Fruits Ministry is a small Christian NGO tackling some big challenges to share the gospel and bring people to Christ.
The Christian organisation has projects in Narus, explains the mission’s programs coordinator Walter Duku as he waits to board the MAF plane in Kapoeta, in the Eastern Equatoria Province of South Sudan. He is on his way back to Juba from Narus town, a two hour’s drive east towards the Kenyan border where the organisation runs several projects.
‘We are an indigenous South Sudanese mission organization ministering among nine tribes in Kapoeta East county,’ Walter begins. ‘We have established a children home for vulnerable children, a health centre at Lolim Boma, and a primary school with close to 700 students. Besides these, we train Toposa women in vegetable growing so they can grow crops to sell in the markets. We also have a small local church which is doing evangelism and church planting.’
Seeing the need
With some time before take-off, Walter shares how the ministry’s different gospel outreaches came about. ‘The school started 13 years ago. Actually it was established by a South Sudanese missionary couple who started in a small way, doing evangelism in that area. They were still deep in a rural place called Lolim which is 15km out of Narus town. They were preaching, but could see that the need for healthcare was very great.
‘There is a story they shared about a lady who was giving birth,’ he remembers. ‘The tradition in that community is that they take the woman to run around in the forest until she delivers. On that occasion, in the process of doing that, the lady tragically died. If there had been a health centre there she could have received help and might still be alive.
Motivated to improve the health of the community, the missionary couple started bringing essential drugs to that place to help Walter explains. ‘Then, through friends in churches, we were able to build a health centre that is now taking care of 27 villages and a population of over 5,000 people.’
A gospel place to learn and grow
‘We also established a children’s home which is home to around 74 children. Some of them, come to us to escape early marriages. We believe that these girls will have futures if they can receive an education. They can do something better for themselves and for the nation of South Sudan.
‘We have other children that came from the streets. We reach out to them and if they are willing to come and stay with us then we offer them a home. Right now we have a South Sudanese trained missionary couple taking care and mentoring the children. Most of the children in the children’s home are between 5-12 years. They go to the school with others.
‘Some of the children have underlying health issues. When they come to us sometimes we find that they have Tuberculosis. We treat them here or take them across the border to Kenya for treatment which can take a month to complete. Recently we helped get treatment for a child suffering a case of Kala-azar. The boy is now ok and doing well but if he’d been left without treatment then he would certainly have died.’
MAF Shuttle flights serve Kapoeta every Monday and Friday, providing an affordable option for organisations like Fruits Ministry that are sharing the gospel and making an impact in communities that desperately need their help.
The flight from Kapoeta saves time for passengers such as Walter and ensures that they will reach their destinations safely, something which is not a given in Eastern Equatoria, where there are daily reports of insecurity and banditry on the roads.
Narus town, is reached from Kapoeta by what is currently one of the region’s most dangerous roads. Later that day, a report circulate of a road ambush by gunmen. Two weeks later travel is suspended for NGOs after a traveller is critically injured when they are shot in the neck. ‘The safety of the roads in the area is intermittent and there is a risk of robbery,’ Walter admits. ‘We pray for safety.’
Story and photos by Jenny Davies