Category: Sudan

Donate Blood, Save Lives & Send Children to School

November 12, 2013 by Diana Coombs

Blood for missions

On Sunday, November 17, North Hills Community Church is hosting a blood drive through Blood for Missions. This blood drive will benefit ELI’s ministries because for every pint donated, $20 will be given to sponsor a child for 2 months in ELI’s South Sudan School! For more details, visit or call 909-945-5440.


Date: Sunday, November 17
Time: show up anytime between 10 am – 2 pm 
Place: 10601 Church St., Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

*To donate, you must be 17 years old (16 if a parent is present), healthy, have no tattoos in the past year or have traveled to any malaria-risk areas in the past year.

Educate a Community: South Sudan History

October 17, 2013 by Diana Coombs


We drove out to an open field to see a war plane. I honestly didn’t know why we were doing that or what to expect. The car was parked on the dirt road and all of us climbed out. I followed our Sudanese friends through the dry field and started to recognize remnants of a plane in the distance. The colors it was painted camouflaged itself in the tall dry grass. When we got to the plane, we all began to examine it, climb on it and talk about it.

How did it get here? (more…)

Educate a Community: South Sudan Location

September 19, 2013 by Diana Coombs

South Sudan Map 3 Kolmarek (web)

Our team of 8 boarded onto the small plane and took up every seat available to fly into South Sudan. We packed lightly as the plane could only hold a limited amount of weight. As the plane sped down the runway, I had no idea what was ahead of us. I was warned that it would be hot, but, I didn’t realize there would be no reprieve from the hot sun. As we flew over the land, I saw that it was flat, dry and held very few trees and plants. As the time went by and the more I looked out the window, I realized we were far from any comforts of modern civilization and in the middle of “nowhere”. (more…)

Back To School

August 30, 2013 by Diana Coombs


We are looking for more sponsors to support the children in our schools in Africa. We are about half-way there to fully sponsor the children. As families across the nation and world start shopping to go back to school, please remember the children in our schools who are also going back to school.

$30 will pay for 3 children in a slum in DR Congo or village in South Sudan to attend ELI’s schools for one month.

Educating children will educate the community. These children take what they have learned back home and teach their families. Receiving an education also increases their future earning potential by 10-20% thus helping their future and their future family. Worldwide it is proven that education helps break the cycle of poverty within generations as children learn about hygiene and how to better take care of themselves, girls learn about motherhood and other life skills are learned.


The Tallest Flag

August 28, 2013 by Angela Vincent

Tallest Flag


The sound of the plane was deafening and terrifyingly familiar. Though they never knew for sure where it came from or where it was going next, one thing was certain: when the Antanov airplane from Northern Sudan flies overhead, it could be the last sound you ever hear. People were about to die.

For 23 years, the people of South Sudan lived an anxious existence. Years of concern for your own survival and that of your family’s survival developed more ulcers than farms. There is no time or place to cultivate the land when a war is at your door. Life became a nomadic existence where you prayed to see the next day and where you were fortunate if you had a big enough hole in the ground to hide in.

Fighting continues along some of the North and South borders, but the civil war that raged for decades has come to an end. July 9, 2011 brought hundreds of thousands to the newly constructed “Freedom Square” in the temporary capital city of Juba, South Sudan. Front and center in the square is a massive array of flags from around the world. In the middle, however, there was a new pole that rose higher than the rest. It would become the tallest flag, the flag of the new South Sudan. When the flag went up, people fell down. Ambulances were at the waiting as many people, so overwhelmed by the reality of independence and what the potential of freedom could mean, had their knees buckle, fainting from the combination of heat, anticipation, memories of the past, hopes for the future and just sheer joy.


Photo of the Day: South Sudan

May 27, 2013 by admin


Sun setting over ‘Rock City’, Juba South Sudan. (Photo: Micah Albert)


Photo of the Day | South Sudan

May 23, 2013 by admin


Exploring the streets of Juba, South Sudan. (photo: Micah Albert)



October 12, 2012 by Diana Coombs
Diana and Stephen Reech

Hallow?… Hallow?

Hello, Stephen?

Ah, yes, Diana.

Hi Stephen!

How are you?

I’m doing well, how are you?

I am fine, thank you.

