- (Photo: AP Photo / Jerome Delay)
Refugee pastors are asking Christians to pray for peace between Sudan and South Sudan.
The pastors were forced to flee their homes and walk for days to reach the safety of refugee camps. Abraham Rehan, pastor of a Sudan Interior Church (SIC), said: "It took us nine days to get here and we felt so bad having to leave all our things behind."
More than 20 SIC churches have had to close their doors and flee to the refugee camps. They make up some of the 120,000 people who have now fled the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile state, where a humanitarian crisis looms.
Despite the upheaval, Christians in the camps continue to meet for worship and study under the shade of trees. The pastors meet regularly to pray and discuss how they can best respond to the practical and spiritual needs of the thousands of refugees in the camps. The thousands arriving at the camps are in need of water, shelter, healthcare and food.
Samaritan's Purse has been helping in the camps since they were established. The charity is helping to feed 90,000 refugees in the Doro and Jamam refugee camps in Mbane State. Its teams are working up to 12 hours at a time to distribute maize and sorghum, beans and oil.
The only hospital in the Doro region is being overseen by a Samaritan's Purse doctor. The hospital is providing surgery to wounded soldiers and civilians, while an outpatient clinic is treating malaria. There is also a stabilization center for people suffering from acute malnutrition.
One 18-month-old was brought to the centre by her mother just over a week ago, suffering from malaria and pneumonia. She was lethargic and unable to eat or drink anything. After receiving treatment, she gained weight and was discharged.
Health and nutrition coordinator Kelly Now said: "One of the most rewarding things is when we see change."
At the Yida refugee camp, home to around 30,000 refugees, Samaritan's Purse is operating water pumps.
In the Nuba Mountains, the charity is running a child protection centre for unaccompanied girls. More than 500 girls are receiving food, shelter and water at the centre.
Child protection officer Gaby Ovington said many of the girls had to flee their boarding school because of bombardments.
"We're also teaching them life skills and providing counseling to help them deal with the trauma they've been through," she said.
Asked how Christians could pray for people in Sudan and South Sudan, Pastor Rehan said: "We need prayer for peace here, so we can go back home. Please also pray that our communities will hold strongly onto faith in Christ and pray for so many people who are sick."
Samaritan's Purse UK Executive Director Simon Barrington said: "My heart has been broken by being here and I know that God's heart is broken too. We need to act now so that these people will get the food, shelter, water and healthcare that they need and to advocate for peace in the region so that people can return home. So please pray for these pastors and our teams here in your Church this Sunday as they continue to meet both these vital practical as well as spiritual needs."