News from Sudan
On 14 December 2015, government officials visited Tearfund offices across Sudan and asked us to close until further notice. Despite efforts to clarify the situation, we have now received notification from the government that our work is to be shut down.
We are deeply disappointed and distressed by the impact that the decision to close our programmes will have. Every year in Sudan, Tearfund provides more than 300,000 people with life-saving humanitarian support. We are working closely with the government of Sudan, donors, the UN and other NGOs to ensure the needs of these vulnerable people are met. More information can be found on Tearfund’s web site
- Lift up our beneficiaries – especially malnourished children affected by this decision. Pray their needs will be met.
- Pray for both national and international staff, that they will trust in God during this time of personal uncertainty. Pray specifically for wisdom and strength for our Sudan Country Director as he and his team oversee the close-down process.
- Bring before God those in government or positions of authority in Sudan, that they would make wise decisions.
- Pray that any media or public interest in the closure of our programme positively impacts our staff and partners.
- Ask for God’s hope and peace to be restored in communities across Sudan.
Prayer Alert Burkina Faso
At least 30 people were killed and many injured in the tragic terrorist attacks in a hotel and nearby cafe in Burkina Faso on 15 January. The country declared three days of national mourning to show solidarity for those who have been affected by the attacks.
‘Tensions have been high after the incident in the hotel and cafe,’ says Mbairodbbee Njegollmi, Tearfund’s country representative. ‘Thankfully our staff and partners were not harmed, and our work in the country was not directly affected and will continue.’ We stand prayerfully in support with our staff in Burkina today and these coming weeks.
- For those who were affected by the attacks: those who have lost loved ones and those who were injured. Pray for God’s comfort for them and for peace to be with them.
- For God’s continued protection over our staff and partners as they continue with their crucial work this week.
- For improved security for the people of Burkina Faso, as well as those travelling and working within the region. Pray especially for those in the capital, Ouagadougou, and the northern part of the country, where there have been some kidnappings.
- For God’s peace to reign supreme in this region.
The brightest light in the darkest places
Clive Mather, Chairman of Tearfund’s Board, shares his reflections following a recent visit to Lebanon:
‘The scale and complexity of the refugee crisis in the Middle East is hard to grasp. Who can count the millions of families who have fled the fighting in Iraq and Syria? Some have headed north to seek a better life in Europe, but the vast majority are just desperate to return home.
‘Some just ran in the night when ISIS came calling – surrounding houses and systematically slaughtering all the occupants. Others gathered what they could and left to escape the bombs, rockets and shells falling on their towns and villages. All know they must take shelter until the violence subsides.
‘Winter has come, so the mountain peaks are covered in snow and an icy wind sweeps through the valley. I joined Tearfund’s partner staff as they distributed food, hygiene packs and warm clothes to the most needy. These families are cold, hungry and traumatised, so this aid is vital to keep them going. These same partners facilitate schooling, as well as a mobile theatre to bring much-needed light relief through music and entertainment.
‘Back in Beirut I joined up with another of our partners to visit some of the local churches who are ministering to refugee families settling in and around the city. Their commitment is simply humbling, as they reach out to their neighbours as Jesus calls us to do, providing food vouchers, clothes and emotional support.
‘It was so inspiring to meet with families who have been deeply touched by the compassion of our partners, reaching out with God’s love, supported by your prayers and gifts. In the darkness of despair the light shines brightest!
‘For anyone reading this, please do continue to pray into the needs of refugees and those who are seeking to help them. Thank you and God bless.’
The end of Ebola
Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an official end to the Ebola crisis in West Africa. Thursday 14 January marked 42 days since any new cases of the disease in Liberia, indicating that the outbreak has finally been controlled.
The work is not over yet, however. The WHO have warned that future flare ups are both possible and highly likely. A new case was announced in Sierra Leone late last week. Around 150 people have been quarantined since, and a second case confirmed this week. And for the survivors of the crisis, entire lives have to be rebuilt.
Tawah Nyumah lives in the Margibi district of Liberia. In late 2014, she lost her husband, her son and one of her two daughters to the disease. She misses them, and is now struggling to support herself. ‘My late son provided all we needed while my late daughter prepared all the food for the family.’
It is vital that we don’t forget those left behind. There are hundreds of thousands of people who still need immediate help in the form of food and medicine. These people, their health services and infrastructure all need support in the long, slow process of healing and restoration.
God of new life, we thank you that this epidemic is coming to an end. We give thanks for the lives spared, for the help given and for the prayers offered. We ask for protection for this area of the world – for no more new cases of Ebola. Bless those who are now carrying on with their lives, and help us to support them and not to forget them.
John Gravett – Tearfund Representative