A Birthday Gift for South Sudan

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.”

SudanThose 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.”

Pastor John

South Sudan


About kaystrom

Kay Marshall Strom, who am I? Well, I’m a traveler, a railer against social injustice, a passionate citizen of the world. I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. I’m a 21st century abolitionist who speaks out against slavery of all kinds. I am a beach walker and a gardener and the off-key singer of songs. I’m a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. Most people, though, know me as a writer and a speaker. So here is a bit more about that part of my life: Of my 43 published books, seventeen have been translated into foreign languages, and two have been optioned for movies. My writing credits include magazine articles, books for children, short stories, television scripts and two prize-winning screenplays. I love to write, and speak, about topics close to my heart. I speak at seminars, retreats, writer’s conferences, and special events throughout the country. And because I enjoy travel, I even speak on cruise ships. Because I don’t see how a writer can really reflect another people and land without spending time there, I’ve been trekking through India, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Nepal, Sudan, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt, Japan and South Korea, tape recorder and camera in hand, to gather stories from the world-wide family of God. Thanks to my “virtual friendship” with John Newton, 17th century slave ship captain turned preacher, I traveled through Ireland. In West Africa I toured an old slave fortress off the coast and saw a tiny set of baby manacles bolted to the wall. I was struck dumb. From that horror came a story question, and from that question, my foray into fiction: The Grace in Africa trilogy. Come join me as I travel and rail against injustice. Maybe you will choose to be a 21st century abolitionist too.
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