Seed Effect in South Sudan
September 11, 2015 § Leave a comment
As if I haven’t written enough about my recent trip to South Sudan…here’s another post!
This one’s a bit different than my usual reflective ramblings, however. I wrote this short piece for my church, All Saints Church Dallas (a church I love, for any Dallasites looking for a place to go). It’s a straightforward explanation of what Seed Effect is doing in South Sudan. You can read it on All Saints’ blog. I’ve also pasted it below.
In August, I traveled to South Sudan on a mission trip with Seed Effect, a Christian microfinance nonprofit based in Dallas.
From what you might hear on the news, South Sudan is the last place in the world an American woman should go. Two tribes in the country’s oil-rich north are fighting. Recently, The New York Times reported such atrocities as gang-raping women, burning families in their huts, and kidnapping elementary-aged boys to train as child soldiers.
Despite all of this, each of us who went felt a call from God, a call to go, a call to serve. After all, He calls us to make disciples everywhere, including the hardest of places, places like South Sudan.
So, we packed our bags and traveled the two-day journey to Kajo Keji, one of three towns in South Sudan where Seed Effect operates.
Kajo Keji is a beautiful dirt road town in the southern part of South Sudan, where the violence in the north hasn’t reached. It is lush and green, with rolling cornfields and leafy trees. Goats are tied to stakes along the road. Many South Sudanese live in mud huts with thatched roofs. Children collect well water in plastic buckets. Women cook on clay stoves with babies strapped to their backs. Men ride motorcycles through the center of town.
Seed Effect is a microfinance organization, which provides low-interest loans of around $150 each to South Sudanese entrepreneurs to invest in their businesses. These businesses are rudimentary. Many consist of selling produce like dry beans, avocados, and cabbages on tarps in the market.
The loans provide capital for these entrepreneurs to purchase the goods they sell, empowering them to lift themselves out of poverty. As a Christian nonprofit, Seed Effect couples this with evangelism. Their clients hear the gospel every time they meet with a loan officer, which is about once a week. Through Seed Effect, many South Sudanese have come to know the Lord.
In Kajo Keji, we interviewed these clients and prayed with them. Their stories are incredible. The first woman we met had malaria; another had typhoid; another had a three-year-old granddaughter with malaria. Indeed, in South Sudan these diseases are rather like the common cold.
It’s hard to imagine extreme poverty, violence, and disease existing alongside strong faith, generosity, and joy, but that’s how the South Sudanese are. They are hardworking, and they love God. They praise Him and thank Him more than almost anyone I know, with fewer reasons than anyone I know.
It was a privilege to serve them, and let them serve us in return. I would recommend Seed Effect to anyone looking for a way to become involved in evangelism, feeding the hungry, and clothing the poor.
For more information, visit their website www.seedeffect.org.
*Photos by fellow Seed Effect volunteers.