we managed to bring some hope and encouragement to another dark corner of this conflict.”

But no area of the restive Nuba Mountains is easily reachable, and the Sudan government wants to keep it this way. The central Khartoum government effectively blocks any aid from reaching the rebel-controlled areas of the Nuba. The government’s blockage follows their military strategy -- a war of attrition against the Nuba people -- since the conflict began in 2011.

More-medicine-and-borehole-spare-parts-being-flown-in-600x450.jpg

“In the wars of Sudan, food and medicine have been more effective weapons of genocide for Khartoum than bombs and bullets,” said Phillips.

Despite these challenges, PPF managed to deliver 44.5 tons of medicine and medical supplies to the Nuba Mountains in 2016, making it the single largest supplier to the region, according to PPF Field Coordinator Kuti Rajab.

Assisting 175 localities in the Nuba Mountains, a large amount supports Mother of Mercy Hospital, and two other smaller hospitals where PPF also covers staff salaries, says Phillips. “One of the first people we met in the Nuba in 2011 was Dr. Tom Catena at Mother of Mercy Hospital. We knew then we wanted to do whatever we could to help him in the area of medical needs.”

Gigeba-Hospital-under-construction-2-600x400.jpg

While the support is great, the need is still greater, Phillips concedes. There still remains a 25% gap in available medicine for the region, and health facilities are few and far between. The UN estimates there are 70 active health facilities functioning in the rebel-controlled areas of the Nuba Mountains – that means one facility per 12,600 people. There are four hospitals serving roughly 1.5 million – and one of these hospitals, Gigeba Hospital, is still being built.

Dr.-Ahmed-1-534x600.jpg

PPF is providing the bulk of the medicine and much of the construction materials for the upcoming facility. The hospital is designed by a local Nuba doctor, Dr. Ahmed Zakaria, who, incredibly, managed to pick up a degree in architecture while completing his studies in medicine. Already, many patients are being treated there despite the fact the floor is only partially complete, and most window-panes are missing, Dr. Zakaria said back in December, 2016.

“It’s really helping people in Western Jebel,” says Tutu Turkash, Secretary of Health for the rebel-controlled areas, speaking about the new hospital. “Now it is able to provide services for the people there and reduces the number walking two to three days to reach Gidel [Mother of Mercy Hospital] – our main facility.” Out of 52 clinics in the area, Turkash added, Gigeba is the only hospital.

A-young-boy-recently-received-medical-attention-for-a-head-wound-at-Gigeba-Hospital-544x600.jpg

The secretary of health believes thousands of lives are saved each year through PPF’s support, especially children and mothers. Child mortality rates, particularly during the rainy season when malaria thrives, used to be very high prior to the organization's involvement. “It was not uncommon for clinics to report 40 – 50 cases per month, sometimes reaching hundreds,” Turkash said. “When you compare these rates to now with better equipped health facilities, clinics report two to five mortality cases. It’s a huge impact, beyond words.”

Hussein Adam, a long-time farmer and former soldier during the previous war in the Nuba Mountains has experienced the change in medical access firsthand. “Before, finding any medicine was difficult,” Adam recalls. “Most of the time you had to rely on traditional remedies that sometimes worked but sometimes failed.” Adam’s brother died of a leg wound that he feels could have been treated if only basic medical care was available. “If he was here now, we could have saved him.”

Persistence-and-sweat-equity-pay-off-when-delivering-medicines-during-the-rainy-season.-600x450.jpg

But getting this medicine to the Nuba Mountains is no easy task. Kuti Rajab recalls a time in 2014 when it took the PPF team two weeks drudging through mud to get two trucks of supplies delivered. A medical consignment was delayed forcing PPF to deliver supplies during the onset of the rainy season where roads become intractable and the rebel-controlled areas of Nuba are effectively cut off from the outside world. “We really struggled, but in the end succeeded to get the shipment up there, pushing the trucks through mud for days on end,” Rajab remembers.

This-bomb-was-intended-to-destroy-the-medical-facility-in-the-background.-400x600.jpg

But in many ways, mud is the least of their worries. The Antonov, a lumbering but deadly warplane used by the Sudanese government, is a common bane for the Nuba people. Since 2012, the Sudan government has dropped over 4,000 bombs against civilian targets in the Nuba Mountains. One of these planes hovered above PPF’s medical-supply convoy. “When we see them flying above we stop all movement since, if you move, they will spot you,” Rajab explained. “Since we were on the road there was nowhere to hide, we just had to stop while the plane flew overhead and pray they don’t bomb us.” Fortunately for Rajab, their prayers were answered on that journey.

