On May 4th Nasir was finally taken by government troops.

This did not come as a surprise to anyone, as Nasir had been the headquarters and recruiting grounds for the rebel forces for months, but the news still hurt. We were so thankful to hear that there were few civilian casualties (unlike other clashes in the past few months), but my heart still grieves with those who fled their homes, many traveling for days on foot to reach the refugee camps.

We heard the news on a Sunday afternoon in Ethiopia, and we spent our normal team devotion time praying for Nasir. Slowly we were joined by friends: Mary Nyakuoth, a Bible school student, and Nyatet and Mulan, teenage girls who live nearby. We took turns singing and praying in English and Nuer, and we read Psalm 46 together:

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. […] He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; […] Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

A week later we heard that following the fighting many compounds in Nasir were looted, including ours. Although we haven’t seen the damage, it was reported that what wasn’t taken was intentionally destroyed. We don’t know which side was responsible for the looting, and it really doesn’t matter. I’m asking God to help me to forgive those who have taken our belongings and praying that the things taken would be a blessing to them. I’m thankful that our treasure is in heaven “where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

Although in many ways I feel helpless in the face of this conflict, I am thankful for the privilege of being here during this time, meeting friends and colleagues as they come across the border. In a very small way, we are able to share in their sufferings: rejoicing with those who rejoice and mourning with those who mourn.

My prayer is that a lasting peace will come swiftly, for the glory of God and the good of all the people of South Sudan.