To thank you for your prayers and the care provided to our family, Bev started this to contribute to the church blog in May while we were still living in Turkey. This then read…."Life is quite interesting here in southern Turkey with the wonderful ancient history and regional foods as well as a great spring with walks in the tulip-laden parks near us. Yet, almost daily, we are touched by the depressing stories of the Syrian refugees who have had to flee their farms because of the on-going conflict and now are dependent on aid and monies sent by family members living abroad. During John’s birthday lunch, senior engineers working for CARE talked about how before the conflict in Syria “all religions got along, we would go to each other’s churches and mosques, eat and study together and women could dress however they wanted to.” They go on to tell of the horrors that the opposition/ISIS are initiating, “taking our land and homes, forcing women to be completely covered and creating conflict between people because of religion”. Please continue to pray for the people displaced from their country and homes, and for our country to not back opposition groups who are becoming increasingly radicalized."
Now in July, the conflict in Syria has extended to Turkey in an area where John was working, with the bombing of a cultural center and the loss of so many youth who were gathered to plan reconstruction in Syria.
John and I are also following the Nepal situation carefully, hoping to be able to help with restoration there. We are grateful for the news that our Nepali friends survived the quake; one was able to get his family out of the 11th floor apartment before it collapsed. Our friends in Nepal note how the post-earthquake response is slow for a variety of reasons including issues relating to poor governance.
John is currently on a two month assignment with CARE to South Sudan to provide interim assistance, primarily conducting a rapid assessment of the situation in Unity State and to direct operations to replenish medical and nutrition treatment supplies for local health care teams, who because of the conflict between South Sudan government and opposition troops, have had to flee their clinics and are treating families in the bush who were displaced by violent attacks. He may follow his assessment with re-establishing a program to these displaced families. There are several UN agencies hoping that he can find solutions for distributing their food supplies as there are reports that malnutrition is now very high. Please pray for John's safety and health, and for guidance especially during his three to six week exploratory trip which requires camping in the bush, and for the health teams there as they continue to provide mobile healthcare services in dangerous and primitive settings. CARE had been operating 19 health facilities to address critical health issues, e.g. in South Sudan’s poor health statistics were staggering, e.g. one in seven mothers die from pregnancy and birth-related complications.
Bev is preparing to go to Bangladesh for a month to lead a national and international evaluation team that will be assessing a large social marketing program (public health measures such as insecticide-treated bed-nets, condoms, water purification products) which has had long-term funding from the US government. Please pray for her to have wisdom in leading the team to gather and interpret data and make recommendations that will build on Bangladesh improvements in health indicators and help develop systems for sustainable communicable and chronic disease reduction measures.
Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers. It was great to see many of you a Sunday ago.
Wishing you all good health, joy, peace and love,
John Augsburger and Bev Stauffer