When does our faith cost us our life? While traveling in the Sudan, David and I met a young man whose obedience to the call of Christ has made him “a marked man.” Ryan Boyette, a 30-year-old from Florida, has lived and worked in the Nuba Mountains of the Sudan for eight years bringing the gospel and humanitarian aid to this remote region. When war broke out last June, he made the perilous decision to stay behind after all aid workers were evacuated. The reason? He has chosen to bear witness to atrocities and genocide being committed against the Nuba people by their own government. Ryan formed a grassroots civilian reporting team, eyesandearsnuba.org, to tell the story, “A lot of people tried to convince me to leave,” Ryan remembers. “But this is where my wife is from, this is where I’ve lived for eight years. It’s hard to get on a plane and say, ‘Bye, I hope to see you when this ends.’ ”
In what is fast becoming another Darfur, the extremist Islamic government in Khartoum has again targeted its own citizens in a campaign of “ethnic cleansing.” Bombs and rockets rain down on civilians. President Al-Bashir, already wanted for war crimes, is attempting to starve the Nuba people. Unless international pressure forces the delivery of food, three hundred thousand men, women, and children will face mass starvation in about six weeks.
Award winning New York Times columnist and author Nicholas Kristof was so moved by Boyette’s self-sacrificial love for the Nuba people that he has risked his own life to give Ryan’s story a world spotlight. Calling Ryan, “the man who stayed behind,” Kristof wrote a three part NY Times series. Witness Ryan’s great heart in this five minute interview: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/26/opinion/sunday/kristof-battling-sudans-bombs-with-videos.html?ref=nicholasdkristof.
What can one person do about this Sudan crisis and speak out against genocide? Plenty. It takes just a few minutes and a few dollars to stand with Ryan and the Nuba Mountain people:
1.PRAY: Become a MAD FAN (Pray a-minute-a-day-for-a-nation). Will you join me in praying a minute a day for Ryan and the Nuba Mountain people?
2. GIVE: Support Ryan and the “Eyes and Ears Nuba” team. Every dollar makes a difference: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/300883085/nuba-reports
3. GO: While you can’t actually go to the Nuba Mountains just now, you can speak out to your representative in congress. Two simple steps make a huge difference:
- Call your Congressman/Congresswoman!
I called Sue Myrick's office (click here http://www.house.gov/ to find your district representative) and voiced my concern. You can say something like: "I want to be among the many in this district that are deeply concerned that the Nuba Mountain Region of Sudan is fast becoming another Darfur. I would encourage you Mr. Congressman or Ms. Congresswoman to become aco-sponsor of HR4169. (They will know what this means).
- Go to your Congressman/Congresswoman’s website (click here http://www.house.gov/ to find your district representative’s website) and send a short email to that effect in the box provided.
Unless our government puts pressure on the Sudan for humanitarian aid to be allowed into the Nuba Mountains, we will see a shattering crisis of human suffering. Ryan Boyette has chosen to stay behind because of his love for Christ and the Nuba people.
Will you stand with him? It will only cost you a few minutes and a few dollars. For Ryan, this may cost him his life.
Note: This is the first in a three-part series on the crisis in Sudan.