Paster James Tang with his wife Rachel Short-Term Covenant Missionary to Sudan 2011-2012
Lost Boys of Sudan Seeds of Hope Ministry Empowering Sudanese children through education and leadership development for a sustainable future.
Heidi McGinness Christian Solidarity International (CSI) Serving the Victims of Slavery, Genocide, and Persecution in Sudan.
African Humanitarian Catastrophes Atrocities and killings continue because there are only a few to bear witness. There are only a few to gather information. There are only a few to take photos and videos. There are only a few to document atrocities–amputations, sexual mutilations, gouging of eyes, and mass graves. When civil wars rage on, bombs fall from the sky and people stop farming. Crops are not planted. Crops are not harvested. With several hundred thousand people driven from their fields and villages, a famine assuredly looms on the horizon.
Why has Conflict Raged in Sudan? On July 9th, 2011 after decades of Civil War, southern Sudan seceded from Sudan, and with 99 percent of the region’s voters’ approval, a new nation was born–The Republic of South Sudan. It is the 54th African nation. Currently, the ruling party is the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) Sudan and South Sudan are religiously and culturally different. It is a contrast between the Muslim influences dominated by Arabs living along the northern reaches of the Nile River and Christian beliefs in the south. For 2,000 years, Christianity has been present in Sudan, and it thrived until the first Islamic invasion in the 7th century. Historically, the north has been identified with the Arab world while the south has been more aligned with Kenya, Uganda, and other subSaharan nations. The south is severely underdeveloped compared to the north because of the many years of suffering under the yoke of inequality. The south holds 75 percent of Sudan’s oil reserves, but the north has the operational 1
refineries and pipelines in place. The north and the south need “each other” for their economies to succeed. Africa’s longest-running civil war (23 years) slaughtered an estimated 2.2 million people. The jihad declared by Khartoum (the capitol city of Sudan) began for three reasons–one economic (the control of oil and its profits) and the other racial (north of the Nile Arabs against the sub-Saharan Africans) and religious (Muslim against Christian). Slavery was used as a tool of genocide and ethnic cleansing–truly a tool of terror. The sale of slaves provided the monies to pay the Baggara Arab tribes and the conscripted militia, the Janjaweed. Political exclusion drove rebels in the semi-autonomous south to fight, and the same issue inspired the rebellion in western Sudan. This resulted in 300,000 lives being claimed in Darfur, escalating to a horrific humanitarian crisis. In the 1980’s and the 1990’s, the southern area of Sudan had become a bleak and desolate land riddled with burned villages and brutal slave raiders. There was an edict issued from Khartoum to kill the male children, and as a result, many boys were killed, castrated, or taken into slavery. Thousands of children– The Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan perished in their attempts to escape the horror. Only by the grace of God, did many of these children survive the ordeals that they were driven, beyond their limitations, to endure.
The Situation Today Both the north and the south have claimed the Abyei region straddling their borders. Today, this region has erupted into violence and another enormous humanitarian crisis is in the making. Also, tribal violence in Jonglei is fueled by the rogue general George A. Deng who is funded by Khartoum. There is still deadlock–how to draw the north-south border and how to split Sudan’s booming oil profits. On what was hoped a positive note in September, both the north and the south agreed to pull back forces in the disputed Abyei region in attempt to reduce tensions. But in November 2011, the hostile dialogue escalated between the two nations, and according to reports, a third civil war is now in the making. There is escalating violence by Khartoum’s regular and militia forces threatening many hundreds of thousands of civilians in Blue Nile and South Kordufan. The international community seems incapable of addressing the urgent need for cross-border humanitarian corridors to reach those in distress. Many say this violence is the result of the Khartoum regime’s May 21st military seizure of the contested border area of Abyei. Abyei’s people are deeply impeded in the history of South Sudan, yet the region was given to the north in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Act (CPA). The Bush Administration can claim the CPA as a signature foreign policy achievement, but it failed to follow through with the commitment to the necessary implementation for the plan to succeed. It can be described at casual optimism in the interim period (six years) between the formation of the CPA and the formation 2
