Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bringing it Home

Over the course of this week I was able to do a little bit of research on what the United States is doing to aid the people in Southern Sudan. I have discovered that a lot of the news data bases are very vague about the issues and what our country is doing to aid the Sudanese.

The media seemed to be tip-toeing their way around the what exactly the United States is doing. That really got me to think about if our government really is doing anything or if it is all just talk. I decided that I needed to go straight to the source.

I did some research on the White House's website and was able to learn a lot more about what our government is trying to do to help the people in Sudan. For one thing I was able to learn a lot about the man in charge of the Special Envoy to Sudan, General Scott Gration. I also discovered that the U.S. is trying to make sure that the Sudanese government keeps their end of the peace agreement that had been signed between the north and the south.

If you are interesting in learning more about how the United States government is helping Sudan I would recommend going directly to a government website. The news doesn't give out enough information and they seem to be a little bit clueless.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

No Where to Run

A lot of people do not understand what is truly happening over in Sudan. The truth is I don't really know as much as I would like to. Some people look at what is going on over in Sudan and say "well why don't the people just run away." The truth is that they have no where to run.

In the United States citizens have the opportunity to go to the police or the government in order to find a safe haven or to bring about justice. Over in Sudan that is not the case. If someone needs help they can not always go to their government, in fact, their government may be the very thing that is causing their hardships.

Over in Sudan that is exactly what the case is. In the book Escape From Slavery Bok tells his readers about the time that he went to the police station when he was finally able to escape. When he got to the police station he thought that they would be able to help him find a safe place to go where he could find his family. Instead of finding that Bok discovered that the police were not interested in helping him but that they wanted to keep him as a slave for themselves.
So the police were obviously of no help to Bok.

Another example of this can be seen through the president of Sudan Omar Hassan al-Bashir the leader of all of the blood shed that is occuring and that has occured. The Sudanese people can do nothing to defend themselves. Luckly, however, other countries such as the United States have noticed this and they are trying to bring about justice. President al-Bashir has been found guilty on five counts of crimes about humanity.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Spiritual Warfare

It wasn’t until I was in Sudan that I truly grasped how real Satan is. In the midst of spiritual warfare God convicted me that I was not spending enough time with Him. If I want to grow as a child of God I must be dedicated to spending time in His word and lis-tening for His voice in prayer.
One morning our team held a prayer conference for Thiec Nhaialic (The Ask God Prayer Army). As Dr. Katie led the discussions and exercises on prayer, she shared three visions which God has given her for the Jieng people.
The first was of an old woman. “This old woman is one of Satan’s ser-vants,” she stated. “She is watching the Jieng people and she is reporting their activities back to Satan.”
The second vision is a vision of an army of men. Katie explained that the army is also from Satan. They have no weapons but they are on the move and they are coming quickly to attack the Jieng people. The final vision is of a huge
rock. This rock is in between the Jieng people and God. Dr. Katie further ex-plained that only the Jieng people will be able to identify and move this rock.
After explaining the visions, I was shocked by the eerie sense of complacency and disinterest which the people exhibited. My heart filled with fear for the future. Suddenly, I felt un-safe, I could sense that Satan was at work. I began praying over this fear and that God would send his Spirit to protect the Jieng people.
Transitioning to meditative prayer, Katie asked everyone to be silent and listen to God. Piercing the silence, a young woman broke out in song and the participants swiftly joined her. While the words of the song ex-pressed worship to God it distracted us all from hearing God’s voice.
While Dr. Katie re-explained the purpose of the exercise to the team and explicitly asked for complete si-lence, the American team spread out among the room praying over all of the people and the building. As everyone entered into a time of listening to God, I felt sudden sharp pains all over my body as though someone was stabbing me with needles. Concentrating on Christ and thinking about the cross I rebuked all evil and slowly the pain subsided.
Hearing the singing once again I opened my eyes and was disturbed to see a woman shaking violently in the corner. To my left a man began crying out in an angry aggressive tone and another woman behind me began con-vulsing and singing as before. All of these distractions brought great discomfort and fear into the room. As Dr. Katie said, “Satan is trying to prevent us from hearing God.”
In an effort to suppress any evil and summon God’s powerful presence, several of our team members began praying over the three previously men-tioned individuals.
Once back at the compound I asked Dr. Katie about what I had seen and felt. She confirmed that it was not of God. “God is a God of control,” she said. What I felt that day was not con-trol it was evil. In team debriefing we talked about how Satan’s presence had been in our midst and we entered a time of prayer for our own spiritual cleansing and for the cleansing of the building and the people who we would be holding the conference with the following day.
Through this experience Satan proved his power. I have never experi-enced evil in such a way, and it shocked me and opened my eyes. But through it all God showed me that He is more powerful than Satan and that He conquers all.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is
not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,
against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in
the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:10-12

As the community danced for us, this woman depicted the devil and the army of God danced around her dispelling her power driv-ing her away.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Round Em' Up

Today I wanted to talk about the life of a Dinka in a cattleamp. While I was in Sudan I had the pleasure of visiting a cattle camp. The cattle camp housed thousands of cows and there are always people who stay with the cows.

