Medical Services

Relief for the Church in Karkarai

The trench used by the Islamists to hold Karkaria-1 Last month, we told the story of the battle for Karkarai, a town in the Nuba mountains which is home to a large Christian community. Although the Sudan Armed Forces were driven from the town, thousands of homes were destroyed, and 4,950 families were displaced.

Local Nuba church distributing relief kits

We recently distributed 7,000 relief kits to bless the internal refugees from the fighting around Karkarai, who must now rebuild their lives at the onset of the rainy season.Crisis relief for Karkarai

 

Your generosity made this outreach possible. Although this distribution was just the first of many we have planned in the coming weeks and months, we thank you for standing with us in service to our brethren in the Nuba!

Our New "Normal"

On the evening of July 14th, the world learned of the terror attack in Nice, France, by an Islamic extremist. This tragic event killed 84 people and injured scores of others. In the wake of this terrible event, and so many others in recent memory, the conversation quickly turned to how people need to prepare for such events in the future. “Is Nice the new ‘normal’ for the West?

In the U.S., instructional videos have even been produced to educate staff on what to do during an office shooting.

Homes and land destroyed

With violence and terror becoming a part of the landscape of much of Europe and America, we are getting a taste of what it’s been like for our brethren in the Nuba mountains of Sudan, who have endured a systematic campaign of violence and terror for more than five years.

Refugees from Heiban

Attacks are so common, all the Nuba have trained ears. When an Antonov bomber flies over, and we run for cover to a bomb shelter, we'll often look around and see the Nuba going about their daily business. This is because locals know when a plane is flying towards them, when it’s getting ready to bomb, and roughly how long they have to make it to shelter before the bomb hits.

Foxholes - A constant reminder of the ongoing terror campaign

What a terrible way to have to raise children! Foxholes are everywhere. Our team once saw a two-year-old instinctively run for a hole when he heard a plane in the distance. This is normal for the Nuba.

So, what do we do? We can personally refuse to live a life of fear and refuse to allow terrorists to influence our daily routine. But it’s not enough to be stubborn. Romans 12:21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” We must be proactive in doing good if we are to combat the forces of evil.

This is exactly how the Nuba church is responding to their daily “normal.” The church has reached out, not only to their own communities, but to the communities of Muslim neighbors, who share equally in the suffering. Even the POWs of the enemy receive material aid and medical attention from the church.

Offering of food donated by Nuba church

The Nuba church has chosen to unite in doing good works to confront the evil that seeks to destroy their homes. Sure, they also defend their homes with lethal force when attacked. Christian families send their sons to battle just like Nuba Muslims and animists. But the Church knows that the biggest battle is in their own hearts. The battle against despair, sinful anger, and bitterness. How is this battle fought and won?

By doing good.

In the West, our "new normal” is the “old normal” for the Church in Sudan. But our response should be the same: overcome evil with good. On the day we read about the attack in Nice, we also read a report from our staff in the Nuba, celebrating the distribution of 7,000 crisis relief kits for internally-displaced families.

Reply formWhile talking heads wring their hands about how to deal with Islamic extremists, we’re repairing broken well pumps to give communities of Christians and Muslims access to safe, clean water. We’re providing medicine to 180 regional Nuba health clinics, where everyone, regardless of their background, receives the help they need to fight malaria, typhoid, and even the common cold. And the local church is leading the way. It's preaching the Gospel primarily by living the Gospel.

And thousands of Bibles and gospel pamphlets are being distributed to provide spiritual hope in addition to physical relief.

It’s not enough to curse the darkness. We must shine the light. Thank you for your role in keeping the lamp burning bright!

Save the Nuba -1

Dignity Kit Update

Grateful recipient of dignity kit-2 The PPF team recently distributed several hundred more personal hygiene "dignity kits" to a high school in the war-torn Nuba mountains of Sudan. The young women recipients were all smiles and giggles as they received a kit that will provide them with years of comfort, protection, and dignity.

Thank you for your continued support of this important ministry to women!

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A Bittersweet Victory

This used to be the school in Karkaria In the distance, we could hear the pounding of artillery and the short, three-round bursts from AK-47s. We asked some passing soldiers what was going on, and they said a great battle was taking place in Karkarai, a large community in Sudan’s Nuba mountains. Through the help of a guide, we skirted around the fighting and continued our mission. The battle lasted for a few days, and in the end, the Islamists were defeated and retreated back to their base in Kadugli.

