Pray for South Sudan
As many of you know, conflict arose in Mundri, South Sudan over Memorial Day weekend as local rebels took over the town, killed a government official, and essentially forced everyone to flee to the bush to hide. During that time, we had an employee there who fled into the bush with many of the locals. After 4 intense days, we were finally able to rescue her out of the area, and get her safely to another part of the country. After a period of time, the area calmed down, rebels were forced out, and many were able to return home only to find their markets and homes had been destroyed and looted. They had began to rebuild and settle back in, and we just received news that they had been attacked again, and received this update from our Africa Director:
Here is a quick update on the situation in Mundri. I spent all weekend trying and failing to connect with anyone in Mundri. Fortunately, I had a few friends who had been able to contact others in Mundri, so I was relying on their info. But also, as you remember, I had just recently experienced this for myself, so I had some idea of what they were going through and the availability of cell phones, network, etc. Still it was really hard not to be able to talk to anyone. Today I finally got through to the Bishop of Mundri and one of my friends. My friend told me that she is safe and all her family, but they are worried and hiding in the bush still. It was so good to hear her voice.
The Bishop had more information. He is the head of the Episcopal Church in Mundri, the main denomination in the area. He was educated in Oxford or Cambridge (I can’t remember which, but does that really matter?), and he is a good bridge from East to West. He told me that there are some soldiers coming through soon on their way to another town, and apparently they are supposed to help restore peace. But he also mentioned that there were some Moru (the local tribe in Mundri) youths involved in fighting government troops, which is probably a bad sign because that means that the problems might not end with the soldiers leaving. Bishop also told me that there were only a few houses that were partially destroyed but the rumors of burning houses came from other towns where that had happened. In Mundri, fortunately, they didn’t burn anything. Lexon (one of our local pastor partners) was injured running away from the attack that happened in the village. Somehow he hurt his legs or his feet, the Bishop didn’t really explain, but he hasn’t been able to walk for several days. He has been carried around by helpful friends. He is safe and also hiding in the bush with his family. (What does ‘hiding in the bush' mean? It’s basically hiding out in the jungle/forest area, away from the main town.) I haven’t heard from Jeffreys or Repent or other friends, but the Bishop said that there was sufficient warning that this was coming and most people were out of town before the problems started. He also told me that the government is advising people to go home, and while they will probably start to do that in the next couple of days, they are still concerned and don’t feel much confidence in the security in their town.
Thank you so much for your prayers. Please continue to pray. Food is scarce in town, and when people go home they will find what else of theirs has been stolen. Bishop said that many solar panels and pieces of hand pumps have been stolen. This will be a huge strain on the already over-used Mundri water-system. So people will need food and water. Pray for God to provide. Pray for those who have been injured or become sick over the past few days. Getting medical attention will be difficult. There is still a huge need for water in the Mundri area, now more than ever!
Thanks so much for all your prayers and your emails and your encouragement to me. It was much harder for me to be out here during this time than it was for me to be there with them last time.
Here is a picture of my friend, Eunice who I talked to today, and yes, I know that I cannot pull of this look, but she really wanted to braid my weird hair. And it’s not her fault that my head is shaped funny.