By any account these are tough times in South Sudan: more than 1,700,000 refugees have fled to neighboring countries, 1,000,000 of which are children. It would be easy to get discouraged or distracted.
Can you imagine what the people in South Sudan are facing? Recent reports count 7,900,000 suffering severe hunger, and of course, water remains a key need.
Our focus remains on supplying our local South Sudanese team to meet the needs inside the country, where almost 2,000,000 are now displaced. In the past weeks, we have wired funding for 20 well repairs, shipped an additional 6,200 water filters, squeezed a food relief convoy past rebels and flew in some critical medications. This next week I will head to the capital. Watch for an update from there, and in the meantime, Carrie Ward shares below about her experience after her first month on the job.
Listen to her heart, please...
Thank You, Steve Roese
I’m a 42-year-old mother of 2, pastor and wife of a pastor, with previous careers in education and children’s ministry. Why would I choose to change careers at this stage in life?
Over the last month, I have reflected daily on the countless stories of resilience and hope I encountered on my first trip to South Sudan. There are so many, I would like to share two.
Meet Patrobas and Rejoice.
The well in their village was drilled 2 months before our visit. We saw pure joy on their faces as they told us how clean water has not only brought them physical health and promise but clear skin (washing your body with dirty water has side effects as well). They were proud to have their own committee to manage their well. What a sense of purpose and hope they had! In gratitude for our visit that day, they gave us a goat! Understanding the weightiness of that gift, it still hangs heavy on my heart.
We also visited 93-year-old Lucy.
We were there to bring some bags of beans and maize flour as her family of 48 had been eating one meal ON A WEEKLY BASIS. We sat under a mango tree and listened as she joyfully shared the gift of a song to each of us thanking us for the food. I have learned that many in Yei are now surviving on mangoes alone.
Mango season is a short one.
I have such gratitude for the privilege I have to be able to tuck my children into their beds each night. We always have food to eat and space to dream. My heart is heavy for moms in South Sudan struggling to find something to feed their children after spending hours in pursuit of water.
The news of what is happening in South Sudan is not good. But we are seeing hope each day, too. Wells are being restored, portable water filtration systems have been delivered, truckloads of food have been brought into Yei by a military escort. Funds have been raised for medicine to supply the clinic in Yei. All funded by you. In my short time here people have organized fundraisers in Delray Beach, Franklinville, N.Y., Boca Raton, Dallas, Philly, Colleyville, Wisconsin, Indiana, Boca again, Coral Springs, Belton TX, Coppell, and Maine. I’m inspired and overwhelmed by so much:
The generosity of donors
The power of partnerships
The endurance and bravery of the Water is Basic South Sudan Team
The need of the South Sudanese people
The sense of urgency
However, I am most overwhelmed by how many of you are so faithful to this work having never experienced what I have. I’m now aware more than ever how crucial your giving is. On behalf of my friends in South Sudan, thank you.
With grace and peace,