Big Picture

What if You Were Living the News?

By Yolanda Derstine

When you watch the evening news, do you find world events disturbing? Do they sometimes produce anxiety? Do you wonder what God could be doing in these often horrible situations?

What if you were the one living it?

That was the situation for CEF of South Sudan national missionaries when they found themselves right in the middle of the evening news. Due to the civil war that raged around them, they were forced to flee, leaving behind their homes, offices, belongings, and friends.

Life is hard in the refugee camps. People are packed closely and have next to no belongings. When they arrive, they receive plastic sheeting with which to create their “homes.” According to Francis Candiga, CEF South Sudan national director—also a refugee, “Currently each person receives five kilograms of maize flour and beans and a little bit of cooking oil, which should last for a month and…it can’t. There’s no activity they can do to raise money because their place is very small. They can’t even dig or cultivate.” Diseases spread rapidly in such a tightly packed population, but there is little access to medical help. It is not unusual to see people die almost every day from treatable diseases. Francis said, “Every aspect of life is very difficult.”

Most people would crumble in the face of such circumstances. Certainly, it was hard for the CEF staff, but their trust in God was—and is—strong. It would be easy, and completely understandable, for each of them to spend their days trying to get back all they had lost. But that isn’t their focus.

In spite of the hardships each of them face as refugees, they know they are in the middle of an amazing opportunity to reach children for Christ. Francis and his team have been able to train Sunday school teachers in the camps, and with help from a team from CEF of Kenya, they were even able to train 79 teenagers to reach children in 5-Day Clubs and Good News Clubs in the camps. One person can reach between 200 and 300 children, according to Francis. Some of the teens they have trained have gone on to take Leadership Training Institute, and now four who graduated last year are going to join CEF ministry full-time.

Jesus gives us the Great Commission saying, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19). Sometimes “going” is not in our plans, but God moves us somewhere new and enables us to do His will amid difficult circumstances.

Learn More About CEF Ministry In Refugee Camps