Our mother died because she ran too slow

Post Summary: 

Today is World Refugee Day: a day of awareness and renewed committments to help those displaced by conflict and disaster.

Our team recently traveled to South Sudan, where they met a family of four siblings, orphaned and displaced by war.

Read their story.

***

It was one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard a child say: “Our mother died because she ran too slow.”

I was in South Sudan where today, 2 million of 11 million people have been displaced by civil conflict.

The newest country in the world is also the most vulnerable in the world, displacing Somalia this year at the top of the list of most fragile.

11-year-old Abuk Deng Gop has no time to be fragile.

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    Love in the name of Christ

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    Would you like to know what great love looks like? Great love that inspires a man to lay down his life for his friends?

    This incredible story of courage was told to me by my colleague, Paul Otto, a Ugandan water engineer in South Sudan

    ***

    Paul grew up in a World Vision-supported refugee camp in Gulu, northern Uganda. His nephew was sponsored by World Vision as a child.

    He told me the story of Rich Moseanko, an American relief worker with World Vision since 1990.

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      Syria crisis: Stand up for children living in the margins

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      Our videographer Nathan Shain traveled to Lebanon this spring to visit Syrian refugee families. He was so moved by his experience, that he set up a personalized fundraising page to support our relief efforts.

      See Nathan's Instagram photos and a new video from his trip, and learn how you can set up your own fundraising page!

      ***

      This last March, I spent almost two weeks visiting and shooting stories with Syrian children and families that had their lives uprooted in the most violent way and now live in tents and abandoned buildings as refugees.

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        Where is the Church?

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        Our Chief Catalyst Steve Haas just returned from visiting Syrian refugees and Christian leaders in Lebanon.

        “In light of the greatest migration of refugee people in our lifetime, the Church is standing in a critical gap, showing the love and compassion of Christ to their neighbor.”

        But do we care enough? Are we doing enough?

        ***

        “God heard our prayers,” the Lebanese pastor shared, dressed in a grey suit and tie in stark contrast to our more casual attire—having just walked through a muddy informal tent settlement (ITS) of over 600 Syrian refugees. “We have long asked the Lord to give us Syrians so that we could show them His love, and we are drowning in them today.” To illustrate, he moved his open palm to mark a spot just below his nose to show a make-believe waterline.

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          Nepal earthquake: Strangers wanted her little boys

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          A week after Nepal's deadly earthquake, families are still living out in the open, in tents, in the cold, afraid of aftershocks and returning to unstable, damaged homes.

          A few days ago, a stranger approached Kanchi, a mother of three, and asked to adopt her two boys.

          See how World Vision works to protect children from a variety of dangers after disaster strikes.

          ***

          After surviving Nepal’s deadly earthquake, Kanchi, a mother of three, says that her family faced another danger: Strangers wanted her two little boys.

          Strangers approached her and her husband two days after the powerful tremor shattered their lives. After losing their home, the family lived out in the rubble-strewn streets. That’s where the strangers found them.

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            Nepal earthquake: Up close and personal

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            World Vision U.S. staffer Matt Stephens was in Nepal last week for a conference. On Saturday, he was standing in Durbar Square in Bhaktapur where the photo above was taken.

            Half an hour later, a 7.8 earthquake struck, toppling the temple behind him. Experience this disaster and World Vision's response through his eyes.

            ***

            At 11:40 on Saturday morning, I was sitting with two World Vision colleagues on a rooftop café enjoying the views of Durbar square in Nepal’s historic city of Bhaktapur. Less than 10 minutes later, an earthquake like none seen in this country since 1934 ravaged the historic city and much of the rest of the country—leaving the places and the lives of the people here forever changed.

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              Living in a conflict zone

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              As humanitarian development work makes progress against poverty, extreme poverty is receding into the margins: places where disasters, conflict, and other causes push communities from being resilient to vulnerable.

              See what it's like to grow up and work in conflict zones first-hand from one of our aid-workers in Iraq.

              ***

              My first taste of what it feels like to live in a conflict zone was in the 70s, growing up in Mindanao, the Philippines’ southernmost island, which has been plagued by conflict for more than 300 years between different separatist and militant groups. Over time, the players in the conflict have changed, but the struggle continues. I have lived in a conflict zone for all 50 years of my life.

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                South Sudan: An invitation to pray

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                After a severe famine in 1998 and a 2011 war for independence, the people of the new South Sudan remain in extreme vulnerability through renewed conflict and food insecurity.

                On Sunday, our writer/photographer team Kari Costanza and Jon Warren fly to Juba to visit our work among the families displaced by conflict.

                See what they're expecting and hoping to find on this visit, and how you can help support them.

                ***

                In 1998, it felt as if the world was falling apart. Kosovo was at war—a war that would cost more than 13,000 lives. Hurricane Mitch had pummeled Honduras and Nicaragua, taking 19,000 more. Southern Sudan was gripped in famine and the death toll was devastating. More than 70,000 men, women, and children died of starvation.

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                  Syrian children: “The future depends on us”

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                  Growing up in conflict, displaced, and as refugees, the children of Syria have become a vulnerable generation—at risk of being lost altogether—without access to the things they need to be successful in life.

                  The future doesn't belong only to the children who grow up in peace.

                  It belongs to every child.

                  ***

                  Missing school takes its toll. On Monday, my 14-year-old daughter, Shelby, called me from school as I was driving to work. She’d thrown up. I turned around, picked her up, got her home and into bed. I missed meetings.

                  My day was in a tailspin. And, as mothers do, I worried. Shelby worried, too. How long would she be sick? How would she make up her missed schoolwork and exams?

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                    The faces that stay with you

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                    13-year-old Oujelan. Ghaziyye and her twin girls. 4-year-old Saad, who's forgotten how to play—these are some of the faces that have stayed with today's writer, Lauren Fisher, who visited Lebanon a year ago.

                    Today, Lauren reflects on the people she met and celebrates the ways that World Vision's work with the Syrian refugees has helped them and many more, and continues.

                    ***

                    I met 13-year-old Oujelan (shown below) at the end of his workday, his hands covered in clay and callouses from picking fruit for 12 hours straight. He used to be a star student, his achievements celebrated with certificates covered in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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