Christian Reality in Sudan and Kenya
Yesterday in our school, we had a missionary couple tell us about their ministry in Kenya and Sudan. They work at an orphanage of over 300 children who have lost their parents because of war or other circumstances. The husband is actually Sudanese. I asked them to speak specifically to my class of fourth and fifth graders after our assembly. I have been honest with my students about the suffering of Christians in other parts of the world and I wanted the husband to share with us what his life was like in Sudan. He told us stories about how his village was bombed up to three times a day. Planes would roll out large barrels filled with nails and shrapnel and children would hit the ground in a flat position to avoid the flying nails and then run for shelter. He saw his best friend die beside him. He finally fled his village at the age of 19 because Muslims would take teen boys, train them to be soldiers and then send them back to fight their own people. They also kidnapped children and women to be sold as slaves in other countries. In order to prevent people from escaping, they would cut their achilles tendon. Ramsey did say that Christianity is growing stronger in Sudan, but now he and his wife (who is American and here on furlough), are worried because they have a home in Kenya. They are not sure how dangerous it will be to return home after their furlough, since Kenya has killed thousands of people since their elections earlier this month. The new president is apparently closely tied to Islam. It was a sobering time of questions and answers in my classroom, and my children then prayed for the missionary couple for safety, and that their needs would be met.
My church also has a lady who is a missionary in Sudan. She was on vacation in Kenya for Christmas, because Kenya was the safe country for Christian organizations. She was still in Kenya during the elections and our church received word of her experience in the midst of chaos and people being hacked and killed in the streets.
Today I worshiped in a church with a thousand plus Kenyans from all different tribes and tongues united in one voice crying out to God. Do you know what their cry was? It was not "God bring peace" or "God, change the hearts of our leaders" or even "Why?" Instead the cry was "God, forgive us for we have forgotten to love our neighbor as our self. We have allowed this hatred to grow and create a divide that none can bridge, but Christ." One man prayed the whole of Psalm 51. Young and old shared in these prayers of repentance and the call for strength to return evil with good and hatred with love.
It is a different world in Kenya and Sudan and it seems we are so insulated from such difficult circumstances, and yet I believe storm clouds are on the horizon for us in North America as well. I am blessed by the humility of the man from Sudan who softly told us about his life and sufferings, and sang praise songs for us in his native tongue. I am blessed that he is an example of patient endurance in the midst of difficult circumstances in his life.