South Sudan (MNN) — South Sudan gained independence on July 9, 2011. The people were ecstatic to be free of a northern region which oppressed and fought. But the three-month old nation is now struggling in its infancy.
South Sudan quickly earned a name as the nation with "highest infant mortality rate on the planet," according to Africa Inland Mission. There is little access to healthcare.
Longed-for peace has eluded the nation, as well. While some regions are indeed peaceful, others remain in all-out war, especially along the Sudan border.
The most recent crisis announcements surround the nation's food resources. The UN warns that within the next year, South Sudan is likely to face chronic food shortages.
According to The Guardian, the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) said South Sudan will likely produce 420,000 to 500,000 metric tons of food this year, only half the required amount. It is estimated that 1.2 million people will be "severely food-insecure" next year, compared with the 970,000 last year.
AIM reports persecution as well, against those who fought for independence, and the church as well.
Yet, in the midst of what has turned out to be a messy birth, there is some reason to celebrate in South Sudan. The nation has a large population of Christians. Joshua Project findings show that nearly 60% of the population is part of a formative church, and 22% are part of an established, significant church. That leaves only 18% of the nation unreached.
Still, it may be hard to reach them in such strenuous times.
AIM has missionaries in South Sudan, including the Hildebrandts who are preparing to move to Juba, the nation's capital. Pray for this missionary family to be a beacon of hope and love through practical outreach and wise counsel. Pray that the local church will stand strong and that they will continue to spread the hope of Jesus during this time of suffering and persecution.
AIM workers will continue to spread the Good News in South Sudan, regardless of the country's outlook. You can help with this mission at www.aimint.org.