By: Beverly Nolte, Chair Iowa Conference Mabaan Flood Relief Fund Raising Committee
At this time last year (2019), South Sudan was in the throes of a severe, steady weather phenomenon that flooded the White Nile River displacing over 420,000 people who lost their livestock, crops, homes, and villages. The Mabaan-speaking South Sudanese, who worship in Des Moines, Storm Lake, and Omaha, asked the Iowa Annual Conference to assist them in disaster relief. A positive response was immediate from Bishop Haller and the Cabinet. A UMC Committee was organized and began looking at fundraising when the COVID-19 stopped the efforts.
What is happening in the past several months is that informational write-ups, related to the Mabaan Flood Relief fundraiser, have been sent through The Iowa Annual Conference Communication's Office and posted on the iaumc.org website.
The Greater Mabaan Community group has finalized a Memo of Understanding to be reviewed by Heecheon Jeon, Central District Superintendent, and Beverly Nolte, Committee Chairperson. This document will spell out specific ways that the Humanitarian and Development Consortium, located in Juba, South Sudan, will be our partner in-country. They will be responsible for the receiving of Iowa funds and the purchase and distribution of relief items such as tents, tarps, mosquito nets, solar lights, food, and seeds.
On April 5th, the COVID-19 pandemic reached South Sudan and spread throughout the country where health care is nearly non-existent. With a population of 14 million people, there are only 4 ventilators. Over 21,000 people had the virus at the end of May including many government officials. As here in the United States, the virus continues to spread in South Sudan causing a double whammy!
With the recent “virtual” Iowa Annual Conference held on July 18, 2020, one of the offerings “taken” was for the Mabaan Flood Relief. Individuals and local churches/church groups may send in their offering to the Conference Treasurer, 2301 Rittenhouse St., Des Moines 50321. Please put #53321 MF on the Memo line.
Let’s take the offering now for the Mabaan Flood Relief.