LOUISVILLE (PNS) Although I had been to a number of countries in Africa in past years, these past two weeks provided my first visit to South Sudan and Ethiopia. I found both countries to be filled with unique beauty—both in natural surroundings and particularly in the eyes and spirit of the people.
I witnessed many challenges, including those at a refugee tent city I visited. Thousands of families were living in these tents because they had to flee from their homes and communities in Sudan due to safety. Political struggles, religious differences, and tribal affiliations were all sources of division and hostilities.
In one location alone there were approximately 190,000 refugees, most living in cramped tents with no running water, power supply, or privacy. Some of the residents welcomed me with warm words of gratitude for the ways the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has and continues to stand with them in times of extreme hardship.
At the same time I saw hope, both in the work of PC(USA) mission co-workers serving and in the ministries of PC(USA) partners in both South Sudan and Ethiopia. I observed love, and faithfulness, and compassion. I’ve seen this before during my travels as Moderator, mostly recently during visits to the Middle East and Peru.
Courage and fortitude are ever-present as our partners and mission co-workers live lives of inconvenience and sacrifice. These tough circumstances take a back seat to the fulfillment of lives saved or enhanced in the name of Christ.
Today I ask you to take a moment and offer special prayers on behalf of these servants of our Lord. Pray for strength, stamina, faithfulness and enough resources to help them address the immense needs they face. And, think about the ways you live and how your resources—financial and otherwise—might be used to aid mission partners and co-workers serving on the front lines.
Let it be so. Amen!