Giant Container of Supplies Enroute to South Sudan!
On September 15, a 40-foot container of supplies and equipment valued at nearly $600,000 left for South Sudan. The contents will supply the South Sudan Bible School with nearly all the furnishings for its new buildings! Especially valuable are the included medical supplies and equipment, procured by Dick and Suzi Stephens, which will be used to set up our free clinic on the campus grounds.
All of the container contents were a donation to The Sudan Project. In addition, the shipping cost of over $22,000 was paid for by two generous Christians from the Starfish Foundation.
What a joyous day it will be when the container arrives on the campus in Pajok, South Sudan to be unloaded. This is one of the crucial final details needed to prepare the school and clinic for its anticipated January opening.
The Luxury of Soap
That bar of soap you used once or twice during your last hotel stay might now be helping poor children in South Sudan fight disease! The Atlanta-based Global Soap Project has made one of its largest donations ever to The Sudan Project -- 10,000 bars of soap!
Americans take the presence of soap for granted; but in impoverished countries like South Sudan, it is a luxury beyond the reach of most. For families whose income is about $1 per day, food and medicine must be chosen over a 25-cent bar of soap.
Each year more than 2 million children die from diarrheal illness--the approximate population of San Antonio, Texas. According to the World Health Organization, these deaths occur almost exclusively among toddlers in low-income countries. Many become sick because they can't wash their hands.
This gift of soap to South Sudan will be distributed by Christians to the people of their villages. The donation weighs 2,500 pounds and will be shipped by Healing Hands International of Nashville, Tenn.
The Global Soap Project collects used hotel soap from across the United States. Instead of ending up in landfills, the soaps are cleaned and reprocessed for shipment to impoverished nations.
"Each year, hundreds of millions of soap bars are discarded in North American alone. Throwing away that much soap at the expense of other people who don't have anything? It just doesn't sound right!" says Derreck Kayongo, the founder of GSP. So far, 300 hotels nationwide have joined the collection effort. Volunteers across the U. S. collect the hotel soaps and ship them to the group's warehouse in Atlanta. On Saturdays, Atlanta volunteers assemble there to clean, reprocess and package the bars.
It seems only logical that those who are trying to cleanse the souls of South Sudanese should also be distributing a product that will help cleanse their bodies of potential illness.
Bring on the Bears!
The Old Testament prophet Elisha called down bears in 2 Kings 2 to frighten the disrespectful youth of Bethel. But in our time, bears have become a child's symbol of love and comfort.
That is why Patty Willoughby of the Mt. Juliet, Tenn., Church of Christ and her crew of several hundred women as well as men--from toddlers to 80-year olds--have recently cut, stitched, stuffed and painted smiles on another 300 soft cuddly teddy bears. Their lovable little bears are now sealed in individual plastic bags awaiting shipment to our new medical clinic soon to open in Pajok, South Sudan. They will be especially prized because children in South Sudan seldom own toys.
Patty, a young widow, first started making the colorful little bears about 15 years ago. Someone in her Sunday school class had seen one in an emergency room. After a month of discussing the possibility of their assembling the little bears, Patty, a woman who prefers doing to talking, offered to take the project and run with it. And run with it she did!
In the beginning, she tried to keep a journal of where all their bears went. But thousands of bears later, she gave up. She was too busy making bears!
Many of her bear-makers bring a sack lunch and regularly stay at the church building most of Sunday afternoon creating the one-of-a-kind little bears. Patty only has one criteria. The label on the bears says, "Made with love for you by the Mt. Juliet Church of Christ." So if someone grudgingly offers to help with the bears, she turns them down. "They must be made with love!" she explains.
Many Christian women across the country have made and given similar little bears to hospitals, doctors' offices, police and fire stations across the country. Nursing homes also love them, particularly for their Alzheimer's patients. Disaster Relief has delivered loads of them, and they were given out in New York after 9/11.
But these will be the first bears that we know of going to Sudan. As Patty says, "Teddy bears speak to all languages!" They will be used to comfort the sick children coming to our new free clinic scheduled to open January 1, the same time as our preachers' school.
Although the clinic furnishings, such as examining tables, cabinets and even linens and suture kits, have been donated by a generous foundation and are already on their way to Sudan, some basic medicines are still needed. These include bottles of aspirin, bandages, rubbing alcohol, etc. (We have a list of 27 over-the-counter medicines we can send if you are interested.) If you are in the medical profession and might be able to contribute or have a source for such supplies, please contact us!
If you are a Christian wanting to start a teddy bear ministry in your own congregation, you can send an addressed, stamped envelope to "Teddy Bears" in care of this newsletter. Patty will send you a pattern and instructions for this simple project anyone can do that will help both glorify God and dry the tears of a frightened child.