I write this a short while before the world’s 196th nation, the Republic of South Sudan, is to be born. Everywhere we look there are preparations for this coming birth: Multi-storey buildings spring up, visitors flood into the country, signs and banners all around proclaim the new nation. Work crews go hard at it through the night to get projects finished.
As South Sudan rounds the bend into the home straight, the finish line is clearly in sight. Yet, sadly, it is not a clear run across the line. Recent months of transition have been marred by increasing reports of fighting. In some places, the southern army has met its northern counterpart, initially in the contested border town of Abyei and, more recently, in the Nuba Mountains of Southern Kordofan.
In other places, splinter militia groups, some dating to before the six-year peace accord, are fighting the southern government for positions of power. On top of this, there’s continual cattle rustling with its endless cycle of retaliatory killings. New land mines are being laid, and banditry and car-jacking incidents are on the increase, which makes road travel risky for all.
As members of MAF here in Sudan, all we can do is respond. Our aircraft have been in high demand, flying medical staff wherever outbreaks of fighting occur. Inevitably the innocent are caught up and suffer the most.
Please pray with us for some kind of peace to hold. Pray for displaced families, whose daily existence is a scramble for survival. Pray for our staff members who play a vital role in providing the flight services.
The rainy season is well-established now, meaning all but the best-engineered roads are getting cut off. Add to this the insecurity, and the distance to some of these affected areas, and suddenly an air service is vital. In many cases there’s no other way in.
Pray for all those we fly, especially those whose Christian faith motivates their response. Pray that they would be lights in the darkness that threatens to engulf this country.
Along with so many people here, we’re holding our breath as we watch the finish line come closer. Please join with us and with our colleagues in praying for South Sudan.
The Republic of South Sudan was constituted as the world’s 196th nation on July 9.
• John and Kristina Tipper serve with Mission Aviation Fellowship in Southern Suden. They are, in part, supported by Balmoral Baptist Church in Auckland.