Such an epic thought, right? Especially since we live on a planet where nearly a billion and a half members of our human family live on a $1.25 a day or less. 1 That’s roughly how much a bottle of water costs. Or a candy bar.
Such stats numb us; they’re nearly impossible for our minds to grasp. But once we connect them to faces and communities, the numbers quickly get personal – and this question about how to save a life starts looming larger, more harrowing.
So how do you help save a life?
A life created by God, fashioned in His image; a life facing perpetual crushing poverty, sickness, oppression and death? A life or lives on the other side of the world where they live – and we so often don’t.
The journey to our conclusion of what this could look like in South Sudan felt really long in coming. At first, we researched and studied facts. We read countless articles, abstracts, books. Some of us are Sudanese so we told our stories to those who would listen and we began working to facilitate change. Others interviewed South Sudanese refugees who had fled war, famine and escaped death. In the process, we all developed deep friendships, a kind of sisterhood, so to speak.
Some of us traveled throughout South Sudan, met with women and girls in villages and a rare school. Others of us returned to university to undertake public health education and peace and conflict studies. We met with NGO leaders and missionaries, politicians and Sudanese government officials. Some of us composed music and sang it. Still others wrote and lobbied in Washington and we did all of this very imperfectly. So much of the time, we didn’t really know what we were doing. We just tried to figure it out as we went along and we watched people much smarter and more experienced than ourselves doing what we were trying to do.
We prayed too. A lot, but not nearly as much as we should have (btw, we’re still praying).
And then it came to us in one of those rare moments where all the random, disjointed dots suddenly line up and connect. A sort of sunrise in our brains.
The way to help save a life is to care – and to simply refuse to do nothing.
The way to help save lives is to simply persevere, to do what can possibly be done to help interrupt and end human injustices. And the something that we might do to help might be different than the something that someone else can do. That’s because we’re all different…
So we know that there’s no silver bullet, no easy answers or formula to helping save human lives. We wish that there was. Instead, there’s the power of human caring and relationships matched with hope that God will bring transformational change to lives in post-conflict communities like that of South Sudan. And it’s with this in mind that we’re believing the very best is yet to be in this new nation!
1 IFAD Rural Poverty Report (pdf)