of the new nation, primarily, concerning formatting a resolution to peacefully end the growing crisis in the Abyei region. In 2009, when the Obama administration got involved, time had run exceedingly short. The most blatant failure in this administration, providing the most dire of consequences, was its crude attempt to side-step the Abyei issue, which was scheduled, per the terms of the CPA, to hold a self-determination referendum in January 2011. Beginning in 2010, a series of ad-hoc and expedient measures were taken by the Obama Administration to ensure the Sudanese self-determination referendum took place as scheduled. This expediency included “de-coupling” Darfur from the central negotiating issues defining U.S. engagement with Kahartoum. In this process, the Obama Administration abandoned any real commitment to the Abyei Protocol, as explicitly written into the CPA, a key provision that was the most contentious of all issues resolved during final negotiations in Kenya in 2004. Seizing the opportunity of Obama’s failure to follow the CPA to the letter of the law, Khartoum refused to permit a self-determination referendum that did not include the migratory Misseriya Arabs who seasonally grazed their cattle in Abyei. This was the first time that this issue had been raised. The Obama Administration fell for Khartoum’s ploy of their demand for Misseriya “residency”, and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, pressured both sides for further compromise. The United States acted as if there had been no compromise reached in the previously ratified CPA. Senator John Kerry, acting out of ignorance of the situation, declared that the North/South peace agreement shouldn’t be held hostage to a “few hundred square miles” of territory when, in fact, Abyei is only slightly smaller than Connecticut. The U.S.’s demand for expediency and Congresses’ failure to understand the historic significance of Abyei to the South (nothing short of malfeasance) was broadcast loud and clear for Khartoum to seize the moment and exploit America’s ineptness for their own gain. The extreme hardliners and the military strongman used an accidental firefight between the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and Khartoum’s SAF on May 19th as pretext for invasion. It took only two days to seize all of Abeyi, and in the process drive more than 100,000 indigenous Dinka Ngok into South Sudan, where they are today without adequate humanitarian resources. Cries of ethnic cleansing and hate crimes are once again being ignored by the international community, as Khartoum now moves its aggression into the Blue Nile (South Kordufan) a border state that colonial borders placed in the north. Much of the last civil war was fought in its Nuba Mountains, as well as, in southern Blue Nile that supplied between 30,000 and 40,000 troops to SPLA. The Khartoum has targeted SPLA and the Nuba tribe for ethnic destruction. The current situation is increasingly dire for the Nuba people, as the widespread and indiscriminate bombing has caused widespread disruption to the planting season coupled with the absence of aid from humanitarian organizations. In two 3
to three months, famine is a real possibility. In addition to the 100,000 displaced people of the Nuba tribe, there are 100,000 Dinka Ngok civilians who cannot return to Abyei because of the SAF presence. The situation is explosive with dire human consequences in the making. As of today, conflict rages on three fronts with the possibility of a fourth front (the eastern region). To date, Khartoum faces no consequences for its egregious acts of violence and vicious atrocities. Their assaults on the civilians in Blue Nile, South Sordofan (Nuba tribe) and the fact that virtually the entire Dinka Ngok population from Abyei has been displaced has not been addressed by the international community. No aid across the borders is forthcoming. Just as Darfur became a “black hole” from which few honest accounts of the horror emerged; the same might be true for what is happening in Blue Nile, South Kordufan, and Abeyi–they are becoming less visible. Deaths due to military action and its atrocities, starvation, and disease may well number into the hundreds of thousands if the international community doesn’t act now. It’s victory or death for the people of South Sudan. As Christians, we can pray for our brothers and sisters in South Sudan who are living in fear and are suffering on every front. We can support Pastor Heidi, Pastor James, and Arok in their work to follow God’s will and help the South Sudanese people now in dire need. We can help the newly formed nation of South Sudan to embrace a positive future for its children. Jesus said, You have heard it said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. —Matthew 5:43-45. Pastor Heidi asks us to pray not only for the persecuted people of South Sudan, but also, let’s pray for those who persecute them. She says, “With prayer, someday, there will be peace and love between us as fellow human beings created in the image of God. Jesus will smile.” —Written by Cecile Higgins, Mission Outreach Commission’s Conference Coordinator, Arvada Covenant Church, Arvada, Colorado. Cecile is a former Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing in the educational and professional book publishing industry. Currently, she works as a professional writer and editor. Cecile can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 4
Pastor Heidi McGinness A Modern-Day Abolitionist
