A pastor once described his job as putting on gum boots and wading through the muck of people's lives. He didn't mean it in a condescending way, just as an honest appraisal of the human condition. All of us come with baggage. Some of it's personal. And some of it's dumped on us by other persons!
Our response can be to go through life "fixing" the problem by denying the existence of the mud-- like a fish denying it's wet. Another response is to bravely face the mud with a high-pressure hose, a strong multi-purpose cleaner, and a lot of elbow grease!
This is what God did for the human race. This is the message of our faith: God the Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to clean up our mess. Jesus chose twelve assistants, who in turn began training thousands of other "cleaners." The gospel message is that mankind no longer has to wallow in the filth of pride, selfishness, and apathy. We can live together. Love together. Worship together. Our hearts have been "washed clean" by the love and sacrifice of Christ. Now, we live to share that same love with others.
During the rainy season in the two Sudans, our ministry teams confront a lot of mud. Not only is the weather bad, but the security situation is "muddy" as well. Our trucks, laden with relief supplies, lurch along, get stuck, get out, get stuck again, etc., until they finally reach their destination. In the war-torn Nuba mountains, we park the trucks under trees to hide their position from surveillance drones or high-flying bombers. The mud does give us one big advantage: there is no dust on the road to kick up and give away our position to the prying eyes of the enemy.
Amnesty International recently released a detailed report confirming what PPF has been publishing for four years: the Sudan government is regularly committing war crimes against the people of the Nuba mountains. Amnesty is a large organization: more than 7 million members in 150 countries. Hopefully this means the International Community will feel more pressure to intervene on a diplomatic level to demand that the regime of Omar al Bashir allow unrestricted humanitarian access to the Nuba people.
But politicians are notorious for taking forever to act. Thankfully, we're not waiting. Because of your active compassion through prayer and faithful giving, our ministry teams and partners on the ground are working right now, in their gum boots, engaged in a "ministry of mud."
One of the communities we recently visited in the county of Delami has not received relief supplies since the beginning of hostilities more than four years ago. When our team arrived, there was much singing and rejoicing. There was no end to the number of smiling faces of the recipients of your love. These are your brothers and sisters. These are your fellow workmen, struggling with the "mud and muck" in their communities. And you have joined with them, to help equip them for their job.
Notice some of the faces of the people distributing our relief supplies. They aren't westerners wearing brand new safari gear and holding expensive cameras. They are actually local pastors who have partnered with PPF to handle the distribution, ensuring equity and fairness, as well as to show the Nuba people that help doesn't come from some abstract political mandate, but a Great Commission of love and good news shared by people-- muddy people -- with hearts washed clean by the Living Water.
The summer months are typically a "slump" for ministries. But at PPF, they've been a "sprint." We're running, because you're running with us. You put gas in the tank, food in the bowls, and prayers in the heavens. Yes, we get a little muddy in the process. But that's a good sign. It means we're doing what we were designed to do. Thanks for getting your hands dirty with us!