I watched a documentary this week on Darfur, Sudan. A Marine was stationed there for six months in 2004-5. He took stacks and stacks of pictures of the destruction of whole villages, families and property. He shows them to whomever will look and listen.
I wonder if maybe our apathy towards Darfur has to do with the reality that there are so few pictures of the destruction. Journalists are rarely, if ever, let into this region.
This man, however, saw it all.
He saw bodies hacked to death with axes and left unburied to rot in the sun.
He saw woman weep over the loss of their husbands and their dignity as they were gang raped by the Gingaweed.
He saw children wandering aimlessly in IDP camps, with no home, water or food.
He saw enough so that at the end of the video, he spoke about how his dreams for his life had dramatically shifted. He once desired to be able to retire and sail out his days on the ocean.
Now, however, he will continue to beat the drum of the seriousness in Darfur until his drum has worn through and can't make noise any longer.
Jesus says that the Kingdom of God is here. Satan's rule has been bound and he is rendered in operative. But, in places like Darfur, Satan seems to be alive and well and thriving. His rule is very much in operation. So, how can we as Kingdom citizens, help turn this tide?
First, we need to care about their suffering. We need to know what's happening and be able to tell others about it.
Second, we need to pray. Prayer is the first response as strongholds of evil must be broken down so that our efforts can make a difference. I read an article by George Clooney a couple of weeks ago where he says he almost regrets his work in Darfur because whenever attention is drawn to an area by the western world, the destruction seems to dramatically increase.
Third, we need to do something. Missio Lux has chosen to be a mission of light by our call to help Sudanese children get to school. As they get educated, they will have the ability to help stabilize their country. It is the people of Sudan, cooperating with Jesus and his heavenly army, that will see change.
This is the reality for the 21st century, Darfur is our neighbor. And Jesus tells us to love our neighbors. Let's do it.