Image: The work of Tearfund’s partner ACROSS in South Sudan takes place in the context of very real difficulties. Yet faithfully, with perseverance, this work gathers the community to provide hope and an expression of God’s love. Here, a mobile health outreach takes place under a tree in Rumbek East. This impressive service is faithfully carried out throughout the year by ACROSS and reaches thousands of people – mostly mums, babies and children.
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Executive Director, ACROSS
Elisama Wani Daniel is the Executive Director of ACROSS, a long term Tearfund partner working in South Sudan. Elisama holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Edinburgh and is conducting his PhD research in anti-corruption and governance. Elisama also serves as a volunteer board member of the campus ministry, FOCUS.
Praying together, praying for each other, is where we get to experience the last lines of the Lord’s prayer. Because partnership in prayer is being part of the same body. If one part of the body's hurting, your whole body's already in pain. We partner with God in prayer, not only to listen to him, but also to speak to him. And then we partner with one another to care and share our burdens and struggles, and get encouragement and inspiration from one another. We uphold each other to find strength against the temptation to grow weary in the face of difficulty. We uphold each other to the mercy and protection of God, interceding in the time of trial.
The nation of South Sudan needs prayers. We had a peace agreement that was signed, but those who signed it have not committed to implement all the things they agreed upon. Pray that our leaders will think of peace, that is very, very vitally needed, and has lacked for a very, very long time in this country. This country has never experienced real peace. When there is peace and stability, people can fend for themselves, people can manage, they can survive, they can struggle. But currently, many of the communities are displaced, they have gone into refuge across the border, others are displaced within the country, living in camps, they cannot even produce food for themselves.
There are many other disasters like floods, and drought is affecting many parts of the country. The drought in Kenya, the Horn of Africa, Somalia has also affected parts of South Sudan. But in other parts of South Sudan, rains are causing floods and demolishing houses or killing animals and killing people and destroying crops. It's a mixture of two different extremes affecting the same country.
Pray for ACROSS, that God will make us faithful and steadfast and focused on reaching out; that God will give us the grace and the protection that we need. That we will not grow tired and weary of doing the right thing, but remain steadfast. Pray for the staff, that they will be safe and secure. Many of our staff have to live away from their homes, and many of us are working without our families, so we need special grace to continue serving.
God allows difficult things to happen, yes, but also God answers prayers and protects us.
We have had many challenges. We're in a conflict situation. There are times where God allows terrible things to happen. We have lost staff members due to violent conflict. Yet there have been occasions where we have had staff falling into a serious ambush and God spares them, and we know it is the prayers of believers and faithful people all over the world who are remembering us. So God allows difficult things to happen, yes, but also God answers prayers and protects us.
In the midst of this we are sustained because God is sovereign. God never sleeps. He watches over us day and night, his eyes are watching over us to protect us. We may think God is not answering us, but he is aware and conscious and cares. We may not see the answer as we pray, but we know God is sovereign and in control, and at the right time, he will act. Things may be difficult, but we know we have a God who is faithful – and his faithfulness is not just for now, but is from everlasting to everlasting. He's a God we can trust. When we trust God, the Bible tells us that we shall not be put to shame. We cannot be shaken, it’s a solid foundation on which we can stand. So nothing shakes us, you know.
Things may be difficult, but we know we have a God who is faithful – and his faithfulness is not just for now, but is from everlasting to everlasting. He's a God we can trust.
Scripture encourages us; as we pray, it encourages us that this is not our work, it is God’s work. If we live, we live for Him. If we die, we die for him. Whatever we do, he allows us to do it. We are not superhuman, no, we are just simple, weak, human beings, but we have a mighty and great God, who by His grace upholds us, and does his work. Not us doing it, but God does His work through us, we are just instruments for His purpose. So we are confident that even when things are hard, this is not our work but this is God's work, we are just his tools and he will do it the way he wants. We just depend and wait upon him, and prayer is one of the tools that he gives us to wait upon him and to listen to his guidance. That still and silent voice comes clearly as we pray according to his will, that his will and purposes may be fulfilled through us. We don’t pray to be lifted out or to escape from the trials, but that God would give the steadfastness, the protection and grace, to bear within it.
Pray for encouragement and protection for our partners who are working in difficult or dangerous contexts.
Elisama Wani Daniel, executive director of Tearfund’s partner ACROSS in South Sudan, asks for prayer for safety for staff, many of whom have to live away from their homes and families. “Pray that God will make us faithful, steadfast and focused on reaching out; that God will give us the grace and the protection that we need.” He asks especially for prayer for peace in South Sudan: “Pray that our leaders will think of peace, that is vitally needed and has lacked for a very long time.”
With general elections due to be held in Zimbabwe some time this year, pray for calm and stability in the lead-up, and a fair process and peaceful outcome.
Mozambique is a country on the frontline of climate change. Most recently, floods have displaced hundreds of families in Maputo. Tearfund’s partner Oasis Mozambique is working on trauma intervention and other strategies to help people deal with the distress caused by extreme weather events, and build their resilience in the face of a changing climate.
Food insecurity is a serious challenge in Zambia. Tearfund’s Christian partner, Reformed Open Community Schools, supports parents and schools to run meal programs which provide food to communities to support nutrition for children. “Eating at school has really helped me to stay focused on learning,” shares one young student from Mmbaro Community School in the country’s east.
The Bible is a rich source of prayer material, including 150 Psalms – songs that cover everything from celebration to lament, praise to complaint, reflecting back to looking ahead. Praying the Psalms help to anchor us in God’s word: instead of just praying out of the emotional overflow of your own personal circumstances, the Psalms bring your feelings into line with the reality of faith experienced by countless people down thousands of years; including Jesus Himself who memorised and recited these prayers even from the cross (Jesus cried out the words of Psalm 22, as quoted in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34). The Psalms can also help us verbalise our disappointment, desperation and anger at the world around us.
Here are some Psalms that touch on the challenges and hopes faced by many communities facing poverty, including the regions from this week’s prayer points. As you read over these Psalms, offer the words as a prayer for the needs of Tearfund’s partners and the communities they are working with.
This resource from 24-7 Prayer has plenty of ideas of weaving the Psalms into your prayers. Read more and have a go at writing your own lament Psalm here: Why the world needs our prayers of lament.
Help hope break out in the midst of hunger
Support our partners as they work to restore health, livelihoods and hope in communities hardest hit by hunger and food insecurity.