Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Headed to SUDAN next week

Next week I am am headed back to the dark continent: AFRICA. We will be ministering in Sudan. I will be traveling with seasoned traveler/mentor Sammy Tippet learning the ropes of ministering in dark and dangerous places. My trip will be mostly an observation trip with a couple speaking engagements along the way. Sammy Tippet seems to be one of the few out there who shares my heartbeat to reach the lost in the darkest of dark unreached regions.

Largest Country in Africa
Sudan means: Land of the Blacks
70% Muslim 25% Animist 5% Christian
Median age 18

Civil war was sparked in 1983 when the military regime tried to impose sharia law as part of its overall policy to "Islamicize" all of Sudan.

DAFUR (pictured above)
The often talked about Dafur is located in Sudan. Darfur is about the size of Texas and has a population of 6 million; the majority are Muslim and have African features. Below is some of the DAFUR's recent history.

The three largest African tribes in Darfur are the Fur, the Masalit and the Zaghawa. Most people of African descent in Darfur are farmers, and most people of Arab descent in Darfur are nomadic herders. There is fierce competition for land between herders and farmers, including violent battles between Fur farmers and Arab herders from 1987 to 1989. This competition has fueled the present conflict in Darfur.

Since 2003, violence in Darfur -- called ethnic cleansing by some and genocide by others -- has left an estimated 50,000 to 80,000 dead and an estimated 1.2 million to 2 million people displaced. Survivors face severe shortages of food and clean water.

In 2003 a new rebellion spawned in the western province of Darfur when ethnically African rebel groups, including the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA), attacked military installations. The SLA's attack was rooted both in its belief that the government was neglecting Darfur and in its objections to the government's preference for hiring ethnic Arabs as top government officials.

The Sudanese government has enlisted Janjaweed -- armed nomads from the north -- to attack villages that ostensibly harbored rebels. Attacks usually follow a pattern: Government planes bomb villages in Darfur, then, within hours, Janjaweed ride in on horses or camels to pillage homes and rape and murder civilians. The Sudanese government maintains that the Janjaweed are acting independently, without government support.