Motorbikes-and-Quad-bikes-are-often-used-in-our-medical-outreaches.-600x450.jpg

Once in Nuba, local partners often have to find secure and creative ways to deliver the medicine. To reach Western Jebel, a restive area in the Nuba Mountains, a convoy of 20 motorbikes was used to deliver medical supplies, Phillips said. The roads were so poor, only motorbikes could make the journey – a journey that was done partially at night to avoid detection by enemy combatants.

And once medical supplies reach health facilities, there is still a chance of an attack. Since 2012, Sudan warplanes have targeted hospitals at least five times, according to Nuba Reports, a media house that documents the conflict.

According to Turkash, Sudan forces have attacked 24 clinics in three counties of the rebel-controlled Nuba Mountains since the war began in 2011.

Malaria-is-one-1-600x565.jpg

One of the most crucial medicines PPF provides local health facilities in the Nuba Mountains is anti-malarial drugs. “This is the one that always runs out,” Rajab said, “especially during the rainy season.” Turkash agrees. “It is the biggest challenge we have, especially considering the fact that roads are impassable during the rainy season so even distributing malarial drugs becomes a challenge, sometimes vehicles simply cannot reach certain locations.”

Relatively new challenges for the Secretary of Health in the Nuba Mountains are hunger-related illnesses. Harvest rates for the Nuba Mountains were less than half their average production, according to the Secretary of Agriculture in the rebel-controlled areas, Hafsa Idriss. This, coupled with displacement from the conflict, has led to skyrocketing prices for staple commodities, reaching ten times their normal market prices.

This-community-on-the-farthest-edge-of-the-Nuba-mountains-recently-received-a-distribution-of-BP-5-emergency-food.-600x511.jpg

“Although maybe not noticeable at first, many people in Nuba are suffering growth retardation from malnourishment,” said the Director-General of Health Joseph Konda. “This can only get worse in the current situation we are facing.” To address this problem, PPF added another commodity to its support: the high-nutrient BP-5 biscuit.

“BP-5 is expensive, but a great resource for getting high-nutrient food to the severely wasted or malnourished in our hospitals or clinics,” said Phillips. “We don't currently have the capacity to feed everyone, so we are focusing on the greatest needs — mostly children and IDPs [Internally Displaced Persons].

A-severely-malnourished-child-receives-a-BP-5-biscuit.-600x450.jpg

Besides delivering medicine to a remote war zone, providing materials and upkeep to hospitals, among other projects, PPF hopes to provide even more holistic medical support to the Nuba people: care for the caregivers.

IMG_4190-600x400.jpg

Everyone in the Nuba Mountains has witnessed and contended with death due to the war, especially those in the medical field. “We see nurses and doctors saving lives every day,” Phillips said, “but they are also seeing death every day.” For this reason, PPF plans to provide trauma counseling for medical staff. “It vexes your soul, it makes you angry and then sad – you can’t help but be affected,” said Philips, reflecting on some of the tragedies he has personally seen while working in the field. But the stress will not slow the organization down as it plans to expand its health programs across the region.

“To be honest, I cannot even imagine how we coped before PPF came,” Turkash said. “Having them with us here, where few others will come, it’s a game changer.”

Identifying a Vital American Security Interest: The Persecuted Church

by Brad Phillips

On February 25, 2017, just one day before missionary Petr Jasek was released from prison in Sudan, I delivered a brief address to a room of American public policy people. Some were activists. Others were elected officials. Many were the donors supporting both.

This was an audience I don’t normally address. Persecution Project Foundation is not a public policy organization. We’re a ministry to the persecuted church. Politics may affect what we do, but our focus is mainly to love and serve our persecuted brothers in the areas of physical and spiritual needs.

But on February 25th, what I believe I told that room full of policy-motivated people is very much in keeping with PPF’s mission of “active compassion for the persecuted.”

The summation of my remarks was this: the indigenous persecuted church in places like Sudan, constitutes a vital national security interest for America.

