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Only God could help

Men experience life in constant civil war

By KIM GILLILAND

Hickory Daily Record

Monday, May 29, 2006

Andrew Mandis and Bullen Dolli spend a quiet together. They both escaped the 23-year Civil War in southern Sudan .

ROBERT C. REED (RECORD PHOTOGRAPHER)

CONOVER — For the first time, word about the 23-year civil war in southern Sudan is getting out. Four survivors will tell of their struggle to practice Christianity, teach and exist in the war-torn country in Africa at Tri-City Baptist Church on Tuesday.

It wasn’t until a peace treaty was signed in January 2005 that survivors were able to leave the country legally. It is only recently that word of their struggles fell on the ears of Westerners.

“They’ve been forgotten by humanitarian organizations, the United Nations and U.S. churches,” said Billy Edmunds, of “It Took A Miracle,” a Baptist organization that organized a U.S. visit by the Sudanese. “If Christian churches in the U.S. are not able to help them, who is there to help?”

Three of the four sat down for an interview Sunday in a small chapel on the grounds of Tri-City Baptist. Each one had a harrowing tale to tell.

Andrew Mandis, 22, would cringe every time he heard an airplane fly overhead. On Sundays near his village, Mandis and a group of Christians worshiped under a out in a field. Then the unmistakable drone of Islamic aircraft would send the group fleeing.

“We would hear the planes coming and hide in the hole,” he said. “After the bombs dropped, we’d come back up. We thought there was no way out, only God.”

The words of a song helped to take their minds off of the bombs falling around them: “Help me Lord Jesus, come close to me,” the group would sing while huddled in the makeshift underground shelter. For the full article…