Darfur peace talks go on, ministry grateful for momentary peace

By November 13, 2007

Sudan (MNN) — It's the third consecutive week of closed door peace talks on Darfur. A successful agreement may depend on the role of a hybrid rebel force.

The lull in the fighting has been good for Christian Reformed World Relief Committee who is working in IDP camps there. "We have, for the last four to five weeks, been able to visit on a regular basis all the base camps from where we work. Also the clinics and the nutrition centers have been relatively open," said Jacob Kramer. 

The peace talks certainly affect their work though it won't stop it. "It means that the uncertainty continues. It means that long-term planning is very, very difficult. We would like to do more in the area of placing people back into the villages. There is no sight to that yet," Kramer explained.   

There are still refugees moving into some IDP camps which means ongoing costs and a lack of programs for resettlement. The repatriation process will likely be moving very slowly with the current status of peace agreements. CRWRC provides food and water and medical needs.  They also help with sanitation and nutrition. 

The civil war has produced a risk for food insecurity. If a food shortage were to occur, it would affect thousands of families. CRWRC monitors this situation to determine courses of action that may need to be taken.    

Emotions and spiritual needs of the teams working in the camps are met with intentional rest periods. The internally displaced who live there also feel the need, however, it is not feasible to organize a church for them. 

"That would have repercussions, but I would say that 85 percent of our staff is involved in regular Bible study and worship meetings," said Kramer.

There are very few Christians in the camps since it a Muslim/Muslim conflict. "We cannot organize any kind of evangelistic outreach in the camps. But the presence, the one-to-one talks, the fact that they know how we are, is certainly a witness." Kramer says the Holy Spirit provides moments where the message of the Gospel can be effectively shared. 

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