This was once someone's home-1

But the victory was bittersweet. We waited several weeks before visiting Karkarai out of concern for landmines and other unexploded ordnance still littering the area. When we were given the “green light,” what we saw shocked us. Virtually the entire village was destroyed.

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia gave $5 Billion to the Islamist government of Sudan — the same government which has committed countless acts of ISIS-style terror against its own citizens.

Shell casings littered the lanscape-1

The trench used by the Islamists to hold Karkaria-1

In Karkarai, we saw evidence of what the Sudan government spent much of that money on. The ground was littered with tens of thousands of shell casings. A huge empty trench flanked the main road through Karkarai. This was where the Sudan government troops made their last stand before retreating. All around, there was destruction.

The school was bulldozed, the church was shot up, and roofless houses stretched as far as the eye could see.

The sun shines through bullet holes in the roof of this church building in Karkaria-1

A huge blooming Baobab tree stands as a simbol of hope that the roofless houses all around will one day be rebuilt-1

We were told 4,950 families were made homeless by this one battle. Now, at the start of the rainy season, these people are coming home to rebuild among the charred remains of their community.

Tons of PPF medicine ready for distribution in the Nuba

With your generous support, PPF is helping these internally displaced refugees with material relief and spiritual hope.

A monument in Karkarai reads - "I was glad when they said to me, 'let us go into the house of the Lord.'"

 

Tons of medical aid is currently being distributed throughout the Nuba, in preparation for the seasonal increase of disease during the rainy season. Thousands of refugee kits, containing blankets, cooking pots, soap, and other items, are also being distributed.

Much of our relief work is spear-headed by the local Nuba church. PPF has delivered thousands of Bibles and discipleship materials to equip hundreds of local pastors for the important work of encouraging and strengthening communities affected by the conflict.

Thank you for continuing to bear witness to the faith in your lives, as you use your community to serve the community of the persecuted in Sudan.

Your giving makes a difference-1

Please continue to stand with us in service to our brothers and sisters.

Mission Accomplished!

A couple of months ago, we issued an urgent appeal for funds to purchase an important device needed in the war-torn Nuba mountains of Sudan. Dr. Tom Catena at Mother of Mercy Hospital, the only referral hospital in the Nuba mountains, had worked for eight years without the benefit of a skin graft meshing machine. A skin graft mesher is a little device that takes a skin sample from a burn patient and stretches it to as much as three times its original size, allowing for large burn areas to be covered with a small sample.

Within days, enough money was raised for the mesher, and plans were made to get it up to Dr. Tom.

The road wasn't easy. As we made our way to Dr. Tom’s Hospital, Antonov bombers circled over our heads, and we could hear small arms and artillery fire from several points of conflict.

But our timing was very providential, because all the fighting caused a flood of new patients suffering with terrible burns from incendiary ordnance used by the Government of Sudan.

When we delivered the mesher to Dr. Tom, he was overjoyed and took us around the patient wards to see all the burn patients who will now have a better chance of survival because of this little device.

Dr. Tom explains how a skin graph mesher works

When we returned from the Nuba, we learned that enough money had been raised to purchase a second mesher, which will be donated to a new hospital being built in the Nuba. This is your Active Compassion at work. Your prompt and generous response, combined with God clearing the way for us, delivered a life-saving device when the people of the Nuba needed it most. Thank you!

"Why Are You Here?"

Visiting the injured In God’s mysterious providence, a recent PPF outreach to the Nuba mountains of Sudan coincided with the biggest ground offensive by the Islamist government in about five years. The Nuba was attacked at six different points.

The road was not easy-1

But rather than turn around, our team pressed on, often having to take rough trails to bypass the fighting. We had no choice— there was a lot of work to do.

Our team successfully delivered the first skin graft mesher machine to Dr. Tom Catena of the Mother of Mercy Hospital. It was God’s timing, because Dr. Tom is receiving new burn patients every day due to all the fighting.

Brad Phillips (right) with Dr. Tom Catena

We successfully delivered a quad bike to Dr. Omar*, a physician trained by Dr. Tom to work in more remote areas of the Nuba where people can't always make it to the main hospital.

Dr. Omar gets a quadbike

We met with key church leaders to plan new Scripture translation projects for several local languages. This was a huge encouragement to the local church.