Traditionally, America’s international interests consist of important trade and defense partnerships. But Sudan doesn’t fall under any of these categories. Sudan has some oil, but America has no stake in it. Sudan has valuable minerals, but America has not stake in them either. And Sudan’s military is, at best, a force of destabilization in the region, not a strong partner in the “War on Terror.”

Contrast this with the Sudan church.

What we have seen in, for example, the war-torn Nuba mountains of Sudan, is that the indigenous church forms a bulwark against the forces of Islamic extremism, which desires to wipe out the Nuba community (both Christian and Muslim).

While the Sudan National Intelligence and Security Service terrorizes the country’s population by leading the infamous Janjaweed (“Devils on Horseback”) militias in places like Darfur, Southern Kordofan, and the Blue Nile, the Sudan church is confronting these forces of extremism everyday— but not with bombs and bullets.

The weapon of the persecuted church is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is the ministry of mercy the persecuted church engages in which changes hearts and minds, and rolls back the advance of extremism.

For example, at one pastor’s conference in the Nuba mountains last December, one day of community evangelism resulted in the conversion of 70 Muslim families. For those families still part of the Muslim community, their relations with the local church are stronger than ever. In fact, the local church reaches out through compassion and service to bridge together differing faith communities.

This bridge breaks down traditional fears and prejudices. It’s hard to hate someone who shares their meager food stores with you in a time of famine. It’s hard to fear someone who gives you medication to save your child from malaria.

One Muslim convert from the December conference came to the church and proclaimed, “Everything I’ve ever been told about Christians is a lie.”

It is for this reason, and many others, that the US Government needs to view the indigenous church as a strong partner in the War against Radical Islam in countries which have traditionally acted as factories for extremism. The Church in Sudan is a vital American security interest.

It is my prayer that the US government will see the imprisonment of Pastor Hassan Abdelrahim Tawor and Abdulmonem Abdumawla (who as of this writing are still behind bars in Khartoum) as worthy of diplomatic intervention.

But regardless of what public policy makers do, you and I can intervene right now through prayer and solidarity with our persecuted brothers.

Petr Jasek said over and over again throughout his own 445 day imprisonment, “God holds the keys to my cell.” Let us pray for His will to be done and for Him to release all the captives, not only spiritually, but physically as well.

More Dignity for Women!

At a recent PPF-sponsored Pastors' Conference in the Nuba mountains of Sudan, a special ministry to women took place. A new shipment of "Dignity Kits" was distributed to ladies and girls by the women of the church. Each personal hygiene kit is a safe, comfortable solution for women, providing them with a level of freedom and dignity they've never enjoyed. The smiles and giggles of the recipients were infectious, as they were shown a very tangible example of how our God provides for all our needs -- even the "unmentionables." Thanks to all our ministry partners for making this special outreach to women possible.

All are precious in His sight...

"He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with nobles, and inherit a seat of honor..." (1Samuel 2:8)

Abdelaziz has cerebral palsy, which is challenging enough in a first world country. But can you imagine living with this disability your whole life in the rural, undeveloped, war-torn Nuba mountains of Sudan?

This past summer, Abdelaziz crawled over to greet the PPF team. He said he was a farmer, who spends most of his time during the rainy season planting seeds for people's gardens.

Abdelaziz heard that we had given several polio victims hand-powered tricycles, and he begged us to give one to him.

We didn't have one with us at the time, but we promised to help him as soon as we could. That promise was finally fulfilled before Christmas, 2016, and you've never seen a man so grateful!

Abdelaziz's life has been forever changed by God working through your generosity in supporting PPF. Thank you for caring!

Please make sure to "friend" us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/PersecutionProjectFoundation) to get the latest news of how your compassion is being put to work for our persecuted brothers and sisters!

United We Stand

"How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity!" (Psalm 133:1)

Exhorting Pastors

The year 2016 was another record-breaker for PPF ministry outreaches.

We met or exceeded all our goals in every program category. God was very busy working through your generosity to bless His persecuted!

But the persecuted church in Sudan is not a passive recipient of help from PPF and the church in America. We too often see the persecuted church as a helpless victim instead of a part of the overall Body— which still functions despite its trials and tribulations.