The cows are all special and important. As discussed earlier the Dinka people value their cows a lot. Many dinka people are named after their cows. Mabior is the name for a kind of cow.

Life in a cattle camp can be very difficult. The people have to stay with the cows at all times. While I was at the cattle camp I noticed that some of the men carry weapons. When asked why they explained that it was because they needed to protect the cows from raids. A lot of neighboring tribes will go onto the Dinka's land and steal their cattle.

The people who live at the cattle camps sleep outside on the ground. They drink a lot of cows milk (remember it is not sent through a factory to clean it or anything). They are constantly working.

While at the camp I saw a man on his hands and knees picking up cow poop. It did not look like a very fun job but someone had to do it. The cow poop is used to make fires at night and besides it is nice to have a clean place to sleep and walk.

There are many different types of cows. There are black cows, white cows, and even spotted cows. The cows that are spotted with black and white are the most valuable. They equal the equivalent of ten white cows. The cows also have horns that are cut in different directions. That however is not natural. The Dinka people cut their cows horns when they are young so that

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The power of a book

I have recently started to read the book Escape From Slavery by Francis Bok. The book is Bok's true story of his life as a modern day slave. The issue of slavery is something that God has placed on my heart, so I therefore have a tendency to read books that are of this nature. However this particular book has touched my life in an even bigger way than many of the other books that I have read.

As you have probably noticed through reading my other blogs I have a love for the people of Sudan, the Dinka tribe in particular. One of the special things about the book Escape From Slavery is that it is about that tribe. Francis Bok is from the Dinka tribe. He is not from the same location that I visited while in Sudan but he is part of the same tribe none the less.

While reading Bok's book I could imagine every thing that he was talking about. I would imagine the land and the huts. I could even see the people. Bok's book not only is a good read for anyone who wants to learn more about modern day slavery but it also helps the reader understand more about the Dinka culture.

Bok also goes into some details about his life in a refugee camp and his life in the United States. The book is very eye opening. I would highly recommend it. If you decide to read it and you find that you learned a lot. I would also recommend a few other books. If you want to learn more about the plight of the Dinka I tribe I would recommend the books Why Haven't You Left? by Marc Nikkel, and Lost Boy No More by Abraham Nhial. If you want to read more about modern day slavery I would recommend the book Slave by Mende Nazer.

All three of these books are good reads and very educational. I find that they do a good job at opening my eyes to issues that I didn't know existed in the world today. They also do a very good job at connecting the reader to issues in which they are writing about.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

There's a God in this City

Chris Tomlin wrote an amazing song called "God of this City." Every time I hear this song it reminds me of the Dinka people. They have gone through so much. Evey thing that they had was destroyed. People were killed or taken into slavery. Anyone who wasn't caught by the raiders had to run for their lives. While running many of the people were gunned down, eaten by wild animals, or starved to death.

Some of the Dinka people lived on the banks of the Nile river and tried to wait out the war. Others went were able to get across the Kenya/Sudanese border to find a save haven in a refugee camp. Neither the river nor the refugee camp were completely safe. In both cases the people ran a huge risk of starving to death. The Nile is also full of Crocodiles and other animals of prey. The refugee camp was packed to the brink, they shoved as many people as they could behind the barbed wire fence.

Today the Dinka people are going home to nothing. Every thing is gone, but they have persevered. They still love God with all of their hearts. Even after everything that has happened to them God is still at the center of their lives. The song by Chris Tomlin is the Dinka people. They have seen hardship and even when it looks as though all hope is lost they see God. God has used them in wonderful ways in the past and He will continue to use them for his glory.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Harvest Moon Run

The Harvest Moon Run is an annual race that is run in Moon Township, PA. All of the race benefits go toward the people of Southern Sudan, especially the Dinka Tribe, through two organizations. The first organization is Christian Solidarity International, which helps free slaves in countries like Sudan. The second organization is Good Shepherd Leadership Training Center, which I mentioned in my last blog entry.

The race is a 5K run/wallk and a 10 mile run. Last year was the first year that the race took place and it had close to 350 people sign up to run in it. I, Bethany Storm, was the first coordinator of the Harvest Moon Run. I coordinated the race as my senior project. God had put a passion on my heart for the people of Southern Sudan and those being held captive in slavery. The race was a perfect opportunity for me to raise awareness about the plight of the Sudanese people.

This will be the second year that the Harvest Moon Run will be taking place and it is being run by another senior from Moon Area High School, Will Aldridge. The race is a perfect opportunity for people to help the people of Southern Sudan without actually getting on a plane and flying over there to see them.

If you are interested in running in the race or giving a donation you can visit the Harvest Moon Run website. Every little bit helps. Your donation may help give someone back their freedom or an education.