In the middle of a bad-news world, it’s difficult sometimes to see the GOOD that is happening. We wanted to share some GOOD NEWS from our partners in the village of Jach, Sudan…
When we stepped off the plane in Jach, Southern Sudan, over three years ago, there were no smiles.
Even when we distributed food, blankets, tools, shelter tarps, mosquito nets and other humanitarian relief supplies to several thousand Darfuri refugees who had gathered there, the people were grateful and some wept, but few smiled.
It was too soon for smiles. The nightmares were too fresh. The region too desolate. Hope too far away to grab hold of.
Today, smiles are the first things we see. Smiles, and eyes shining with hope.
Building by building, family by family, the wilderness called Jach is becoming a community—160 square miles, 76,000 strong and growing.
Although primitive by Western standards, the Jach community now has schools, churches, a medical clinic and a marketplace. Twenty-six boreholes provide fresh, safe water to thousands of people and their livestock. Every year, more families eat the produce of their own kitchen gardens.
Jach even has its own sports league and has fielded two soccer teams—a sure sign of civilization in any quarter of the globe.
Most important of all, the Kingdom of God is advancing. Hut to hut, compound to compound.
Hundreds of children meet regularly in Christian clubs to hear the Word of God and be discipled in their faith.
This summer, 18 students began studies in our new Bible Training Centre for Pastors (BTCP).
At the same time, powerful new programming is being translated into several languages for broadcast over Radio PEACE.
Through the faithful gifts and prayers of friends like you, we have accomplished a tremendous amount in just a few years, and we are deeply grateful.
And it is just the beginning.
Nurse Peter Mazjoub examines a child at the medical clinic in Jach. Malaria and waterborne diseases are the most common illnesses during the rainy season. When these photos were taken, Southern Sudan was in the grips of an outbreak of cholera.
Many families have turned now to farming. By July (winter in Sudan) most were on their third planting. The first two dried up due to a lack of rain. Crops include okra and tomato plants like these, as well as watermelon, water lily, sorghum and squash.
With each new borehole, at least 500 people and their livestock gain access to safe, clean water for drinking and cooking.
Despite dangerous landing conditions, delivery and distribution of emergency relief supplies continued throughout the rainy season.
Mosquito nets like these are precious cargo as torrential rains spawn deadly clouds of malaria-infecting insects.
There are still many challenges and much suffering in Jach. The Darfur refugee community is still very impoverished. It is difficult to establish a new life in an area where the indigenous people don’t speak your language and still harbor bitterness from the years of persecution levied against the South by Janjaweed militia (which in many cases came from Darfur).
Our partners continue to work with the Church in Jach, reaching out to the predominantly Moslem refugees and showing them the love of Christ through forgiveness and reconciliation.
But students still learn under trees or crowded into grass and mud tukels. Our medical clinic is staffed by a registered nurse who sees more than 100 patients a day. Families that do not live close to a borehole continue to drink from surface water or hand-dug wells contaminated with waterborne parasites.
As we trust in God’s faithfulness for every need and challenge that lie ahead, we rejoice and thank him for all the wonderful things he has already done. And we thank you for your compassion and generosity.