Whew! What a summer! We have so much to report, but we will try to condense everything into the highlights.
As reported in our August Africa Messenger, PPF was able to complete a cross-border mission in the Nuba Mountains to repair broken water wells. PPF President Brad Phillips had received distress messages from friends in the war zone that infrastructure was breaking down -- including more than 200 boreholes. Heading into the rainy season, this meant that the hand-dug wells people were improvising would become polluted with dirty groundwater which would dramatically increase water-borne illnesses. We published an earlier article on PPF's efforts to provide "Clean Water for the Embattled Nuba People".
So we organized our team, kitted out one of our trucks, bought a bunch of fuel and spare parts, and headed across the border. By God's grace, 95 wells were repaired! This success was made possible by the generous giving of PPF donors and partners who were quietly contacted and asked to financially support this important mission.
PPF's Board of Directors Gather
At the end of July, PPF's Board of Directors and key staff attended an important retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We came together to pray, strategize, and discuss moving the ministry forward. It was a great time of fellowship and team-building. PPF's board is composed of mostly volunteers who give their time and talent to provide oversight and accountability to our organization.
During the PPF Board retreat, we learned that South Sudan President Salva Kiir had dismissed his ENTIRE cabinet, including his Vice President. This move sent diplomatic shock waves through the region and caused more than one observer to wonder if this was a prelude to Civil War. Although things have calmed just a bit since then, there is still a major power struggle going on within the SPLM (South Sudan's dominant political party). This makes the future security of the region questionable. Much prayer is needed in this situation.
It never ceases to amaze us how naive and backward international posturing towards the Sudan Crisis has become. As we write these lines, an investigative body from the UN is in Khartoum at the behest of the indicted war criminal, President Omar al Bashir. Bashir accuses South Sudan of supporting the "rebels" in Darfur, Southern Kordofan, and the Blue Nile States.
A casual look into the history of this region shows that in places like the Nuba Mountains in Southern Kordofan, the only "rebels" involved in the struggle are those in Bashir's government. The people of the Nuba Mountains are united against the Bashir regime, and have been so since 1989. They are the consistent victims in the struggle and have been targeted for forced assimilation, ethnic cleansing, and even genocide by Bashir's government. Yet, the international community treats them as "rebels" and holds them partly responsible for the instability of the region? Amazing.
Rather than investigate South Sudan for allegedly assisting the "rebels" of the North, the International Community should be investigating ways it can intervene more to stop the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the region. Of course, there are never perfect sides to a conflict. But overwhelming evidence proves beyond a shadow of doubt that the regime of Omar al Bashir has been the main source of instability, corruption and conflict in Sudan since taking power in 1989. The solution to the Sudan crisis will not happen overnight, and it won't happen by simply removing a dictator. However, without removing this particular dictator, most agree there is little hope for peace.
If we needed more drama...
So with all this happening on the geo-political scene, Brad Phillips began his journey back to his home in Kenya to prepare for a doubtlessly busy season of work. But his return flight date corresponded with a raging fire at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, which destroyed the Arrivals terminal and Immigration. The fire mysteriously took place on the 15th anniversary of the twin embassy bombings that killed more than 200 Kenyans and several Americans. So, after a circuitous route through Ethiopia and Uganda, Brad managed to get back to Nairobi in time for his children to start the new school year.
Never a dull moment!
Through all the challenges we face, God is still God and God is still Good! We head into the closing months of the year energized and ready to sprint towards the finish line of another great season of ministry.
Thank you for your prayers and giving that makes this work possible, even in very difficult circumstances. It would be extremely hard, if not impossible work, if we did not enjoy the faithful support of our many prayer warriors and supporters like you back home!