“It’s important to have water for our bodies and the Word of God for our souls.”
Eunice Azuwa, Anglican Mother’s Union Leader, Mambee
As the tragic civil war continues and catastrophic famine becomes a real possibility, it is increasingly difficult to find signs of positive change in South Sudan.
However, in the Anglican Diocese of Olo Area Maridi, an ARDF-funded project is transforming lives by providing clean drinking water and desperately needed hope to poor, rural communities. The project has had an incredible impact:
15,000 People Now Have Access to Clean Water
Many people in South Sudan live in constant danger of waterborne diseases which keep parents from working and children out of school, but thanks to ARDF’s partnership with the Anglican Diocese of Olo Area Maridi, two rural communities now have deep wells that are providing safe water to drink.
Without the threat of disease, the community members’ health is improving along with their access to education and economic development.
4,667 People Were Reached With The Gospel
During and after the well-drilling, outreach and evangelism teams conducted prayer sessions and Bible studies.
A local community leader named Godwill Hessin said, “I thank those who were involved and supported the water project because today, my people and I are safe because we are drinking clean water…Through this project our faith has been [revived] both spiritually and physically. Most of the people came to know the love of God and the work of the church.”
The Community Learned to See Themselves as God Sees Them
The poor often feel powerless, which is why ARDF supports projects that restore their sense of dignity and self-confidence. By partnering with the people of Maridi on this project the Diocese helped to build a sense of dignity and a belief that they can continue to transform their own lives.
Godwill also told us, “This project has opened the mind of our community to understand their situation and also to use their local resources to meet their needs.” We thank God not just for clean water, but for a redeemed self-image in the people of Maridi.
Despite the Violence, God is Still at Work
When we tell the story of South Sudan, it is vital to remember that God is still at work through His people–redeeming, saving, and changing lives. In fact, the Anglican Church in South Sudan should be an incredible encouragement and inspiration to us as its members live out the Gospel of Christ in some of the world’s poorest communities.
Over and over again at ARDF we see how our Anglican brothers and sisters in the developing world—many of whom live in extreme poverty themselves—experience God’s love so deeply that they are set free to love their neighbors in tangible ways. Like Jesus, they see no contradiction between proclaiming the gospel boldly, and acting on behalf of the poor, bringing both physical and spiritual healing.
The Anglican Diocese of Olo Area Maridi is a wonderful example of how evangelism and works of mercy both flow from Jesus’ command to love God and love our neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40). We pray that the church in North America would also be set free to love the poor because of God’s radical grace.
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