Our team also conducted a Dignity Kit distribution, which was unfortunately interrupted by an Antonov bombing very close to our position. Thankfully, no one was hurt. But it reminded us of what a “normal” life has become for the Nuba people.

Climbing out of a foxhole following a bombing

Yet, all these accomplishments were not what encouraged our Nuba brothers the most. It was our very presence during a difficult time which really lifted their spirits. People kept asking us everywhere we went, “Why are you here? Everyone else is leaving, but you show up.”

But think about it. Isn't that how God works in all of our lives? Anytime we face a major hardship, challenge, loss, or setback, God sends us something, or someone to encourage us and help us through. Sometimes it’s a “chance” meeting of an old friend. Sometimes, it’s a “random” call from someone saying they’re praying for us. Often, it’s that casual visit of a neighbor that gives us the push we need to make it through.

Sharing together

Proverbs 25:11 says, “Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.”

Timing can be everything, and the Lord of all time knows what His people need when they need it most.

Of course, our joy is being that “word spoken in right circumstances” to our Nuba brethren.  We get to be that source of encouragement to remind them that their God—and their spiritual family—hasn’t forgotten their suffering.

matt makes a new friend in the nuba

We feel the same way about you, our ministry partners. Every time we face a challenge, you are there to walk beside us and fill our hands in active compassion towards the persecuted. On behalf of those who can’t tell you themselves, thank you! Thank you for caring. Thank you for giving. Thank you for being there at just the right time!

*Name changed for security.

Praying together

The Winning Side

By Brad Phillips

PPF correspondenceRecently, I received a card from a couple who have been long-time ministry partners of PPF. Their kind note was filled with encouragement and prayers for the safety and success of our team. But what encouraged me most was how their card ended: "It's good to know we're on the winning side."

"The winning side." That sounds good, doesn't it? But the best part is it's true. No matter how much darkness we confront, the tiniest bit of light drives it away. The weakest member in our army is stronger than the greatest champion of our enemy.

How do I know this? I simply look around me. First, I see in the Bible the example of Christ Himself, Who began His life as a poor kid from a backwater province in the Roman Empire. His career was brief, His persecution and death humiliating. But His victory was TOTAL.

A shrapnel-pierced pulpit

I observe this uncanny victory all around me, especially in the people and places I get to visit and serve. I see victory at a church service in the Nuba mountains, where the preacher delivers his sermon from a shrapnel-riddled pulpit. I hear victory in the hymns heralding from rocks, as a congregation meets for worship behind the protected cover of a mountain adjacent the charred remains of their church building.

Carrier Photo

Dr. Tom Catena at Mother of Mercy Hospital

I watch victory happen when I see missionary doctors like Tom Catena make the rounds visiting hundreds of patients a day, year-after-year, with no rest.

Repaired Borehole

I taste victory when I drink safe water from a formerly broken well pump a PPF team just repaired. I give victory when I hand a gospel tract to a young mother, and then treat her sick child with malaria medication we've also brought with us.

I share victory with tribal leaders who hear the Gospel for the first time in their native language.

And, of course, I read encouraging words of victory from ministry partners like you, who send notes, cards, emails, and phone calls exhorting us to "stay strong," "keep going," and "don't give up."

YoungMotheCut

"We're with you." And you are.

From humble beginnings in 1997, to the present day, you've partnered with us in active compassion. Some of you have given sacrificially and consistently. Some of you have prayed for us everyday. Others have cheered us from afar, while still others have joined us in the field.

All of us victorious. All of us winners. And all because of Christ, Who loved us and gave Himself for us. This is a good work. Let's continue to walk victorious together.

A Good Kind of Tired...

By Matt Chancey I've recently started CrossFit Training. And let me tell you, there are few better ways to feel your age! Ouch! The first few days, I was waddling like a duck everywhere. I was so sore! But I keep going back. Why? Because at the end of each session, I feel great. I look back at all the repetitions of the various exercises I've completed and feel a sense of satisfaction. I'm tired and sore, but I'm happy.

That's how we're feeling now at PPF. 2015 has been crazy busy. Crazy!! It's hard to begin to recap all that has happened. We have worked ourselves to near exhaustion in the field. But just like a CrossFit session, we're looking back and feeling a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

PPF Ministry Team in Eastern Equatoria State, South Sudan

Our biggest feeling is one of gratitude. We're grateful to God for commissioning us to do this work, and for seeing us through. And we're grateful for you, our ministry partners, who have entrusted us to be ambassadors of your love.

