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“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others”

~ John Maxwell

Peter Lomago and Anthony LolikK w indigenous leaders

I first met Peter Lomago and Anthony Lolik some 20 years ago. The above John Maxwell quote sums up the kind of men they are.

They don’t know any famous people and I doubt that any famous people have ever heard of them. They have no earthly power to wield. They work hard to barely scrape by from month-to-month to provide care for the 415 orphans they have fed, educated, housed, and cared for day in and day out—with the help of 71 staff members including teachers, cooks, security guards, and cleaners—for the last many years.

They and the orphans they care for live in South Sudan, one of the top four most dangerous and deprived countries in the world. They are educated teachers in a country where only a small percentage of the population ever learns to read or sign their name.

Due to their education, they could easily immigrate to a much safer country, however, they feel the call of God on their lives to raise up a generation of Christian leaders to transform their country. A big dream for huge hearts which is coming true through the orphanage these two brave men lead, Hope for South Sudan.  (HFSS)

These godly men risk their lives every day, but there is one story that stands out in my mind. A few years ago, a former leader of HFSS, Romano, decided he wanted to overrun the orphan compound and use the wonderful buildings we had built for his own financial gain.

This corrupt man spread lies that Peter and Anthony were in cahoots with the rebels and militia. The government threw Peter into prison. As soon as I received word of this, I immediately called James Lual Atak. James was our first indigenous leader in South Sudan. James, having been conscripted as a child soldier at the tender age of nine, has many ties with both the legitimate soldiers and the South Sudanese government—all the way up to the president of South Sudan.

I flew to HFSS and James left the orphanage he leads, New Life Ministry, and met me at HFSS. We labored for many days to rescue Peter from prison without success—until James was finally able to get word to the President, who immediately wrote a letter to the governor over the region of HFSS. He ordered Peter’s release, which happened promptly.

When James and I were trying to return home, we were held hostage for four days by Romano, the corrupt former leader of HFSS, and the militia that he hired. Again, James’ connections were finally able to make secure passage for us along the five-mile-dirt, rut-riddled road from HFSS to the dirt airstrip where our missionary pilot was to meet us. We returned home safely.

Without the financial support and prayers of thousands of donors who responded quickly as I called them, and James’ connections and willingness to stand with his brothers, God only knows what would have happened to Peter and all the orphans at HFSS.

Although I have not visited him in several years, Peter called me a few days ago to thank me for facilitating his release from prison along with James and all the donors who gave on behalf of HFSS. Then yesterday he told me that his wife and little girl are both so sick that he had to carry them to Uganda for medical care, as there is scant in South Sudan.

He also tells me that Romano is still in the village making threats and false accusations, scheming to this day to steal HFSS for himself. Former teachers have confirmed this to me. Yet, Peter, Anthony, and the entire staff of HFSS remain steadfast in their calling to care for some of the world’s most vulnerable orphans who are often trafficked or conscripted into the military.

          Lift up the Vulnerable is the non-profit that now provides the sole support for all 415 orphans and 71 staff at HFSS, as well as New Life Ministry with many more orphans than HFSS, and a third orphanage Our Father’s Cleft (OFC) in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, led my Ezekiel Ayoub.

One of the pictures above is of me, with James Lual Atak standing behind me. Ezkiel Ayoub (Director of OFC) is on the far right and on the far left is Eugenio Karima, who was with James and I as we were all three held hostage at HFSS by Romano and his hired guns. The picture was taken in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, where we were bombed almost daily during our stay. The other is of Peter Lomago and Anthony Lolik, leaders of HFSS.

Lift Up the Vulnerable is led by Audrey Moore. I have known Audrey for almost 25 years, was her spiritual director for a time, and trust her integrity completely. Please check out their website and make your tax-free donation today.

Love, your sister along the journey, +k

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