Preaching the Word of God

We were reminded of the resilience of this part of the Body in 2016 through one of the most effective projects we ever supported:  sponsorship of Pastor and Evangelist Conferences in the war-torn Nuba mountains.

In 2016, we sponsored several conferences, bringing together pastors and evangelists from the “Big Five” church denominations in the Nuba: Church of Christ, Evangelical Presbyterian, Episcopal, Catholic and Orthodox.

Singing praises

The conferences were a time of fellowship, encouragement, breaking bread together, team-building, planning local outreaches, and growing partnerships.

At the last conference of the year in December, 1,800 participants attended. It was the largest gathering of the Nuba church anyone could remember. One of the activities at the conference was community evangelism, where the pastors and evangelists broke up into teams and witnessed to the local community.

The first day, they recorded more than 300 conversions. During the week of the conference, 70 Muslim families came to Christ.

Audio Bible Distributions

One Muslim convert stated: “I have never received this kind of love and compassion before.” Another convert was so moved by the actions of participants, he donated 1,000 Sudanese pounds to the Church (an enormous sum for people living in the Nuba).

The Pastor and Evangelist Conferences are the perfect location for Bible and Audio Bible distributions, because church leaders can then take the consignment back to their respective villages and language groups.

Providing Tarps to IDPs

Additionally, most of PPF’s emergency aid, whether it be in the form of tarps for shelter, emergency food, blankets, or refugee kits, are distributed by the local church and used as a platform for evangelism with the Nuba people.

PPF aid is distributed without discrimination. Even enemy POWs receive gifts from the local church, led by the efforts and example of Pastor Morris Cartina.

Pastor Morris with Brigadier General Refaut Abdallah Ahmad

One famous POW is Brigadier General Refaut Abdallah Ahmad, who was captured in 2013 and has been featured on the Al Jazeera network.

In 2016, Pastor Morris took the PPF team to visit General Ahmad, and during the interview, the General pointed to Morris and declared, “That is not a normal man! Every three months he visits me, bringing items to help me and my men. Shoes, clothes, sugar, salt, blankets, etc. He is NOT a normal man.”

May this be said of all of us.

When the enemy is on our doorstep, it often changes our perspective.

Delivering medicine

This is especially true of the Church. During peacetime, we have the luxury to argue and fight with each other about various points of doctrine. Some of the arguments are petty. Some are important. But rarely is one of the “important” issues of doctrinal divide the subject of Church unity. We treat unity as a luxury, not as essential to our survival.

In the Nuba mountains, unity of the Body is absolutely essential. It’s as important as other core doctrines of the Faith, because it affects everyday life. (John 13:35)

The statement “United we stand,” is not grounded on mutual need, as much as it is based on mutually shared benefits— those of being loved by a God who sent us His only begotten Son, for instance. The last recorded prayer of Jesus included the following statement:

Feeding severely malnourished children

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are one— I in them and You in Me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.” (John 17:20-23)

Women receiving Dignity Kits

Unity communicates a message to people. It certainly communicated a message to the 70 Muslim families recently converted in the Nuba. Were those families convinced of the Gospel message by examining the peculiar doctrinal positions of the presenter? No. They were convinced by the unity and testimony of the Nuba church. And “unity” is not the absence of conflict or disagreement. Unity is the determination to love and serve each other despite obstacles.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8)

Thank you for standing united with us, as we stand united with our persecuted brothers and sisters in Sudan!

Meet Two of the People Your Compassion Has Blessed

arthritic-manThe old man in the picture to the right is from an area of the Nuba mountains which was the scene of intense fighting this year. More than once, the village where he lived was evacuated, as residents fled the Islamist ground forces of indicted war criminal, Omar al Bashir. As you can see from his swollen hands and knees, this man has suffered from severe arthritis. A local missionary took the photo of him holding medicine from a PPF shipment which had just arrived, providing him with relief from pain for the first time in years.

rashid-polio-victim-wheelchair-bicycleThe second photo is of Rashid, a polio victim who was a recipient of one of PPF's hand-powered tricycles. Rashid, like most polio victims, had to crawl around in dirt and filth for most of his life.

Now, he is raised up - and very mobile.

Your compassion towards these men is considered a crime by the Islamists in Khartoum. Yet, you keep giving, and God keeps working to change hearts and lives. Thank you for your witness of love to the persecuted.

"But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth." Ex. 9:16