Naomi had to flee her village in South Sudan as vicious fighting broke out. She returned to find it ransacked. But her faith is still strong and she's asking for your prayers...
After seeing four days of fighting at first hand – fighting which saw hundreds of lives lost and thousands displaced – Naomi still manages a gentle and gracious smile. It’s quite an achievement considering the ordeal that she has been through.
For mothers like Naomi (26) the fighting last month was a terrifying experience. Almost whispering her words, she recounts the experience, ‘I live in the Gidele district of Juba, right where the fighting started. I ran from our house with my three children and found shelter at the local church. There were hundreds of other people there too, we had nothing and it was very cramped. We stayed there for four days, too scared to leave, it was awful.’
‘The maize and the beans that (Tearfund partner organisation) AIC gave us came at just the right time. We were so hungry.’
‘Even without conflict, food is always in short supply. We have very little work and hardly any money. But when the fighting started, we couldn’t move anywhere and we are still too frightened to go far away. With the markets looted and many completely destroyed, they are not being restocked. I am not sure how I will keep feeding my children in the coming weeks.’
‘We need an outpouring of prayer and more blessing showered on our land’
When Naomi returned to her home after the ceasefire her house was still intact. Not so for her neighbours though, many had been ransacked, with all of their possessions taken or destroyed. ‘Everything has been taken, even the last cooking pot!’
LOVE AND PROVISION
We asked Naomi what had kept her going when everything seemed so desperate and hopeless. ‘I still sensed God’s love throughout it all’, she replied. ‘His provision, from the safety we all found in the church, to the supply of food just when we were desperate – that’s what kept me going.’
As the warm African rains began to fall outside, Naomi glanced upwards and made a request, ‘We need an outpouring of prayer and more blessing showered on our land’ she said, ‘please can you ask people to pray for our country, for peace in South Sudan.’
Pray for changed hearts and reconciliation. Can you also prayer for my family; we all need work, so that we can feed ourselves. For me? I would like to go back to school and learn; I would love to study again.’
Tim Purver is Emergency Roving Manager for Tearfund in Juba, South Sudan.