Hi friends. Sorry for the silence on my blog for a while. I was out of the country for a month, helping with some flying in a different location. And things have been very busy since my return.
Are you familiar with the ongoing situation in South Sudan? In case you haven't seen it in the news (which is likely, since it doesn't seem to get much media attention in the West) the situation in South Sudan continues to become more dire. Recently, a famine was officially declared in South Sudan--the fist time in the past six years that this has occurred anywhere in the world. Sadly, it's mostly man-caused, due to the ongoing civil war. Thousands continue to flee South Sudan each and every day. Uganda is by far the largest host to South Sudan refugees, which continue to pour over the border at an astounding rate. In fact, the Bidi Bidi camp in Northern Uganda is now the number one largest refugee camp in the world. About two weeks ago I saw a statement from the UN indicating that the situation in South is the fastest growing, large-scale humanitarian crisis in the world right now.
In addition to flying from here, up to several locations in South Sudan at least twice a week, MAF Uganda is also flying people daily to a number of locations in Northern Uganda, where they are working in the refugee camps. It's hard to contemplate the pain and suffering that millions are facing every day in this, the youngest country in the world. But it's real, and it's happening now! Please commit to PRAY for our friends in South Sudan--the South Sudanese themselves, and also those who are working among them.
Here are a few of the South Sudanese I met while I was doing a one-week flight trip with Every Village, back in January. I'm always touched by the lovely smiles I see, and the joy that they find in the simplest of things, despite the hardships and struggles they face every day.
This is Abraham--that's the new name he took after he turned from his 'old life.' Formerly he was one of the most powerful and feared/respected spear masters in his region. But last year he heard an incredible message of hope and love from some of my friends who work up there, and he subsequently burned all of his idols, turned his back on his old life, and now lives a new life! His is an incredible story--perhaps I can tell you more about it in person some day...
The South Sudanese are usually very eager to have their picture taken, as they don't get to see an image of themselves very often. Think about it--no mirrors in the bathroom--no bathroom at all in fact, no selfies to share on social media every few hours... can you imagine? How often do you check yourself out each day??
So, an important part of taking photos in a place like this, is making sure you take the time to share the photos with the people. Here's a shot that someone took of me, with my phone, as I'm sharing some photos with Abraham.