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What They Asked for in Sudan, by Josh MacLeod


This was my second trip into Darfur. The war and genocide in this region has caused many shortages. There is a shortage of food. There is very little clean water. Medicine is extremely hard to come by. There is however one thing that is not in short supply: guns and ammunition. Soldiers walking around with AK-47’s are a constant reminder that the war in Darfur is not over. Hundreds of thousands go without clean water and millions are without a home.

How do the people victimized by the genocide respond? What are they asking for?

I was asked for three things while visiting Darfur. The first request came from the local church. Having brought a guitar on the trip, I shared a few songs to a congregation worshipping under a thatched roof hut.

One of the songs that I sang was “Jesus loves me this I know”. After the service, the pastor of the church came with a request. “Can you teach me how to sing that song? We are going to use that at our church!”. I spent the afternoon teaching the pastor how to sing and play “Jesus loves me”. At the end of the trip I gave the guitar to the pastor’s son. The first thing I was asked for on my trip was to learn a song about Jesus.

The following day I received a second request. Having driven for hours through the bush, we came to a river where a community of people had assembled after fleeing genocide.

With no clean water, I watched as a young man drank from the muddy riverbank.

In an effort to bring joy, I again pulled out my guitar and began to sing. After a while, I asked the children to sing me their favorite song. “We don’t have any songs,” replied one of the children. I know that singing is a vibrant part of Sudanese culture so I asked again. But the boy only replied, “We forgot our songs.” The horror of being forced from their homes and losing their parents caused these sweet children to forget how to sing. After developing a friendship with the boy who said he had forgotten how to sing, I received my second request. The boy looked at me and asked, “Can you give me one bible?” I was surprised by this request. “Can you read English?” I said. He assured me that he could and one of our team members Alec gave him a bible. He was very grateful for the gift. The second thing I was asked for was a bible.



On the final day of my journey, I was out on the dirt strip airfield hoping to catch some video of our plane landing. A young boy came up asked me to sing one of the songs that I made up during the trip. After singing he asked me a question. “Are you coming back tomorrow?” I shook my head and told him that I wouldn’t be back the next day.  I then received my third and last request from this trip. “When you come back, can you please bring me one book?” Having visited the “school” in the area, I already knew that they didn’t have any books. I promised to bring a book when I come again. The third thing asked for was a book.

I believe that what we ask for shows our heart. In their petitions, I saw strength, dignity, hope and focus on what is true and right. I was impacted that rather than asking for food and clothing, the people of Darfur were asking for a song to sing, a bible to read and knowledge to be gained. Even as Solomon asked for wisdom instead of riches and was blessed with both, I pray that the same scenario will be played out in Darfur.

I created the following slideshow shortly after returning from my trip:

Will you please contact me about giving instruments, bibles and books to the children in Darfur?

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