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“It is Human Nature” – Relief Update 2017

Archbishop Deng

Archbishop Daniel Deng, ARDF Global Trustee

“It is human nature. As they grow up, they keep killing each other!”

These words from Archbishop Daniel Deng of Sudan are depressing. And indeed the situation in South Sudan is heartbreaking. With the worst humanitarian crisis occurring since World War II, the fact that over 20 million people in four countries are starving seems simply overwhelming.

However, thanks to ARDF donors, over $55,000 worth of food has been distributed across South Sudan, all through the local church. Archbishop Deng gave us a report in late June while in Wheaton, IL for the ARDF Global Council meeting.

South Sudan is a difficult place. Due to war, lack of infrastructure, and large geography, it is impossible for clergy to travel easily and cover large distances. In order to bring authority and accessible oversight to the region, the eight Dioceses of South Sudan now each have their own Archbishop. The province needed an authority in each region to handle the funds and to encourage  Christians to stay strong. Each local leader also knows the local churches, their needs, and will now be able to stay in close contact with his flock.

Therefore, when ARDF sent relief funds to Archbishop Deng, he was able to distribute the money evenly throughout the eight regions. Those trusted leaders were then able to purchase food for their regions and deliver it to the areas of greatest need. As Archbishop Deng explained, “[Food], that is what the people need.”

In some ways, this money is just a drop in the bucket for meeting the true needs. But God is at work. Archbishop Deng mentioned that the government is looking to have a dialogue to end the war. They have approached the church for help with these conversations. The only platform standing together in South Sudan now is the church. Providing an example to the civil government is an exciting opportunity. God will surely use it!

We are grateful for ARDF donors who not only supported our Lenten campaign for famine relief, but also contributed to the church in Peru during the severe mudslides as well as the ongoing efforts to support refugees in the Middle East.

Severe mudslides in Peru made transportation impossible and isolated poorer communities like those around Huancayo

In Peru, Father Misael Varillas is working among the extremely impoverish in Huancayo in an area that has no church presence, even in this Roman Catholic country. The indigenous Quechua people there are seen as second class citizens, and are discriminated against as “dumb Indios” (Indians). Their needs are the most basic: food, shelter, and medical assistance. As you might imagine, the 2017 mudslides disproportionately affected the poor. Fr. Misael’s ministry to be the hands and feet of Jesus in these times is hard and the Anglican Church of Peru is thankful for the support of North American donors.

“The money really is [only] the end, it is a means; our commitment is with our Lord and he will provide their riches in glory.” – Fr. Misael

Syrian Relief 2017

Supplies are distributed to Syrian refugees

Meanwhile, the situation in the Middle East remains tense. Archbishop Mouneer Anis and his churches have been reaching out to refugees through projects to teach literacy, micro-lending and assistance to those detained in prison. “The cathedral alone in Cairo has cared for 35,000 refugees,” Anis reports. “We started a school for these refugees since they are not accepted into [enrollment in] the Egyptian schools.” These efforts are simultaneously growing the church. Praise the Lord.

While a majority of ARDF’s work is to encourage local communities to implement their own community development projects, we always stand by to assist those struck by disaster. Distributing a total of $65,000 to these three efforts has been a joy. This would be impossible without your generous support!

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