By Matt Landry
Our hearts were crying out to do something for those who are tormented in Darfur, Sudan. Our hearts led us to the Darfur Rally on Sunday, April 15, as a group of students, adults and pastors of Saint Joseph United Methodist Church in Fort Wayne, Ind., we crammed into three cars and headed to the State House in Indianapolis.
We, along with hundreds of concerned citizens from across Indiana, gathered inside the State House, to show our support for a cause much bigger than ourselves. Our goal was to learn more about the situation so that we can tell others about these atrocities and hopefully make a difference in the lives of these people.
We encountered many experts at the rally, from those who are scholars on the matter of genocide, to those who have been persecuted in Darfur. Everyone had something to bring to this gathering. The stories of those who suffered and who are still suffering were heartbreaking. We heard a woman who was forced to flee her village, along with her children to a refugee camp. She also spoke about the killings of many innocent children in the region.
This day was not only to hear of the atrocities, but also a call to action. We were called to be a voice for those bring silenced. We were called to stand up for those who need the world's aid the most. These people had home, family and hope, but now, because of ruthless acts of hate and evil, they have lost everything.
The people in attendance did care, and they took action. Students from Saint Joseph knew little about the acts of genocide in Darfur before gathering at the rally. They may not have understood all of the talk about legislation or passing the Sudan divestment bill, but they took their Sunday to care about a cause bigger than themselves. They thought about those who are suffering in Darfur, who live half a world away. That gives me hope!
During Holy Week, our pastor talked about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he asked his disciples to stay awake and keep watch with him. When Jesus returned again and again they were asleep. Jesus called them to stay awake, just as we are called to stay awake with Jesus today and educate ourselves about the atrocities of the world, pray for those who are suffering and put our faith in action to help those who are in need.
As we were closing our time together one of the youth from Saint Joseph asked, "Do you think we saved a life by being here today?" The answer is we can never truly know the impact we have made when we stand up and speak out for the least, the last and the lost. But we can certainly know the impact we make when we stay silent. We must act!
Thank you to the people of The United Methodist Church in Indiana for being sponsors for this rally in support of the people of Darfur, Sudan, Africa.
Matt Lundrv serves as Director of Student Ministries at Saint Joseph United Methodist Church in Fort Wavne, Ind.