July 9 will be the country of South Sudan’s 5-year birthday. I remember that day so well. Just a year earlier, I had been at a huge refugee camp outside of Khartoum, and gaining their independence was on everyone’s mind and tongue. After 50 years of civil war, the people spoke of God’s hand, their hope, and their fear. One man said, “We don’t remember freedom. But by God’s hand we can walk out of bondage just like the Israelites did.”
All over the camp, people begged, “Pray for us. Please pray for us.”
Those weren’t just words. The last thing they wanted was to paint the vote for independence as Christians against Muslims. Yes, Christians have suffered terribly. But people were not looking for vengeance. “Pray that we won’t want that,” they asked.
Their greatest fear was that the world would forget them. That they would be left to stand alone. “If you pray for us, you will have to remember us,” a woman said.
When we left the refugee camp, a crowd of people gathered around to see us off. “Don’t forget us,” they cried. “Pray for us.” As our vehicle pulled away, the people ran alongside us crying, “Don’t forget us! Pray for us!” As we gained speed, the people disappeared in the blowing sand. But we could still hear their voices: “Don’t forget us. Pray for us!”
On South Sudan’s fifth birthday, let’s give them the best possible gift—a commitment to pray for them.
“When you pray there, God works here.”