Below are some of our ministry action photos of 2015 to visually tell the story of all that your giving has accomplished in just one year. Our hope is that it encourages you in seeing all that can be accomplished when you decide to roll up your sleeves and engage in Active Compassion for the Persecuted.

From all of us at PPF, we wish you a very Merry Christmas - and we'll see you next year!

Safe Water Projects

SWP fresh water

SWP repair boreholes 2

SWP repair boreholes

village well

Matt at well

Advocacy

Advocacy - speaking in churches

Ed speaking at a men's breakfast.

 

Medical Services

Meds check-up

Meds

Brad with Dr. Tom

 

Discipleship & Evangelism

D&E Story of Jesus distribution

South and North Sudanese pastors learning how Christian media can be advanced through technology

Pastor with Discipleship materials

Preparing to show The Jesus Film

girl with SOJ

Ed with Pastor Yassin at a pastor's conference

 

Relief & Shelter Projects

Action Pack

loading blankets

lohutuk dignity kits

man with ap

mud

Plane

R&S Dignity Kit recipient

women with aps

woman with dress

T & L muddy roads

truck at Rubb Hall

Settling in for the Storm

During the rainy season, roads become impassable. The long rains have begun in Sudan's Nuba mountains. For the next few months, the Nuba people will be cut off from almost all outside help. The few "open roads" into this embattled area are now swamps, prohibiting all but the most robust vehicles from getting through.

This means that regular food, medicine and other shipments brought in during the dry season must hold out until the roads open again-- hopefully in November. This is the time of the "long wait," where the people generally hunker down until the land dries again.

The rainy season is the time for planting.

The good news is that this bad weather prevents regular movement by enemy ground forces. The bad news is that the weather doesn't prevent the Antonov bombers and MiG fighters from continuing their campaign of terror from the skies.

The rain brings with it the time for planting and harvesting. And since food is a weapon in Khartoum's war of ethnic cleansing in the Nuba, the Sudan Air Force will be busy bombing fields and market places to scare people back into the mountains and caves where they live for protection.

PPF's Borehole Repair Team had fixed 246 broken wells by mid-June.

So what will PPF be doing in the Nuba during the "long wait?" Certainly not waiting. Our emergency safe water borehole repair teams continue to work in the frontline areas to ensure people have access to clean water. During the rainy season, waterborne illnesses dramatically increase, so it's important to ensure access to clean wells. We made certain to deliver spare parts and fuel to the region before the rains shut us out, so the work will progress and, God willing, we'll continue to receive reports of their success.

Emergency non-food relief items are given to the most vulnerable.

Our team also delivered many containers of non-food relief items like blankets, mosquito nets, tarps, cooking supplies, and Bibles for those displaced from their homes. The distribution of these items will continue during the rainy season and be overseen by a network of 100 pastors of local churches in the communities we serve.

Keep in mind that all the activities described above are highly illegal according to the Islamist government in Sudan.

PPF has delivered 22 metric tons of medicine to the Nuba in 2015.

The NCP-led government, formerly known as the National Islamic Front, treats any humanitarian assistance to "rebel insurgent areas" as a treasonous act. As reported in a previous Africa Messenger, any person caught entering the Nuba with more than 10 tablets of medication can be executed for treason.

 

PPF staff and ministry partners pray for the success of their mission.

For this reason, your prayers for the safety of all our team members are greatly appreciated! Your Active Compassion makes this ministry to the persecuted possible. PPF receives no government funding. For the last 17 years, everything we've accomplished has been through the generous hearts of individuals, churches, businesses, and other organizations in partnership together.

The war in Sudan's Nuba mountains has been called "the worst atrocity you've never heard of." But you have heard, and you have responded. Your love shines a light into dark places and reminds our Nuba brethren that they are not forgotten-- and never alone.

Partners in "Crime"

By Brad Phillips Southern Kordofan State, a.k.a. "the Nuba mountains," has been described in the historic 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) as one of "three contested areas" in Sudan - the others being Abyei and Blue Nile State. For decades, the residents of the "three areas" have been isolated and marginalized by Khartoum. There are approximately 1.5 million indigenous Nuba living in the 19 counties of the "contested" Southern Kordofan State. Neglect on the part of the U.S. Government and other caretakers of the CPA has led to the Nuba people being abandoned by the international community. In three years, they have gone from a "contested" region with rights guaranteed by the CPA (security, humanitarian access, representation, self-determination, elections and a popular consultation) to mere "rebels."