As a young girl, Pastor Heidi left her native Germany where she had the misfortune of witnessing the results of hate and horror of war and its debilitating aftermath. God never wastes anything in our lives, both the celebratory experiences and the tragic experiences. He grew compassion and mercy in Pastor Heidi’s heart, and today she is an ordained Presbyterian Minister and works with Pastor Heidi ministering to God’s people. Christian Solidarity International (CSI) in the role of a modern-day abolitionist and passionate defender of the victims of slavery, genocide, and persecution. She is Director (USA) of Christian Solidarity International. From 2004 to 2011, Pastor Heidi has traveled nine times to war-worn Sudan, and she worked with CSI teams as a human rights activist and respectful, compassionate listener. She has been personally present to document the liberation of more than 2,112 men, women, and children from slavery while delivering tons of medicine and grain, thousands of survival kits, spiritual support, and hope. The release of slaves taken during the 23-year civil war between the North and the South was not a part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Act (CPA) or South Sudan’s independence in July 2011. Tens of thousands of South Sudanese–men, women, and children–are still enslaved in Darfur and Kordofan. As an Outreach Director for CSI-USA, Pastor Heidi speaks in the United States and Switzerland reaching out to churches, synagogues, universities, schools, and civic groups retelling her gripping eyewitness account of the suffering of the Sudanese people. Through her speaking, preaching, and advocacy for the persecuted Christians and Black Muslims, she raises needed funds to aid CSI in carrying out its life-giving mission. 2006–Pastor Heidi became a Board member of the Colorado Coalition of Genocide Awareness and Action in Denver. 2009–She became a Franciscan associate of the Dubuque Franciscans and was awarded the Herbert E. Manning, Jr. Award by the University of Dubuque 5
Theological Seminary for servant leadership and courageous convictions in Christian ministry. 2010â€“She was a recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Business and Social Responsibility Award for her unwavering resolve to stand by the persecuted, enslaved, and poor and for engaging others to do likewise. Pastor Heidi has attended briefings on Darfur in Washington, D.C. with officials from the White House and the Department of State. Also, she was invited by former Governor Bill Ritter to the ceremony that signed Coloradoâ€™s Divestment Bill into law because of her testimony on the atrocities in Darfur before the House Finance Committee of the Colorado State Legislatures. Pastor Heidi addressing slavery can be viewed in the Fox News link in the YouTube footage documented by Tamara Banks, documentarian and independent journalist.
Pastor James Tang
Short Term Covenant Missionary to Sudan 2011-2012 In June 2006, Pastor James Tang was commissioned at the Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church to serve as a Short-Term Missionary to Sudan with Covenant World Mission. James was born in Ulang Nasir, South Sudan into a family that did not know Christ. At the age of nineyears-old, and after attending church with kids in the neighborhood, James accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Pastor James serving God’s people in South Sudan Due to James’ young age, the pastor elected not to baptize him, but several years later when his older sister became a Christian, they both were baptized. In 1982, James went to Khartoum to work for Pepsi Cola Company. He was summarily fired when he refused to obey the Muslim enforcement of their fast for Ramadan. He returned to South Sudan to join the rebel fighters, and in 1987, the Sudanese government imprisoned him. After a week in jail, and with the assistance of church choir members, James escaped to do the Sudanese border of Ethiopia. For the next seven years, he lived in refugee camps. James has worked with all ages in a variety of ministries: he taught children’s Sunday school, led the youth for seven churches, began a ministry for new believers (1979), and he was elected (1981) as vice evangelist, and then as chairman of youth for 22 district churches. While in an Ethiopian refugee camp (1987-91), James worked with the youth. For three months, he served as an evangelist in Ulang (1991), and he was a secretary for evangelists in a Kenyan refugee camp (1992-94). In 1994, after arriving in the United States, James encouraged the formation of a Sudanese congregation in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He served as vice chairman of South Sudan Evangelical Covenant Church, and in 1997, he was sent as a missionary to the Twin Cities (Minnesota) where he worked as associate pastor at Fridley Covenant for the Sudanese ministry. In 1998, James helped start the South Sudan Covenant Church with church plants in Calgary, Alberta and Toronto, 7
Ontario. That winter, James and a team from the United States traveled to ordain the first Sudanese pastors. For four months, James remained there to teach the South Sudan Covenant constitution and help with their first election in Akobo, Sudan. In 1999, James was elected as chair of the South Sudan ECC committee in North America for a two-year term. Currently, James lives in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, and he is Administrative Assistant for Sudan and Ethiopia Mission, and he lives and travels, as needed, between the United States, Kenya, and Sudan. He especially enjoys sharing the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ. James is a member of Fridley Covenant Church in Fridley, Minnesota where he and his family actively attend. He and his wife, Rachel, have six children.
