“Teachers have Identified opportunities for God to be glorified through their love of children.”
Over 750 at risk displaced children from 17 different tribes attend School in the heart of South Sudan thanks to MERCY PARTNERS empowering Gudele Church with sustainable aid. War orphans and child soldiers now have a future beyond war because of the loving guidance of their sacrificial Sudanese teachers who remain despite their personal sacrifices.
Why do the teachers remain? Because it is the Christ within by whom they have received freedom which their world cannot provide.
“We are no longer traveling in a vision of our own, but in a revelation. The same effectiveness that Paul and Barnabas experienced, we have experienced. Where the North American missionary brings change, the native evangelist brings authenticity. The people in conflict zones have suffered greatly, and those whom our Lord has pulled from the heap of humanity have spoken of the marvelous mercies of Christ. By establishing a school in the midst of conflict, all have access and we operate as a wholistic ministry rather than cherry-picking on the best and brightest. This brings mercy in the life-giving name of Jesus."
- Peter L.
Inspired by observing how small contributions make a difference when combined with the savings of others, Mickey Witcher suggested a type of bank that could allow Christian’s "change" to Change a Child's Life. Thus, PROJECT MERCY BEAR was born! MERCY BEAR is a way that your coins undergird the financial needs of the 750 returnee children in Gudele. Although it may not seem like much, pocket change can provide real change in the lives of children. Mickey became our first "Bear Tamer" and now you can join him. 100% of the change collected from the MERCY BEAR banks directly assists vulnerable, displaced children of South Sudan.
“bridging the Gender gap For God's grace to be Evident.”
Female empowerment has traditionally been led by Western women who may have felt as though they themselves had been victims. Understandably, we tend to have a passion for the very things that we have been freed from. It is a human tendency to overcompensate for issues that we hold dear. This may cause an out-of-balance wobble in compassionate care that can further embed a mindset of being a victim. Many remain in the dark about the gender divide which further causes alienation and is counterproductive to gender equality. To address the divide, Tom and Sandie designed character lessons to reconcile the gender gap. Their Gender Reconciliation initiative provides valuable instruction and guidance for both boys and girls to have mutual respect for one another and recognize apparent physiological differences that the world desires to blur. This concept is becoming a core program of MERCY PARTNERS' work.
“I had believed that men are taken to be superior to women in my village because women are meant to be in the kitchen in the garden and to take care of children while I believed that men just sit down and wait for food since they supply the money for feeding. I now understand that each of us has different jobs that take place at different times. My first understanding was poisoned by the culture I was born in because if a woman gives birth to a boy, the culture celebrates but if it is a girl then the woman is left to sort herself. Christian culture is not like that. Women empowerment classes have told us we have special rights, this is not true either. In God's word within the letter to the Galatians, it is written that in Christ's family there can be no division of male and female. We are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ, although we may have different roles, tasks, and duties.“
While working on the compound of an orphanage, Tom noticed that western culturalization began to influence the orphans. Young girls would receive extra attention while the boys in Sudan began to harbor resentment towards them. To address the divide, Tom and Sandie designed character lessons to address reconcile the gender gap, which springboarded the Gender Reconciliation Initiative.
"Whatever we are assisting in — financial need, emotional stress, physical obstacle or spiritual difficulty — there remains something that an individual can do for themselves."
One of the many tasks while working with children is art therapy. In fact, art therapy is a crucial part of helping the next generation navigate through very difficult emotions so that balance and harmony can be restored thus preventing the cycle of conflict from reoccurring. Life for these children has been difficult as they have seen the worst that humanity can dish out. Many have never held a crayon. When providing the means of creativity they begin to work through some of their life experiences. Pictures often depict attempts to climb trees to keep from hyena attacks. As time progresses images of freedom, protection, and play come about with an instinctive artistic gesture that is normally attributed to "African art." Smiles replace hollow stares as pictures change from guns and wild beasts to footballs and frisbees.
Jacob (pictured above) once drew depictions of attacks from militias upon his unarmed village. He has seen his people burnt alive in fiery thatched huts from attackers with torches. After discussing the biblical account of "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the Fiery Furnace" found in Daniel 3, Jacob drew a picture that presented the trio giving God praise with Christ in the middle of the furnace. Through art therapy, hope is found in suffering!
It began in 2007 with a Google image search for the topic "Humanitarian." Tom was researching the word Humanitarian due to an artist grant offered by the George Sugarman Foundation whose credentials of submission required artwork to have a "Humanitarian" thrust. Images of Darfur filled the screen of his computer of bones strewn across the Sahara, faces of children with a hollowness in their eyes, women with scars from their flesh melting when their village was torched. A simple artistic research project had turned into a pull at the heart. Tom understood that stability is essential for children that have experienced the traumatic events associated with genocide, so he began our Art Therapy program.
HOW TO HELP
MERCY BEAR &
Provide needed supplies to at-risk children with the help of a mercy bear or donation of school benches
The underwriting curriculum provides spiritual education and character lessons which will impact generations in East and North Africa.
MAKE ART KIT
Build an “art kit” that will be bundled with our healing packet. You can help by providing an Art Kit.
Charitable donations give mercy wings and allow transport of aid in conflict zones and mobilize our service programs and health clinics.
"Education without Christ centered teachings makes clever devils." - Tom Kilian
After two weeks of working on the compound of a western relief organization, I came to understand that western education had been perceived as a surrogate for spiritual salvation. If we think about it, we should not be surprised when you think of how the doctrine of “health and wealth” permeate our culture, churches, and educational institutes which are held in high esteem as though they are temples. God’s people need to approach the need of humanity in a practical way. God will not allow suffering to go unnoticed and without meaning; we just need to keep first things first. It was 2011, we were under a tin roof propped up with tree branches cleaning up after our first medical clinics which cared for hundreds. Heat radiated from the Sudan ground like a panting dog. My brother said “let us begin a school here and teach the children” having witnessed the toxicity that education brings when not coupled with knowledge of a savior I resisted the idea...