By Brad Phillips
As I write these lines from Nairobi, Kenya, I am envisioning what things must look like back home in the States.
Doubtlessly, small towns are putting out Christmas decorations. People are taking down the lighted reindeer lawn ornaments from their attics. Retailers are pulling out all the stops to lure consumers in to buy, buy, buy, so they can finish the year strong. Sunday school classes at many churches are rehearsing the Christmas plays and pageants that typically mark the season.
These are things that happen every year like clockwork. They are things we take for granted. But sometimes we need to stop and wonder, "Why do we do all these things?"
I think we do them because they give us the illusion of stability in an unstable world. No matter what happens -- war, economic collapse, sickness, or loss of family members -- we know that Mrs. Miller's lawn will be all lit up for Christmas. We like consistency, becuase it makes us feel secure. But real security only comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow -- and much more comforting than man-made holidays and traditions. His appearance more than 2,000 years ago was a declaration of "peace on earth and good will towards men" in a world that, like today, had little of either.
Our job, as Christians, is to spread Christ's peace and good will throughout the world. Our God is not a static deity. He is all about expansion. Not expansion by sword or capitalism or democracy. Expansion by love and reconciliation. Jesus Christ did not come to promote revolution, but regeneration -- and that is truly "revolutionary!"
I need your help to spread this message of love and regeneration now more than ever to our persecuted brethren in Sudan.
The year 2010 is turning out to be the bloodiest of Sudan's six year "interim peace".
At press time, we are less than two months away from Southern Sudan's scheduled vote on secession. Tension is mounting, and tragically, the whole year has been marred by violence and bloodshed in Darfur and in southern Sudan.
What has made matters worse is monsoon weather conditions. This rainy season has greatly hampered access to all ministries and NGOs attempting to bring help to this year's victims of violence.
In August, dozens of women were raped and more than one hundred and thirty Darfur refugees were slaughtered at the River Kiir (just a day's walk from a PPF compound) by forces of the National Congress Party as they hunted for rebels in the Kalama and Kiirkow refugee settlements.
And just days ago, the Sudanese Air Force bombed villages within the administrative area of Jaac, a Darfur refugee community served by PPF since 2005. More than 300 families were displaced and made homeless by this provocative act. The Government in Khartoum claimed to be pursuing Darfur rebels connected with the "Justice and Equity Movement" (JEM) and that the attack was "accidental," but no one on the ground is buying this story.
Over in the east, where PPF has worked for a number of years, the area has become the site of this year's worst violence in Southern Sudan, as fighting erupted following the April elections.
Tragically, the majority of casualties were innocent civilians. I recently visited this area* with my two sons to bring in desperately needed medicine, and the eyewitness reports I received were sickening. Multiple witnesses confirmed to me the widespread incidence of torture, mass rapes, and extra-judicial killings. Entire villages were razed to the ground, and the majority of survivors -- and estimated 27,000 people -- were forcibly displaced and remain homeless and suffering up to today.
But there is good news.
An amnesty was recently signed, meaning the fighting has stopped for now, and we have the opportunity to minister to the victims. In addition, our partners have made available approximately 22 tons of emergency relief supplies, including blankets, action packs, Bibles, and life-saving medicines.
Because of the terrible weather, most of the roads are washed out. We plan to send a truckload of relief supplies to Jaac, but most of the aid will have to be delivered by airplane and boat. The cost of providing relief to these two areas will easily run over $100,000. If God provides the funds, the relief missions will take place in early December. In fact, I have already reserved the planes.
This is a leap of faith, but we have no choice. Planes must be chartered in advance to guarantee availability. It also takes time to plan all the logistics and coordinating involved with this massive project involving two completely different areas of the country.
You've heard the saying that "when it rains, it pours." Well, we are in the middle of a downpour right now, and I need your help. But God is good -- all the time! He has never left us alone. He has given us you, our brothers and sisters in America, to be His hands and feet in these depressed areas of the world.
Please pray for our brethren in Southern Sudan and Darfur, and consider making a special gift to PPF, so we can minister to God's people during this very difficult time.
PPF must raise $107,500 over the next several days to immediately fund desperately needed relief flights to persecuted communities in Southern Sudan. Your generous gifts have made such a difference in the past; please consider giving again to our brethren in Sudan.
*Some names and locations have been purposefully withheld due to ongoing security concerns.