This is how every phone call I receive from Stephen Reech starts off. Stephen calls into our office and as soon as I hear the voice on the other end, I immediately know it is him. His accent is thick, very difficult to understand, especially over the phone. The delay is bad, often causing us to talk over each other. You see, he is calling from South Sudan and he is Sudanese, from the Dinka tribe. He is the director of ELI South Sudan. He travels miles in order to have access to a phone that will work, and sometimes that phone doesn’t work. This time, he said he was not sure if he would be able to call again because he needed to leave and it looked like it was going to rain, which would make the roads difficult to drive through because they get very muddy. He asks me, “Please, can you have Don call me back?”I try to tell him I will. (more…)

Photo of the Day

September 28, 2012 by admin

Photo of the Day. Flying into South Sudan, dodging columns of rain. (Photo: Micah Albert)

Among the Top

August 19, 2012 by Diana Coombs

We recently received news from our director in South Sudan ELI that the children in our school are doing well in their studies. Out of over 700 children in the 50 other schools in the surrounding district, the children in our school ranked positions 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, and 9 in the standardized testing! It is amazing to see how our children outperformed many from the surrounding schools, even including special private schools. Praise God! Thank you to all who sponsor classes in our school in South Sudan!

We are still in need of sponsors for our school in South Sudan.  CLICK HERE to sponsor a class!

South Sudan 8th Grade Students

April 19, 2012 by Diana Coombs

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for our school in South Sudan and for our students. Our school is still temporarily closed during the time of disarmament in South Sudan, but, our 8th grade students continued to prepare for mock final exams that took place March 29-30th. These mock exams were in preparation for the final exams they will take in order to graduate from the 8th grade. Our 8th grade class consists of 17 students and all of them passed these mock exams! Please pray for them as they continue to prepare for their actual final examinations. Please also keep South Sudan in your prayers as they build the new country and avoid an internal war.

Spring Cultivate is Here

April 16, 2012 by Angela Vincent

Our spring Cultivate Magazine is here! Check out all the great stories here.

Prayer for South Sudan

April 10, 2012 by Diana Coombs

We received a request from our ELI South Sudan Director to join him and the people of South Sudan in prayer. The South Sudan army has taken measures to disarm villages of any guns. To protect the children from any potential harm if a fight breaks out during the confiscation of the guns, schools across the country have closed. They don’t want any children to be around or in school while this process takes place.

Normally our school takes a month holiday in May and again in August, however, to accommodate the current situation of disarmament of villages, the children will have a holiday this month  (April) so that the normal academic year can be kept on track.

Please join us in prayer for the following:

  • Peace for the nation. Wisdom for the New South Sudan leadership so as to avoid a return to war (this time an internal war).
  • Conviction of rebels, that they will be saved and transformed by the grace of God.
  • For protection over our school children (some conflicting tribe bandits sometimes move in quickly to steal children and cows)
  • Protection for our school compounds and structures (safe from any military control or physical damage).
  • Protection from emotional trauma for the villagers and children.
  • For the Christian Church to grow in vitality in the midst of and in spite of this situation and threat.

Thank you friends for caring and for remembering a people who have undergone more than we can imagine.

Celebrate International Womans Day

March 8, 2012 by Angela Vincent

Rural women constitute one-fourth of the world’s population. They are leaders, decision-makers, producers, workers, entrepreneurs and service providers. Their contributions are vital to the well-being of families and communities, and of local and national economies.

Yet rural women’s rights, contributions and priorities have been largely overlooked. Rural women have also been hard hit by the economic and financial crisis, volatile food prices and export-driven agriculture. They need to be fully engaged in efforts to shape a response to these inter-connected crises and in decision-making at all levels.

Now Is the Time to Act

Rural women are key agents of change. Their leadership and participation are needed to shape responses to development challenges and recent crises.

Women are central to the development of rural areas: they account for a great proportion of the agricultural labour force, produce the majority of food grown, especially in subsistence farming, and perform most of the unpaid care work in rural areas. It is critical that their contributions be recognized and that their voices be heard in decision-making processes at all levels of governments, and within rural organizations.

Consider this story and learn how you can get involved today.

Here are a few photos from our Communications Director, Micah Albert, from over the last 5 years.


South Sudan



South Sudan


Bukavu, DRC

South Sudan


South Sudan

Global Data

70 percent of the developing world’s 1.4 billion extremely poor live in rural areas. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to nearly one-third of these, while South Asia is now home to about half.

In 2010, 925 million people were chronically hungry, of whom 60 percent were women.

