Sunday, February 18, 2007

The News from Sudan Is Personal Now

All In The Family...

My nephew Ben has left this week to work for a year in southern Sudan for the Christian humanitarian relief and community development agency, Samaritan's Purse.

Ben is a recent college graduate with a master's degree in Civil Engineering. He has wanted to spend some time working in a third world country where he could use his skills to make a real difference.

With that in mind, he applied for a job providing construction expertise and supervision in Sudan with Samaritan's Purse. He interviewed and was hired, and now just a few weeks later, he's en route to Africa.

CIA map of SudanLast week, he attended some orientation sessions (in Washington, D.C., I think), and next week, he'll have more orientation in Kenya. From there, he goes into Sudan and joins a team to begin work. My sister said that Ben is traveling light with just two suitcases, one of which holds his new, really good backpack.

Supposedly, the semi-autonomous southern part of Sudan is not as strife-ridden as the Darfur Province in the western part of the nation where the government has been allowing genocide. Still, the south has endured decades of war and has millions of refugees. (For more information, see the CIA's brief history or Wikipedia's "History of Sudan.")

I think my family is proud that our good, fine Ben wants to do this, and we admire the humanitarian and missionary spirit in his heart, but we feel some concern for his safety and well-being. If you have a prayer list, will you please put Ben on it?


Keely, Isaac and Ben in 1995
Here are my two children (Keely on left and Isaac in the middle) with Ben (on the right) in 1995 at the Little House on the Prairie historic site near Independence, KS. It's hard to believe that Keely is now 21, Isaac is nearly 18, and Ben will soon be 26.

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A year ago today, I posted a
1994 photo of my kids and their excellent snowman.


Pondering Pig said...

Ben is a nephew to be proud of. Sudan is no party, that's for sure. In fact, next to Iraq, it may be the most distressed country on earth in spite of its oil wealth.

I respect the guy so much and I will add him to our prayer list. By the way - he couldn't do better than Samaritan's Purse - one of the most respected non-profits in the field.

Genevieve said...

Thank you, P.Pig. I called my sister tonight, and she said that Ben should be in Kenya by now. She said that Franklin Graham talked to Ben's orientation class (12 or 15 people) and met them all personally. He (Graham) has just returned from a meeting with the Sudan's president, trying to negotiate some monetary compensation to help rebuild the churches that were burned during the war.

Just Suzanne said...

Dear Genevieve,

Ben, your family, his coworkers, and the people of Sudan are on my prayer list. It is indeed very noble to do what he's doing -- being of service to those less fortunate (gross understatement, I know). This is what basically all religions teach -- to care for those who can't care for themselves. It's an honor and a bit of a relief to know that such young people as Ben are out there fighting the good fight. Please keep us updated on his doings. :)


Genevieve said...

Thanks, Suzanne. I will post an update when I get one. One other thing my sister said (and this relieved my mind some about Ben's situation) -- he will be working out of a Samaritan's Purse facility along with other relief workers. Maybe he won't stay there every night, but at least he'll have a place besides his tent to call home, and maybe they have a dining hall so he can sit down to a real meal sometimes. He will have a Land Rover and a motorcycle to use for work.

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