Happy Anniversary, Happy Independence Day

A year ago today, this scene (see picture) was what I was looking at. Other things that stuck in my memory from that day were the intense heat which was somewhere around 115 degrees and the horrible barnyard smell in this South Sudanese village. You may not really be able to tell from the picture, but they don’t have barns. The goats and chickens live in and walk around the same yard where the children play and they sleep on the ground beneath the huts where the children sleep. And we—our group of a dozen or so American missionaries—were the first white people that these children had ever seen.

I’ve been busy this summer and so it has been easy to forget and not think about my friends in South Sudan. I follow a Sudanese news agency on Twitter, so I occasionally see a headline fleetingly pass by, but with so much going on stateside, it’s rare that I stop and click on the headline to see what’s really going on over there. I’m ashamed to admit it, but it’s true. I care. Really, I do. But there has been so much stress close to home this year (my Sister-in-law’s cancer, my Dad’s knee-replacement surgery, working 70 hour weeks, this week’s stomach virus…) I just have only so much emotional energy and so, I haven’t really been devoting any to South Sudan.

Until this week…

Earlier this week, my friend, Megan Alba at the International Pentecostal Holiness Church headquarters in Oklahoma City tweeted the link to a blog post from Larissa Akerman. Larissa is one of three missionaries currently assigned to South Sudan and when I clicked on the post, I saw pictures of “my” students from the Hope 4 Sudan Primary School marching in their first ever Independence Day parade, carrying a banner that read: “Father Almighty, Bless The New Republic of South Sudan!” And I began to cry. There’s a little piece of my heart there in Kapoeta with those children and today, they have hope for freedom. Last week, they became a new nation. This week, that nation joined the United Nations. Today, there is hope for freedom at Hope 4 Sudan.

Reality is still bleak for them. I encourage you to go read Larissa’s post. And I encourage you to leave her a comment because she’s in an environment that’s extremely difficult and thankless. I’m sure she could use whatever sunshine you could leave for her on her little spot on the web.

And if you’re interested or perhaps you missed my posts on Sudan last year, I’m going to post the links here. Even if you don’t have time to read them (C’mon! They’re good posts!) the pictures alone will be worth your time.

Returning from Sudan

Falling in Love in Africa

Africa’s Top Ten

Tying Up Loose Ends

Scenes from Sudan

A Wrap-Up and a Call to Action

And in case you haven’t got time to read the links above, here are a few pictures for you.

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