More than 10,000 lives have been lost since the political violence began in Juba in December 15, 2013. There was a ceasefire signed between the current government and the rebels at the end of January, but both sides accuse the other of violating the ceasefire. In any case, the renewed violence in Juba, the capital city, is unsettling. Official word says that only 5 soldiers were killed in a salary dispute, but some estimate 100 or more were killed in yesterday’s violence and much is still unclear.
The latest UN figures report 908,000 people have been displaced since December, abandoning their homes to escape the violence. Both the government and the rebels have been accused of various war crimes, including an the alarming trend of targeting hospitals in the of violence.
Most NGOs have evacuated their non-essential staff, like this friend of mine and volunteer staff of Confident Children out of Conflict, where I served in Juba. But, the lead missionary at the Yei Children’s Village, where I lived for two years, is still on the ground with the children. I plan to visit the children in Yei for a few days next week on my upcoming trip to Africa.
Yei has remained largely peaceful. Although there was sporadic gunfire in January, no lives were lost. Since the violence broke out, the staff and children at Yei Children’s Village have been pressing into Jesus in worship and intercession for their nation. They are reaching out to the community through food distribution to displaced people and regular outreaches with gospel proclamation and prayer for the sick. They’ve seen many put their trust in Jesus for the first time, and last week, as they prayed for a lame man, he was healed. The news of God’s healing power has spread through the community, and the good news of Jesus continues to be proclaimed boldly.
Please pray with me for preservation of lives in South Sudan and for a swift and lasting end to this violence. Pray that God redeems everything that has been lost and stolen – bringing people to knowledge of Jesus that transforms their lives, heals their relationships, and brings national reconciliation.