The Amazing Life Story of Arok Garang A Lost boy of Sudan
Arok was born in 1982 in the village of Longo in Sudan. At the tender age of seven years old, Arok began the arduous journey and life as one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. By the grace of God, Arok survived, and he is here with us at Arvada Covenant Church to share his story and the mission God has placed on his heart. His parents were animist (a belief in individual spirits inhabiting natural objects and phenomena), but in 1989, they were converted to Christianity. They heavArok and friends at the village church. ily depended on cattle for their livelihood. In 1989, The Janjaweed (Arab militia) attacked Arokâ€™s village. They set the village on fire, and it was decimated. Many villagers were slaughtered including Arokâ€™s parents. Some of those that survived were the boys tending to the cattle in the fields. Arok was amongst those boys.
The boys ran for their lives driven beyond the limits of their endurance. With his heart pounding in his chest and fear gripping every muscle in his young body, Arok heard God say to him, “Arok, one day you will come to rebuild your village.” All the while, he ran to escape the brutality of the Janjaweed not knowing what dangers lay ahead. His extraordinary odyssey had just begun. Arok and the boys that fled the cattle fields met other Lost Boys, as they trudged across large areas of southern Sudan on what began their 1,000-mile journey to Ethiopia. The journey lasted three months before they crossed the border. They lacked shoes, clothing, food, and water. Many of the Lost Boys perished from starvation, eating poisonous wild fruit, attacks from wild animals, and drowning while crossing the rivers. The Sudanese government soldiers even fired their guns at the young, defenseless boys; boys now orphaned without their parents to protect them. While enduring the terror-laden journey with hardship at every turn, Arok repeatedly asked God, “How will I stay alive to someday rebuild my village?” But God had a grand purpose for Arok’s life. As His loving Father, He provided the young boy protection. Arok survived the journey, and he has never forgotten God’s leading in his life. For eighteen months, Arok and the Lost Boys lived in Ethiopia, but another civil war broke out, and they were exiled from the country. They were forced, at gunpoint, to cross a river back into Sudan. Many Lost Boys drowned. Then, they were told to walk to Kenya, but it was the rainy season and flooding swept across the land. The long and treacherous journey took a year to complete. Fortunately, the United Nations dropped food for them from a plane while they walked mile after mile. They did not starve. They survived. Once again, Arok asked God, “How will I stay alive to someday rebuild my village?” In 1992, Arok and the Lost Boys arrived in Kenya. For nine years, Arok lived in the Kakuma Refugee camp and became a group leader for 500 Lost Boys. Over the years, Arok never stopped asking God his one question, “How will I stay alive to someday rebuild my village?” In 1998, the United Nations helped Arok and other Lost Boys gain the necessary permission to immigrate to the United States. In 2001, Arok, at the age of 19 years, arrived in America. The United States government gave The Lost Boys only 90 days of assistance, and then they were on their own. Arok says, “God has taken care of me. I was able to put myself through and graduate from the University of Colorado with a degree in Economics. Currently, I’m working on my Masters’ degree in Economics.” Arok has survived his long ordeal, and he is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit. He is one man dedicating his talent, spiritual gifts, effort, and time to do doing what Arok believes is God’s will for his life. He is an instrument of peace carrying out God’s work–to help save God’s orphaned children and the future of a new nation–South Sudan. 9
Arok misses his wife, Ayak, their son, Thuch, their daughter, Alek, who live in Kenya. His mission through The Seeds of Hope ministry is to empower Sudanese children through education and leadership development for a sustainable future. Arok says, “We now have 35 orphans from the Kakuma Refugee Camp being educated and living at Roots Academy in Kenya. It’s my goal to educate 100 Katuma Refugee Camp orphans. When they are grown, our plan is to enable them to return to South Sudan and become the kind of Christian leaders that will make a difference for the future of our new nation.” Mission Statement The mission of Seeds of Hope is to partner with Lost Boys of Sudan to empower the orphaned and at-risk Sudanese youth to become the future leaders of their community. Vision Statement Seeds of Hope envisions the orphaned youth of Sudan attaining their God-given potential through quality education which will lead them to help their community toward economic self-sufficiency. Purpose Seeds of Hope exists to educate and care for the war-torn youth of