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Southwestern

JoAnn Bradberry

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2nd VIEW: Church reaches out to South Sudanese fleeing violence

NIMULE, South Sudan (BP) -- As a third of South Sudan's population faces starvation, International Mission Board personnel and Baptist Global Response are partnering with a local church to care for those fleeing ethnic violence.

Church reaches out to South Sudanese fleeing violence

NIMULE, South Sudan (BP) -- As a third of South Sudan's population faces starvation, International Mission Board personnel and Baptist Global Response are partnering with a local church to care for those fleeing ethnic violence. Nearly four million people may starve to death as a result of the country's now five-month-old civil war, the United Nations reports. On the first day of 2014, Mary Loso was cooking dinner for her children when the trucks arrived carrying those trying to escape the ongoing fighting. One by one -- a total of seven trucks, 150 people -- they pulled into the Faith Baptist Church compound where the women's leader lives with her husband and 11 children. Loso panicked. "I was afraid at first," Loso said. "I was afraid there wasn't enough food." But they were her people, and she couldn't turn them away. They were among the hundreds of thousands fleeing their homes in South Sudan because of the violence that began when ethnic fighting broke out in the capital city of Juba. Nimule is a border town -- a natural stopping point for refugees on their way out of South Sudan, fleeing to Uganda. As the town flooded with those fleeing, word began to spread about Loso's hospitality. That first day, Loso gathered the displaced people together with her family, and called the church elders. Church members soon arrived at the compound to pray. Three times a day, they stopped their work to pray together. They prayed for peace in the country, for their lost husbands and brothers, for enough food for the day. The church took up an offering to buy some food. Eventually, some of the families moved onto the church compound, into an open-air sanctuary and into the homes of the pastors. "All-in-all, God stood strong," Loso said. On the church compound there is a small office, the size of a pantry or a walk-in closet. Thin foam mattresses are stacked against a wall. Five pastors have been living in the office together. The pastors gave up their own homes on the church compound for the displaced families. "We took their burdens to be ours -- we are crying with them," pastor Tolbert Alochi said. "These people, they looked desperate," he said. "No food, no water. Things were very hard."

South Sudan conflict drives pastor from home

ARUA, Uganda (BP) -- "Father, what has happened to these people?"       John Monychol quieted his young daughter as they ran past body after body.

Food and Hope for Needy Families

She didn't go anywhere without her house shoes. Sheri Shockey's wide feet fit in nothing but her blue men's slippers. She walked out the front door of the Brinkley Heights food pantry in Memphis, carrying a brown paper sack full of food. A man greeted her as he passed, "You ought to come and join […]

Food pantry brings hope to needy families

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (BP)--She didn't go anywhere without her house shoes.       Sheri Shockey's wide feet fit in nothing but her blue men's slippers.

In Obama visit, Ghanaians say they are encouraged

ACCRA, Ghana (BP)--In the hours leading up to President Barack Obama's 24-hour visit to Ghana, life went on as usual in at least one community in the capital of the West African nation.       Yes, there were Obama T-shirts and Obama flip-flops, but in Labadi, an Accra slum, people were engaged in daily routines. Women cooked over open fires and bathed children. Men sat in shops or worked on taxicabs.       Less than a mile away, hundreds lined the street across from La General Hospital where the president was to tour a prenatal unit.       Behind police barricades, proud Africans waved American flags with Obama's face imprinted on them. They chanted as helicopters flew overhead. When the president's motorcade passed by, the screams were deafening. Young men climbed on roadside rubbish, hoping to get a glimpse of him.       In the crowd a Ghanaian boy piped up, "I like Obama."       Someone asked, "Why do you like Obama?"       "He is my brother!" the boy beamed.       His answer summed up the sentiment of the continent. Ask anyone on the streets of sub-Saharan Africa: Obama has come home.       After the visit, Obama was rushed to the Parliament building for his first major speech in the region. He praised Ghana for its commitment to democracy but maintained that African nations must determine their own destinies, fight corruption and pursue strong institutions to become strong nations.       "We must start from the simple premise that Africa's future is up to Africans," Obama said in the televised speech.       "The world will be what you make of it," he continued. "You have the power to hold your leaders accountable and to build institutions that serve the people.       "You can serve in your communities and harness your energy and education to create new wealth and build new connections to the world. You can conquer disease and end conflicts and make change from the bottom up. You can do that. Yes, you can -- because in this moment, history is on the move."       It would be easy to expect some degree of disappointment, perhaps even anger, in response to the speech.