Ebola is out of control in West Africa. Boko Haram continues to terrorize and murder thousands in Nigeria. The Central African Republic is still unstable. Israel is at war with Hamas. The Ukraine situation threatens to restart the Cold War. The terrorist organization ISIS is purging Syria and Iraq of the oldest continual Christian communities in the world. And the list goes on and on....
And then, there is Sudan - one country with historic diversity recently divided into two nations: Sudan and South Sudan. Both countries are now on the verge of becoming failed states due to corruption, insecurity, humanitarian crisis, and economic collapse.
In the Republic of Sudan, President Omar al Bashir, a bloodthirsty ruler indicted by the ICC for war crimes, has set his regime apart from other dictators by the level of his genocidal cruelty. Sudan is the only African country to use its air force in targeted bombing campaigns against its own civilian population. The result has been the death of tens of thousands of civilians and famine conditions that affect more than four million displaced Sudanese.
In the new nation of South Sudan, corruption, greed, and political infighting have ignited an ancient tinderbox of ethnic tensions, resulting in mass killings, rape, and displacement of millions of southerners - especially in the regions of Upper Nile, Unity, Jonglei and Central Equatoria.
Starting in late December, 2013, up to now, more than 100,000 lives have been lost in South Sudan and an additional five million persons are facing a humanitarian crisis which the UN has declared to be among the worst in the world in 2014. Peace talks hosted in Addis Ababa continue to fail to end the conflict.
Overcoming the World
We have seen in the midst of trials like these great examples of courage, heroism, and hope.
In North Sudan, the story of Meriam Ibrahim captured the world's attention. This brave woman chose to affirm her faith and identity with Jesus Christ in the face of a ruthless Islamist regime. Knowing the cost of her faith meant a death sentence, her bravery and faithfulness exposed to the world the fundamentally evil nature of the NCP regime and its failure to provide true freedom of religion and equal citizenship for all Sudanese.
In the Nuba Mountains, among Sudan's largest Christian minority, we have shared many stories of victory amidst tragedy, including a pastor named Kallo*, who endured years of imprisonment and torture for his faith - yet emerged victorious and is now the spiritual father of his community.
It is our privilege to come alongside those brave, persecuted individuals and communities to encourage them in their faith and to demonstrate our solidarity and fellowship with them as believers.
We read that "All those who live godly lives in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." Most of us in America don't really know what this means. But for believers like Pastor Kallo and Meriam Ibrahim, this is the reality in which they live. Receiving a message of hope and compassion in the midst of their persecution is an immeasurable encouragement that helps people push through their crisis.
Christ calls us to be "overcomers." He uses people to demonstrate His love in this broken world. PPF's mission is to engage in "active compassion for the persecuted." Let's get busy.