We are all witnesses, daily, to a world in crisis. Headlines describe the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and news broadcasts speak about how our lives have dramatically changed in recent months.
As millions face extreme hunger and outbreaks of violence, the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic only makes families in crisis more vulnerable.
In the midst of this new crisis, it is easy to lose sight of those crises that are not new. Breaking news drowns out the voices of those who were already living through a crisis of conflict, natural disaster, and poverty. We mourn for the stories we do not hear, for the millions in the world experiencing increased hunger because of this pandemic. And our hearts yearn for justice and peace for those who must face COVID-19 while still living in the midst of conflict.
And now, a new crisis within a crisis.
Since March, World Renew has provided emergency food assistance to 12,000 people in South Sudan. This assistance is reaching families who have been affected by recent flooding and ongoing conflict, including those in the village of Gumuruk. Today, however, we mourn for those in Gumuruk who have been affected by a senseless outbreak of violence. Recently, thousands of youth descended on this village, attacking members of an ethnic minority. According to reports, more than 200 people were killed, homes damaged, warehouses destroyed, and two months of World Renew’s food aid was burned or looted.
We know that working in areas of active conflict can be dangerous, but not to respond would be even more dangerous. We cannot forget about our brothers and sisters who face poverty and suffering daily, even though their stories might not reach the headlines. Our hearts break because of acts of senseless violence against innocent families in Gumuruk, and for the life-saving food assistance that will no longer reach those most in need. Such an event is unprecedented for World Renew, yet for many in South Sudan, and elsewhere, it has become numbingly routine.
We hold fast to God’s call in Amos 5:24: “but let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.” We pray for justice in Gumuruk, that waves of mercy would reach the most vulnerable. We cry out for peace in a hurting and broken world, and we thank God for the opportunities to be ministers of reconciliation and peace in communities around the world.
As we mourn what is happening in South Sudan, and elsewhere, we declare our commitment to helping the hungry in this world. Our hearts break for the loss of lives, but it is a clear reminder of why we must not falter. Life-saving food assistance continues to reach thousands in countries like South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, and we ask that you continue to support this urgent work.