April 13, 2017

Andrew Wallace

Recently there has been a serious fire among a Laarim village. “We are so thankful that there was no loss of life or any serious injury resulting from this fire, but it was devastating nonetheless… On the evening of the fire we immediately wanted to show our compassion and solidarity with the people and that we were ready to help them in dealing with the tragedy. With this in mind, we invited all the women and children from the lost homes to come and eat at our compound on Monday and Tuesday night. We packed the Bylers’ [Phil & Linda Byler – Team Leaders] veranda with children and they devoured multiple kilos of rice with much delight. It was wonderful to distract them for a time from what had happened and to see them laugh and smile. That was perhaps more important than the physical satisfaction from the food itself. On Tuesday we had a team meeting to check ourselves and our response to ensure that we were not going to end up doing more than we should. Too often in the past missionaries have seen a problem and ‘solved it,’ but in the process have damaged the existing systems of recovery and moved people towards dependency. We determined that we must allow the people to recover as they know how to do and aid them in appropriate ways, and not overwhelm them with supplies. Nevertheless, we are part of their community now, welcomed by them and sharing life with them and felt that we should give them a gift from us, and from all the people praying for them around the world. Therefore, after asking the chief about what are the biggest physical needs, I went with another team member to Kapoeta town on Saturday to purchase a few cooking pots and jerrycans as well as food supplies. We also collected salt, soap, clothes and large tins for storage. This morning [Monday 10th – 1 week on], we presented the items to the community and emphasised them as being given in Jesus’ name from people praying for them around the world. I have had a number of people ask about financial contribution. AIM have a South Sudan crisis relief fund, which was put into use in July last year when violence broke out in Juba. Money is collected and wherever possible is administered through the local Church leadership, though this is not yet present among the Laarim. Following the fire we were offered use of this fund that still had money remaining.” Please pray for Laarim that this experience and the generosity of the team would demonstrate to them something of God’s love. Pray too for the team for their ability to balance the desire to help but not to take over. If you’d like to know more about how you can be involved in financial support please email Ben at financeadmin.eu@aimint.org

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