We have joined with Sudan Evangelical Alliance Partners in developing 52 acres in Boma. When the Kachipo chief gave them the land he asked that they build a school on it. He said that not being able to read was like being blind and he did not want the children in Boma to be blind like he is. Their vision is to develop a sustainable local educational model that is tied to local community service – including skills training, community development and community education programs. With hope and prayer these services will establish an environment suitable for “lifelong learning” in Boma.
One area of opportunity that SEA Partners is not directly addressing is the many children in the region who do not have access to education. Some of them are orphaned while some of them do not live in Boma. SEA Partners has granted us a portion of the land on which to construct living quarters. Initially we had hoped to construct an orphanage but were asked to support the greater need for housing. We will be able to leverage experienced (already trained) local construction crews and architectural plans that that will enable us to construct the buildings in a timely and cost effective manner. We believe God has given us a great opportunity to very tangibly help these children in Boma and raise up a culture of Christian men and women that, in the name of Jesus, will be a transforming force for the future of Sudan.
For several centuries, the people of Southern Sudan have posed a barrier to the spread of Islam from the north. Southern Sudanese are comprised primarily of Christians and traditional tribal worshippers while Arab Muslims are the majority in the North and constitute the governing influence on Sudan from the capital of city of Khartoum. After Sudan became independent of British rule on New Years day, 1956, a civil war soon erupted between the North and South which raged on until 1972. The following 10 years of relative peace was shattered in 1982 when a new extremist government took power and began a renewed campaign to unite all of Sudan under Islam's strict Sharia law. Because Sharia law was so counter to their cultural traditions, the Southern Sudanese defiantly rejected Khartoum's attempts and another war began.
This war was very complex with various tribal conflicts, religious and ethnic persecution, outside Islamic influences and the discovery of oil in the South all contributing to the chaos. In the end, however, the result was over 2 million Southern Sudanese killed either by direct military action or starvation, over 4 million displaced, villages and social structures destroyed, women and children enslaved and the church left scattered.
In January of 2005 the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed ending most of the hostilities between the North and South. Though the situation is far from harmonious, there presently exists a degree of religious freedom allowing the slow process of rebuilding to begin in villages, homes and lives. The Sudanese have suffered unimaginable tribulations, but they are a resilient and joyful people who now need a hand in regaining their independent lifestyles apart from the relief efforts which have sustained them the past 20 years. As a side note, this struggle for greater autonomy apart from Khartoum has now moved to a Western region of Sudan called Darfur where atrocities committed by the government against the predominantly black Muslim Darfurians have become the focus of worldwide attention.
Taken from "A Brief War History" on www.sea-partners.org
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation."
- 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (NIV)