Nick Kristoff

courage is found in unlikley places

Photo credit: World Relief, South Sudan

Photo credit: World Relief, South Sudan

The next few months are especially critical in South Sudan. The UN is saying nearly 5 million people are “severely food insecure” and, with harvest still three months away, the situation is likely to deteriorate further. In his latest column about South Sudan, "Starvation as a product of war," Nick Kristoff describes what happens when kids begin to starve:

They show no emotions: They do not cry or smile or frown, but simply gaze blankly, their bodies unwilling to waste a calorie on emotion when every iota of energy must go to keep major organs functioning.

My colleagues in South Sudan say World Relief is only NGO still operating in Koch county, which is near the epicenters of the conflict. We plan to continue to serve the needs of the population in accordance with our mission providing we can continue to do so within our defined boundaries of security for our staff. My colleagues in South Sudan are profoundly dedicated to serving those most affected by the war.

They inspire me.

Last week, my colleagues in South Sudan were able to reach Koch County by helicopter with survival kits, high-energy biscuits, and medical supplies. Tragically, last week, the team was ambushed during one of these humanitarian drops. Three men were killed, and another 12 were seriously injured. Among the injured was one of our colleagues from the Koch County Health Department, Mr. Stephen Gatkoi. Stephen is a nurse and was assisting World Relief by providing medical care to people in hiding. He suffered a bullet to his left shoulder and lost a significant amount of blood. Thankfully, he and the other injured were able to be lifted to a Red Cross hospital and are receiving treatment. Stephen is expected to fully recover.

War brings out the worst of humanity, but it also brings out the best. The courage of my colleagues in South Sudan is stunning. So is their love for God and their fellow people. Their perseverance and fortitude in the face of overwhelming evil gives me courage too—courage to pray, give and tell the story of South Sudan. JRR Tolkien says, "Courage is found in unlikely places." True for South Sudan, and true for you and me too. 

Click here to learn more about the tragedy in South Sudan, as well as Word Relief's response.