the Adiang community of Southern Sudan so they can return to their villages to begin the work of rebuilding the country and passing on their values and resources to future generations. Sponsorship Just $1200 a year provides quality education at a reputable boarding school in Kenya or Uganda, safe secure year-round shelter and meals, school uniforms and supplies, and health care. Donations of any amount are accepted. Sponsors of $100 per month can be partnered with a specific child. Quarterly report cards are provided to all sponsors so you can stay in touch with how well your student is progressing. Sponsorship Options • $1200 per year / $100 per month (At this level, sponsors are partnered with a specific child.) • $600 per year / $50 per month • $300 per year / $25 per month • Donation to the general fund All contributions go directly to care and educate of the Sudanese students. Sponsorship and donations are 100% tax deductible. To Sponsor a child or to learn more about Seeds of Hope, please contact Arok: email@example.com 10
Little Baby Boy in Green Pastor Heidi McGuinness We arrive early in the morning. We wait for the Christian Solidarity International (CSI) staff, the CSI South Sudanese field workers, and the South Sudanese pastors to arrive at the slave liberation site. While waiting, I look with intention at the men, women, and children seated before me. My eyes are warm and welcoming. Because they’re still afraid, not knowing if what they have heard is true—that they will be free—not knowing what their future will hold, and carrying the weight of years of abuse, torture, forced Islamization and Arabization, I do what I always do. I gently walk among them, going up and down rows of people, tenderly touching a shoulder or a head. Sometimes, I simply sit in their midst and smile. Sometimes, I sit among the children letting them see the love of the Lord in my eyes. This is what I pray: anything to take away their fear and uncertainty. Usually, I seek out the mommies with their babies and toddlers. I walk on my knees toward the little ones trying to make eye contact, smiling with my eyes, my lips, and my body posture. It’s amazing how the babies respond, totally unafraid of the first white face they have seen. They respond with openness and engage in a dialogue that transcends language, culture, even speech. It is, simply put, the language of love from human to human. From thirty feet away, I spot the little guy. I know he spots me because our eyes meet. While I visit with another toddler, his eyes, big as saucers, seem to beckon me. And so, I crawl on my hands and knees toward him. He is as amazed to look into my face, as I am to look into his. He reaches toward me, completely unafraid. I look at his mother and ask her permission to hold him. She nods with understanding and tenderness, knowing in her heart that something special is taking place. I lift him into my arms, and we stand, screening each other’s face with great curiosity. He raises his right arm and puts three of his fingers on my lips. It surprises me. I’m even more surprised when he rubs his fingers on my lips, even placing them in my mouth. I grow a little worried. What germs from 11
the West am I carrying for which he had no antibiotics, no immunity? Then, I tast salt and dirt on his fingers, and I canâ€™t help but to think: what exotic germ might this little guy give me? I smile at him, and he smiles in return. Again, his fingers proceed to rub my lips with a concerned look in his deep, dark eyes that defy his babyhood. Then it occurs to me; he is worried that my lips are bleeding because, as always, Iâ€™m wearing my signature red lipstick. What a humanitarian, that one! During this holy encounter, the men, women, and children surround us with a warm blanket of love. The little boy and I are awash with the sense of their holiness. In the three months that have passed since this encounter, I wonder what God has in store for this boy-child. Will he grow up to become a physician or hold the visions of peace and freedom for his people? Or more importantly, will he build the scaffolding under the nascent peace of South Sudan so it will permanently endure? I am sure there is something special in that little boy. And, I believe something special occurred inside me when he touched my lips and my heart.
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Mission Outreach Commissionâ€”
Local Outreach/World Im-
pact. Reaching out to serve our local community and world with the hope that the Kingdom of God will expand. Our motto is Transformation Through Service. We are honored to coordinate the Winter Conference and bring the suffering of Godâ€™s people in the Republic of South Sudan to your attention. We thank God for Pastor Heidi, Pastor James, and Arok for their service.
Published on Feb 21, 2012
Published on Feb 21, 2012
The mission of Seeds of Hope is to partner with Lost Boys of Sudan to empower the orphaned and at-risk Sudanese youth to become the future l...