Agriculture provides a livelihood for 86 percent of rural women and men, and employment for about 1.3 billion smallholder farmers and landless workers, 43 percent of whom are women.
An estimated two-thirds of the 400 million poor livestock keepers worldwide are women.

The burden of unpaid care work is substantial. Globally there are 884 million people without safe drinking water, 1.6 billion people without reliable sources of energy, 1 billion people who lack access to roads, 2.6 billion people without satisfactory sanitation facilities, and 2.7 billion people who rely on open fires and traditional cooking stoves. Rural women carry most of the unpaid work burden due to lack of infrastructure and services.

In rural areas of the developing world, excluding China, 45 percent of women aged 20–24 were married or in union before the age of 18, compared to 22 percent of urban women.

    From South Sudan

    January 27, 2012 by Diana Coombs

    Recently we asked some of the children in the South Sudan community of Kolmarek how ELI has impacted their lives. Here is what they said:

    “Now I have rivers of joy and peace in my heart since I joined ELI South Sudan School. I was a helpless child before but now I can see myself as a nation builder, regardless of having no parents. I will succeed in life.”

    – Jacob Jok Matiop, Grade 7

    “I want to be a doctor to help the sick people in the future.  My grandmother does fall sick yet we don’t have a doctor nearby to treat her.  My brother was very sick for one week without eating, but I thank God he healed him.  Being a doctor, I would be able to help my family members when I know how drugs are prescribed and dosages.  I would build my own pharmacy.”

    – Grace Athieng Kuol Lueth, Grade 4

    The orphans and vulnerable children who attend our school have hope and dreams for their futures, despite the hardships they have endured. Attending our school has offered them opportunities that many children never receive.

    Sponsorship and generous donations are not only educating children and preparing them for the future, but it is teaching them about the love of Jesus and they in turn are showing others His love. One day, one of our students excitedly returned home after school to her ill grandmother. For several days, this young girls’ grandmother was getting progressively sick. No one knew what was wrong with her health. During school that day, this young girl learned about Jesus who is Healer and who healed many who were sick.

    Excited, she returned home that afternoon and shared with her grandmother this great news about Jesus. She then prayed for her grandmother in Jesus’ name. The next day, her grandmother was feeling much better and was well enough to get out of bed and walk to our school to meet our staff and thank them for teaching her granddaughter about Jesus. What a wonderful example of God’s love. And you are a part of sharing God’s love!

    Thank you so much for the impact that you are making on these precious children’s lives. You are making the world of a difference in the lives of orphans in South Sudan.

    Photo of the Day

    January 23, 2012 by editor

    A nice photo from Micah Albert taken in South Sudan, in honor of National Handwriting Day.

    Chaya to be Grown in South Sudan

    November 11, 2011 by Holly

    Steve Reech, Empowering Lives’ Director of South Sudan, recently visited the Ukweli Training Center in Ilula, Kenya. While touring the demonstration garden, he was introduced to a new vegetable now being grown in Kenya called chaya, a green leafy vegetable that grows from a tree-like stem. Referred to as “tree spinach”, it is believed that it originated in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Chaya grows well in extremely dry areas, offering twice the protein as spinach and ten times as much Vitamin C as an orange. Steve grew more enthusiastic as he continued to learn about this new vegetable, thinking of ways this plant could be used back in his country.  He said, “These chaya plants are so good, because in our area we have no vegetables. People eat fish and meat once a year or once every two years.  A typical meal is millet and water.  I am so glad to have these vegetables, because they can help make our bodies strong.  There are many malnourished children in my area, so the community will benefit greatly from this vegetable. We will start by planting the chaya on the school grounds and in the community.  When community members eat it, they will take some home to grow and feed their families, and their children will gain vital nutrients from it.” Steve left the Ukweli Center with a smile on his face and an arm full of chaya stems. Please pray for Steve as he begins this new journey of planting chaya in South Sudan.

    Photo of the Day

    October 17, 2011 by Angela Vincent

    In South Sudan, every morning cows start to walk out of the camp, in unison, almost as if an alarm went off. Every day they leave like clockwork to head out for the day to graze, but first the cows stop by the water hole to drink. Even at this spot, the cows seem to have a regular spot that they head towards.

