In the movie “The Matrix”, Morpheus tells Neo, “No one can be told what the matrix is.” The same can be said for South Sudan. When I tell people where I do missions there, I get one of two responses. The first response is a cringe followed by, “Wow, rough place!” They’ve seen the BBC stories about civil war, starvation, tribal warfare, etc. The second response I get is, “Did you bring your wife and kids along?” They know nothing about South Sudan at all. Neither is really a correct assessment of what South Sudan is like.
Even as I go to write this, I’m tempted to try to explain what South Sudan is really like, but I know that I can’t do it myself. There are unfortunately too many preconceptions and paradigms that Americans have about the way they think life is and about what’s important, and any explanation goes through those filters first. There was a show a while back called “Meet the Tribe”, where five men from Vanuatu come to America and stay with families for a while to see what American life is like. When they got to California I can honestly say I was embarrassed for our culture. Between the in-house botox parties and the many luxuries that are seen as needs, I was made aware of just how hard it is for many Americans to comprehend what life is like for most of the world. Fortunately, I took a lot of video footage the last couple trips I made. I was lucky enough to be in on a conversation that really put a lot of things into perspective, and explain a lot about why South Sudan is the way it is. It is also a great explanation to those people who ask, “Why do you go all the way over there to do missions when there is so much to do here.” It’s all in understanding what need is. So check this video out. It was shot this last November, about 30 days before the town we were staying in was destroyed over things that are talked about in the video. Hopefully it will bring some understanding.