For several years, The Voice of the Martyrs in Canada has partnered with Global Response Network (GRN) in helping to rebuild the witness of the church in southern Sudan after many years of civil war and religious persecution. This task is challenging and frequently dangerous as the rule of law is threadbare at best in the region.
This afternoon we received the following urgent letter from the family of Tom Zurowski, Director of GRN, that requires your urgent prayers:
Dear GRN Friends,
Over the last 2 or 3 days, Tom and our field coordinator, have been involved in a very serious situation. While traveling back from purchasing supplies from the city of Yei, they drove by a lady on a bicycle, who decided to “fake” as if she was hit by their truck. The lady fell in the gravel on the side of the road on her own power (the truck didn’t hit her at all). As a result a mob from the village quickly surrounded Tom and our field coordinator in the truck. The mob was out of control and wanted to kill both of them. From there they were taken into custody by the police and were further threatened. The mob of about 100 people continued to threaten Tom and our field coordinator from the outside of the hut they were for 4 hours, until they were able to be escorted back to Loka and the GRN compound by the police chief and 20 armed soldiers.
There are more details to the situation, but the bottom line is that both Tom and our field coordinator desperately need your prayers. They have to return to the village where all this occurred tomorrow (Monday, keep in mind they are 8 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time). They have no idea how the people will respond when they return to the village. They are being required to come to give statements to the police chief about the “accident,” and may have to go to court later. Tom is concerned not only about the now, but also realizes that our field coordinator travels through this village often to get supplies in Yei. It is easy to see a truck coming, and the mob could easily attack GRN’s truck the next time he comes through.
Tom and our field coordinator seem to have found some sort of favor with the gentleman who is the “second in command” in the county, and also with the police chief. However, after Tom and our field coordinator were escorted back to the compound, the “second in command” was attacked and beaten by the mob for his role in protecting them. The concern is that if the mob will do that to one of their own, what will/could they do to them.
The situation is still very volatile. Again, Tom and our field coordinator never hit the lady, and have not done anything wrong. Pray that the lady who is lying and acted as if she was hit would fall under conviction and would confess the truth. Please pray that justice would be done, and that Tom and our field coordinator’s name would be cleared. Again, the fact that the second in command in the village was beaten by the people without any recourse shows how different things are handled in Sudan than in the U.S.
Please pray for us and our field coordinator’s family as well. Thank you for going to God on their behalf.
The Zurowski Family
Thank you for upholding Tom and his team in your prayers at this time. Please show your solidarity with them and their families by posting a prayer on our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall. We will update you as details become available.