    With the heat above 122 degrees the cows must drink daily, the fate of those that did not are scattered throughout the grass land and near the water hole with a huge horn skeletons as a reminder. (Photo: Micah Albert)


    August 19, 2011 by Diana Coombs

    In July, the USA, Sudan, DR Congo, Kenya and Tanzania ELI board members and directors all traveled to Kenya for an ELI all board members conference. It was a time of casting vision, strengthening relationships and becoming more unified as an organization. It was encouraging to hear the different comments made by the board members. Yacobo, the Director in Tanzania, said how he rejoices when he hears about what God is doing in the other countries ELI serves in. He says that when his brothers are victorious, so is he. While many hours were spent in meetings, going over key decisions and coming up with solutions, there was also time of much laughter and celebration. We are excited to see the positive impacts the conference will have in the future.

    Here are somefrom the conference and the USA Board’s travels to DR Congo and Kenya

    The children in the Kipkaren Children's Home welcome the ELI board members with singing and dancing

    Sharon leads the children in song and dance


    The world’s newest nation: South Sudan raises flag today

    July 9, 2011 by Angela Vincent

    From BBC News:

    Tens of thousands of South Sudanese have watched the raising of the new country’s flag at an independence ceremony in the capital, Juba.

    Salva Kiir signed the constitution and took his oath of office in front of the jubilant crowds, becoming president of the world’s newest nation.

    Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir and UN chief Ban Ki-moon were among dignitaries watching the events.

    Sudan earlier became the first state to officially recognise its new neighbour.

    The world’s newest nation was born at midnight local South Sudanese time (2100 GMT), the climax of a process made possible by the 2005 peace deal that ended a long civil war.

    The south’s independence follows decades of conflict with the north in which some 1.5 million people died.

    Saturday’s independence ceremony was held at the mausoleum of the late rebel leader John Garang, who died just months after signing the peace deal that ended Africa’s longest-running conflict.

    The BBC’s Will Ross in Juba says people flocked to the event on a baking hot day – some of them climbing trees to get a view.

    The Speaker of the South Sudan Legislative Assembly, James Wani Igga, read out the Proclamation of the Independence.

    Crowds then cheered as Sudan’s national flag was lowered and the new flag of South Sudan was raised as trumpets played the new national anthem.

    Afterwards the master of ceremonies told the crowd that President Kiir has decided not to hand over the flag of the Republic of Sudan.

    “It shall be kept in the archives of South Sudan in recognition of the common history that we have lived together,” he told the crowd.

    Our correspondent says people in the crowds said it was a moment to celebrate but they were also talking about the many lost relatives who died during the war.

    “Our martyrs did not die in vain… We have waited for more than 56 years for this day,” President Kiir said.

    “It is a day that will be forever engraved on our hearts and minds,” he added, before extending an amnesty to those who have taken up arms against the government of South Sudan.

    There are at least seven active rebel groups in the south, one of the many challenges the new country faces.

    Mr Bashir, who agreed the 2005 peace deal with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), also spoke at the ceremony congratulating his “southern brothers”.

    “The will of the people of the south has to be respected,” he said, adding that he hoped the south’s independence would lead the US to lift sanctions against his country.

    Other dignitaries attending the celebrations included former US Secretary of State Colin Powell and the US permanent representative to the UN, Susan Rice.

    Meanwhile, in Khartoum, for most people it has been a low-key day, the BBC James Copnall reports from the northern capital.

    However, scores of men gathered near the Blue Nile holding giant Sudanese flags and shouting: “Allahu Akbar [God is great].

    “I’m very happy today. We feel this is our independence day too, our real independence day,” one man said.

    But not everyone in the north feels that way, our reporter says.

    Famous actor Ali Mahdi told the BBC he was sad, although he respected the choice of South Sudanese.

    He felt is could also be the opportunity for Sudan to become a more democratic country.

    Under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, a referendum was held on independence, which was approved by more than 99% of voters.

    South Sudan is rich in oil, but is one of the least developed countries in the world, where one in seven children dies before the age of five.

    Correspondents say keeping both the north and the south stable long after the celebratory parties have ended will be a challenge.

    Fears of a new war resurfaced after recent fighting in two border areas, Abyei and South Kordofan, where some 170,000 people have been forced from their homes.

    Separate deals – and the withdrawal of rival forces from the border – have calmed tensions.

    But the two sides must still decide on issues such as drawing up the new border and how to divide Sudan’s debts and oil wealth.

    Citizenship is also a key sticking point. A new law passed by the National Assembly in Khartoum has withdrawn Sudanese citizenship from all southerners.

    The UN refugee agency has urged both governments to prevent statelessness.