Samaritan’s Purse remains committed to bringing relief and the Good News across the country—even in tough times. The Mayendit region is especially difficult to access, but residents' dire need compels us to be there in Jesus' Name.
Despite many challenges, Samaritan’s Purse continues to carry out major programming from five field bases in South Sudan. Our relief efforts are focused on water and sanitation, healthcare, food assistance, nutrition, food security and livelihoods, and continuing partnerships with local churches. We’re there in Jesus’ Name and eager to share the Gospel.
With a long history and commitment to South Sudan, spanning more than 20 years, Samaritan’s Purse has built trust with government leaders, churches, and the many people we’ve helped.
Reaching Mayendit Despite the Obstacles
In Mayendit—a region in the central part of the country that has experienced years of war—the environment is challenging: there are violent clashes, impassable roads, and flooded airstrips that prevent aircraft from delivering critical supplies. These difficulties have even resulted in some areas experiencing famine conditions as recently as last year.
Our teams help people throughout the area with water and sanitation services, nutrition activities, farming, and food assistance—though political instability can frequently disrupt humanitarian operations.
Recently the positive reputation Samaritan’s Purse has gained in South Sudan was recognized by local leaders. With assurances of safe passage and protection for our staff—and hopes for peace in 2018—one Mayendit official said, “Samaritan’s Purse is a special gift from God to our community.”
That sentiment is shared among beneficiaries of Samaritan’s Purse projects in Mayendit. Consider Martha who leads a farming group. Samaritan’s Purse food security and livelihoods team recognized a need for farmers to improve their planting methods. The team trained lead farmers who then taught other farmers how to more productively plant seeds by dividing their gardens according to the crop.
“Before the Samaritan’s Purse team came, we just scattered the vegetable seeds all over the ground,” Martha explained. “Now we have learned how to categorize our gardens by [greens], eggplant, and okra. We can consume our food and take it to the market to sell. This project is the power of God; it is together with God.”
Farming groups have become critical to survival for many who can now feed their families healthy food and provide income by selling excess crops in the local markets.
God Is Blessing This Work
Sarah, a mother of five in Mayendit, has received food through Samaritan’s Purse and the World Food Program since 2014. Before then, Sarah and four of her children were malnourished and lacked basic necessities. Conditions were so hard she considered migrating to another place in search of food.
Over the past four years, Sarah has not worried about how she will feed her family. Participating in the food assistance and nutrition programs has offered some stability for her family and improved their health. Her children even attend school regularly now.
Sarah is also grateful for the support Samaritan’s Purse lends to local churches by providing building materials, training church leaders, and teaching Biblical literacy. Sarah, a student in the Biblical Literacy and Discipleship course, is learning about God’s Word, and she prays with her children every morning.
“Before Samaritan’s Purse came, we did not know about God’s Word and had no place to go to learn,” Sarah said. “But now, since they have come, we are learning about the Gospel.”
Other work in Mayendit is helping to improve infrastructure. One significant project is the ongoing rehabilitation of a nearby airstrip. We have recently been able to use it in delivering lifesaving supplies during the wet season, which has already begun and lasts for several months.
Local leaders are so pleased with how Samaritan’s Purse is serving their community they have requested programs expand to reach more people in the area.
“All over South Sudan, people often show appreciation for the work of Samaritan’s Purse and we thank God for the reputation that has been built here from the efforts of previous teammates,” said Country Director Mark Bennett. “God continues to bless this work and, with His provision, we want to build on the opportunities we have through those good relationships to bless more people and take the hope of Jesus Christ wherever we serve.”