"What would you say to someone who is hesitant to invest in Sudan's schools or health clinics given the likelihood that violence will return to Sudan?" My colleague was addressing Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul of the Episcopal Church of Sudan during a Lambeth roundtable on the church's needs in his country. Archbishop Deng replied, "It is only by building schools and health clinics and supporting sustainable agriculture that we will have a chance that peace will come at last in Sudan."
My colleague expressed what many of us were thinking. We worry about investing in infrastructure that may be destroyed by the violence of militias; we wanted reassurances. Yet Deng's response was compelling. He pointed to the significance of visible institutions that form and support Christian leadership and care, thus bearing witness to God's healing, redemptive love. He knows his people need them.
I found my heart breaking as I talked with Sudanese leaders who told stories of recurrent violence and of battalions mobilizing in violation of the fragile peace agreement. Would elections be held as planned? What would make the most sense in the face of so much violence?
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