Conflict affects all projects, but hope remains

Canadians express hope for a failed state.

Credit: IStock Credit: IStock

by Gordon and Sharon Skopnik

SOUTH SUDAN–The overall situation in South Sudan has worsened through the years, with conflict heightening between the government and rebel groups over oil, resources, and power. This began in 2013 and then continued to escalate so that by 2016 there is war between tribes, leading to a failed state.

The conflict has also had a negative effect on the economy causing severe inflation. This has caused the South Sudanese people much difficulty in obtaining the necessary resources to meet basic needs. Food shortage has been an issue, in part due to the dry season (January to April), but also because of conflict.

When people are fleeing for their lives, they leave their crops behind unharvested. Militia attacks in Maridi, Mundri, and Yei have put a strain on the projects that Serving South Sudan has in those towns.

In Yei many children lost their academic materials through the attacks and have yet to return to school or even to their home villages. The economic and military instability has had a drastic effect on all of Serving South Sudan’s projects.

Miraculously, all of the projects continue to operate and all of the program and project leaders are surviving either locally or in refugee camps in neighbouring countries. As we have watched our friends, co-workers and ministry partners flee to safer havens, mostly refugee camps in Northern Uganda, God has been leading these dear saints to safety. Up to this point none have lost their lives, a miracle in a time of civil war and unrest.

So now they are in refugee camps—now what? A team working in a Northern Uganda Refugee Camps in December 2016 reported some good news is that one of the communities through church leadership resolved and buried their tribal, denominational, and political differences and agreed to leave as one people of South Sudan.

Through the ministry of an Avant Team, as an associate to the EMC, we were able to see 110 people of different tribes give over their lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

We know there are many who are praying for this country, and we continue to ask for prayer so that the prince of peace might rule. So is there a better future for the children of South Sudan? Yes!

You have an exciting opportunity to help through prayer and partnership—with the Prince of Peace—into these refugee camps scattered across east Africa. The nation’s leaders recognize that the future of the country lies in the character of its young people and in the hands of the church.

And that’s why we continue to educate people in church planting so that when these people go back to South Sudan, they go back with the Spirit of the Prince of Peace, promoting the spirit of peace and reconciliation, and bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to which ever tribe they come from. Together we will see God answer prayer.

Gordon and Sharon Skopnik (Wymark) serve in South Sudan with Avant.

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