"Contested" Area

At the center of what is "contested" is the issue of basic human rights, i.e. self-government, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of association - basically the fundamental rights that Americans have traditionally held to be God-given rights. It is these God-given rights that are in conflict with Khartoum's agenda to impose "sharia" law in its self-described officially Islamic state.

In February, Matt Chancey and I traveled over more than 900 km with our Nuba team to visit four of the most war-affected counties in Southern Kordofan. In these areas, PPF is serving the persecuted in a number of ways, including sponsoring programs to provide more access to safe water, lifesaving medicines and medical supplies, emergency relief and shelter to internal refugees, and assisting the local church in discipleship and evangelistic outreaches by providing Bibles and evangelistic materials.

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During our trip, we visited the abandoned Frandala Hospital, formerly operated by Doctors Without Borders (MSF). On the 20th of January, SAF bombers dropped two bombs directly on the hospital. If you don't believe in miracles, you need to visit the Nuba. I witnessed with my own eyes the point of impact for both bombs that landed directly inside the hospital compound. Dozens of people should be dead, but in God's providence, no one was killed. One bomb detonated a few meters above ground after coming in contact with the frame of a tent directly over a foxhole where a dozen people lay huddled together.

Sadly, even though no one died from the bomb's impact, many thousands of others will likely die because of the vacuum created by the withdrawal of MSF from Sudan. This was the second bombing of Frandala in less than 8 months, prompting MSF to not only pack up and leave the Nuba, but all of its locations in Sudan.

THE WORLD GONE MAD

These two children from the village of Um Serdiba were severely burned by government shelling.

While Matt and I were visiting the "enemies of state" in Sudan, Sudan's Foreign Minister, Ali Ahmed Karti, a real terrorist and war criminal, appeared as an honored guest at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. His hosts overlooked his recent role in covering up the mass rape in Tabit, Darfur, and his former role in 1997 as Commander of the notoriously brutal Popular Defense Force (PDF).

IMG_4197-1The PDF, like the "Janjaweed," is responsible for the most heinous acts of genocide in South Sudan, Blue Nile, Nuba mountains, and Darfur. The blood of millions of innocents is dripping from the hands of Karti, Bashir, Ahmed Haroun and the other members of the genocidal cabal known as the National Congress Party. To Karti and company, the Nuba are "insects," "criminals," and "terrorists." The international community considers the regime that targets market places, churches, schools and hospitals for aerial bombardment as legitimate.

Sometimes I think the world has gone mad.

HASHA ALI AND HER BABY

Perhaps the most tragic event we witnessed was the funeral of Hasha Ali.

When we arrived in the community, family and neighbors were having a day of grieving and prayers as they buried two ladies and an unborn child killed by an Antonov bomb the previous evening. We had seen an Antonov fly over around 7 p.m. the night before. What we did not know was that it was headed to this village.

"Criminal" Hasha Ali and her unborn baby

We visited the bomb site and found a funeral party of wailing men and women, mourning the loss of Hasha Ali, a young mother who frantically left the safety of the rocks to search for her infant son. She was hit by shrapnel and killed instantly. Hasha was 7-8 months pregnant and her shocked family could do nothing but watch her unborn child struggle inside its dead mother... until the kicking stopped.

All the while, back in Washington, D.C., butchers from Khartoum, with the aid of high-priced lobbyists, have been busy getting an image "makeover" in pursuit of "normalized" relations with the U.S.A.

While the Islamists in Khartoum are spreading their "gospel" message of religious and racial conformity through aerial terror, Nuba Christians, aided by believers in America and elsewhere, are reaching out to serve the victims of terror.

According to Ali Karti, Ahmed Haroun, Omar al Bashir and the members of the NCP, all of us who are working in the Nuba are criminals. In June, 2011, when the war started, Bashir ordered all foreign NGOs operating in the area to leave. Those who are still there are enemies of the State and subject to the same treatment "enemies" like Hasha Ali and her unborn baby received.

If engaging in active compassion for the persecuted is considered criminal behavior by the butchers in Khartoum, we stand "guilty" as charged and are honored to wear this badge.

Of course, as a valued ministry partner, you are complicit in all of our "crimes" - and we thank you. Our goal in 2015 is to increase our "criminal" activity in the Nuba mountains surpassing everything we've done before, and we need your continued support to make this goal a reality.