Sudan turns down peace efforts; Open Doors USA launches awareness campaign.

By September 5, 2006

Sudan (MNN)–Sudan has rejected a United Nations’ peacekeeper resolution. That leaves efforts to stop the genocide in Darfur uncertain.

The U.N. Security Council approved a long-sought resolution that would place an expanded peacekeeping force in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region.

The mandate would only go forward upon Sudan’s approval…and, predictably, the Khartoum government said ‘no’, citing sovereignty issues.

While the politicians are in a stalemate, the fighting continues. So far, it has cost two thousand villages, 450,000 lives and two million homes.

Open Doors’ Advocacy Coordinator Lindsay Vessey says Christians are becoming more aware of Sudan’s tragedy, both in the South and in Darfur.

Open Doors USA is part of the Save Darfur Coalition. They’re launching the 10-Days of Prayer and Action for Sudan campaign this Thursday.

First, they’re mobilizing more prayer to: “…connect the persecuted church with the Western church. The second thing, I would say, is that we are doing an email campaign to the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and reminding him if what’s happening to Christians in Sudan.”

Vessey says the campaign is an opportunity to take action in solidarity. “We all are the body of Christ and often, in the Western Church, we tend to think of ‘us’ and ‘them’. It’s not really an ‘us’ and ‘them’ situation Christ called us to care for our own, and there’s nothing better we can do than to support them when they’re in a difficult time.”

Often believers are harassed and threatened throughout Sudan. They are also forbidden from evangelism, though Muslims are granted such religious rights.

A Christian caught proselytizing can be punished by death, although more often, it’s social ostracism and intimidation meted out as punishment.

What can you do? Vessey says pray. “Persecuted Christians all around the world, the first thing they ask for is prayer.”

During September 7-17, millions are expected to hold vigils calling attention to the Sudanese tragedy. Open Doors USA is offering daily prayer points for each of the 10 days in this campaign.

The highlight will be the Day of Prayer and Fasting for Sudan, Sunday, September 17. Requests from Open Doors field workers can be found here.

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