when “peace on earth” is more than a christmas card

DSC02454{Michele here, guest posting from Florida. This was originally posted over on fromtheunpavedroad.com.}

She has grown so much, standing there reaching tall to touch the stars and the star with them.  This little one who came a bundle of giggles and nestled herself right into my heart the first 6 years of her life.  Now seven and still wielding victorious joy, she has stretched out long and lean, with a smile that can still light the dark and my heart all at the same time.  I may live thousands of miles away now and be in a new season of pioneering back in the West but these children will always have my heart.  The more we give away, the more truly find we have in this upside-down, inside-out Kingdom.  And I gave my heart away there only to find it came back to me, with all of my children and the peoples of this newest nation forever living within it.

12-17-2013-Civilian-UNMISS
Photo from the UNMISS compound, Juba South Sudan.

This week 20,000 war beleaguered souls, mostly women and children, crushed their way through the gates at the UNMISS compound in Juba to escape an alleged coup attempt that rapidly escalated into ethnic fighting.  Tonight it is threatening to swallow whole any thin facade of peace there was on this battle worn soil.  I have stood right there, in the middle of that photo.  It makes all the difference once standing on this patch of earth. I know these buildings, these gates, this red, red ground.

These faces all have names. Bol, Dut, Victor, Mary, Susan and I am sure a plethora of Johns.  These tall noble people have weathered so much for so long.  And now this.  Violence has been simmering and the nation a powder-keg waiting for one misplaced spark.  So the fighting is not entirely unexpected.  But it is still serious.  Deeply serious.  In any other season of my life, I would have been on a plane there yesterday.  {And truthfully, a big part of me wishes I was.}

For so many I love so deeply a world away “peace on earth” isn’t just a nice greeting we dust off to use in Christmas cards.  For them, “peace on earth” is everything.  And lasting peace can only come on earth as the Prince of peace reigns in our hearts.  So would you, this Christmas season, join me in praying for my family in Yei, South Sudan?  And if God might lead you, they need every bit of support possible right now. {Things were already tight, but the shadow of potential violence makes normal expenses multiply exponentially- especially with borders being closed.  I happen to know they are some of the best soil out there to sow into.}  You can GIVE HERE.

Here are some of the most balanced links I have found to current articles covering the escalation in violence, in case you’d like some more details.  Please feel free to contact me {Michele} if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to either answer them or point you in an appropriate direction.  Thank you for standing with us, now and always.  It means more than I can say.