Friday, July 29, 2016

Praying with Our Friends in South Sudan

Conflict in South Sudan continues to bring devastation and loss to hundreds of thousands of people. Over the past three weeks, 30,000 new refuges have fled from Juba to the neighbouring country of Uganda where refugee facilities are being overwhelmed. Uganda is already hosting over half a million refugees, the question is how many more can they receive? Uganda is the third largest host of refugees in Africa after Kenya and Ethiopia.

Susan Keji arriving in Uganda from Juba, South Sudan
Photo and quotations from IRIN Emergency Update, July 2016

Susan Keji is one of the 30,000 refugees who have recently crossed into Uganda. In an interview with IRIN she shared about her experience as soldiers began attacking her community and raided her home. The soldiers killed Susan's husband and two sons, but Susan was able to escape in the chaos with her two younger children. 

"I told my kids: Let's run. They might kill us. We ran and ran. We slept the night in the bush. We were all terrified. We spent five days moving from Juba to Nyarabanga, south of Rajaf. We were hungry and thirsty.When we arrived in Nyarabanga, we got some Good Samaritans who helped us out."

A truck driver had picked the mother and two children up and took them to the border. Speaking with relief workers in Uganda, Susan shared how the ongoing violence and patterns of unrest within South Sudan have affected her family.

"It's still hard to believe they are gone. I will continue to mourn my husband and children. I will never see them again. There was no decent burial for them. I am told their bodies were picked up and buried in a mass grave. This is the fourth time I am fleeing into Uganda. We have suffered a lot. Can't these people sympathize with innocent people? We have never enjoyed peace. We are tired of continued violence and wars. I can't do anything to stop the fighting. I can't risk to go back home again."
Relief efforts of FEBAC in South Sudan

Since the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan, Canadian Baptist Ministries has been walking with our partner church the Faith Evangelical Baptist Churches, who have been on the front line of providing relief assistance and help to people displaced by war and conflict in their country.

Please join us in praying and supporting our friends as they reach out with compassion and the love  of Christ to their neighbours. Currently, CBM is raising funds to send $20,000 to contribute to food to be distributed to internally displaced families who experienced the horrors of war like Susan and her children.

Erica and I will be meeting with leaders from FEBAC this coming week to discuss a number of urgent challenges that the church is responding to. We are also thankful that during the upcoming Kamp Tumaini that one of the Canadian groups will have opportunity to spend two days with children that have fled to Kenya from the conflict in South Sudan. We pray that this is a time of healing and hope.

You can learn more about how you can be involved by visiting or by following this link.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Praying for South Sudan

Hundreds of people have been killed over the past few days in South Sudan. The short-lived peace deal based on a power sharing arrangement between the forces of President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar broke down just as the world’s newest nation entered its fifth year of independence. Many people fear that this violence will trigger a return to all-out war.

As Canadian Baptists, we have been walking through these uncertain times with our brothers and sisters in Christ within the Faith Evangelical Baptist Churches (FEBAC). 

Through the generous help of Canadian churches, friends and partners, CBM has been able to assist FEBAC in vital relief efforts in the areas of Malakal, Narus and Yaal. Together we have also been assisting in ministries among South Sudanese refugees who have fled to Kenya and are living in refugee camps. 

FEBAC Relief distribution in South Sudan

In addition to providing emergency supplies and supplementary rations, CBM and FEBAC are providing peace building training that is bringing together members of the Dinka and Nuer communities. These are important steps in fostering peace and reconciliation. 

Please join us in praying for and supporting the emergencey response of CBM and FEBAC. Currently one their churches in the village of Sherkat has received and is sheltering 1500 internally displaced people who have lost homes and loved ones from the July 7th fighting in Juba.
"The displaced persons had their homes ransacked, looted, destroyed, and burnt down during and after the fighting," shared Rev. Saphano. "The clashes involved tanks, helicopter gunships and heavy weapons... the people fear going back."
We pray that the FEBAC churches will continue to be places of refuge, healing and hope to their neighbours. You can learn more about Canadian Baptist Ministries work in South Sudan click here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Roman Holiday

Since the end of June, our family has enjoyed a wonderful getaway to Italy. We have appreciate the people, the beauty, the food, and the innumerable gelato stops. Each of our hosts have been gracious and helpful. Everything has been amazing!

We also had a wonderful time in Florence with our friends the Slaughter family and Abby Kroening. Tristan is remaining in Italy for the rest of his summer vacation as he works on a farm in Tuscany with his friends. Already they have been building fences, constructing chicken coops, helping in the kitchen and selling at the local farmer's market. 

Ava saying a prayer at the Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore, a breath taking gothic church whose magnificent dome shapes the skyline of Florence. We appreciated the many churches and museums that we were able to visit in Rome, Venice, Florence and Verona.

Peaceful evenings in front of your apartment in Venice.

Shopping for bargains in the street markets in Florence 

It was a bucket list dream to backpack in Europe with our kids. Everyone was a trooper lugging bags and gear onto trains, buses, and subways.

As we head home, we are deeply grateful for the experiences we are sharing together with our kids.