“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear … though the waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalm 46)
Flooding ravages South Sudan
For the past week, families in Jonglei state, South Sudan, have watched the waters around their homes rise and rise. They’re the product of early rains that fell even before the previous flood waters receded, and once again the deluge has stolen homes and crops. An extra 700,000 people – already vulnerable to hunger – have been impacted.
Many of you have been keeping up to date with our recent campaign, and you’ll know that floods are only the most recent complication in a disastrous year. Earlier, a locust plague wiped out millions of sorghum and cereal crops; COVID-19 lockdowns closed borders and choked food, water and fuel supplies; conflict between tribal groups robbed thousands of their loved ones, homes or livelihoods. Officially reported COVID-19 cases remain low, a miracle in a country where almost six million people live in refugee camps either inside or just beyond the borders with Ethiopia and Egypt.
Still standing strong
In the midst of suffering, the courage and faith of South Sudan’s mostly Christian population stands firm.
“We will not fear,” our partners from the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan say. “God is with us.”
Rev Peter Gai, the General Secretary of the Church, tells us that he clings to the words of the Apostle Paul, who learnt the secret of being content no matter what his circumstances.
“In times when Paul had nothing, he was happy. When he had enough, he was happy,” Peter says. “Being content is the secret to being able to serve others.”
It’s a humbling perspective from someone who lives with the critical challenges of everyday life in South Sudan.
Always looking outward, the leaders of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan are pressing on with their plans for peace and stability – plans you helped make possible through your compassionate, generous response to our South Sudan appeal last month.
- Two more peace workshops are being organised for the coming six months, in places the leadership has assessed as being of great need and able to be accessed safely.
- The upcoming National Assembly will be an opportunity to bring together church leaders from throughout the country to pray, elect new leaders, implement new policies on child protection and learn peacebuilding skills. A third of Presbyterian Church members live in refugee camps outside the city, making the gathering in Juba particularly challenging and vital.
- PRDA, the Development Arm of the Church, is also making a response to the flooding crisis, providing water sanitation kits, food and shelter wherever they can. And your funds continue to be used to help provide critical health information, food and water to people at risk of hunger.
- Always with their eyes on the horizon, the leaders of the Church are training young ministers through Nile Theological College, which UnitingWorld supports with a small grant to help provide theological resources. The students are learning peace studies alongside their theological curriculum, and there’s an emphasis on engaging women like Rev Paska, who has served the church for many years in practical ways, supporting other women to engage in income generation and providing trauma counselling.
“The one thing we can all do is pray,” Rev Paska says passionately. “We need you to pray for us, brothers and sisters in Australia.”
Your gifts have helped us raise $123,908 so far for the work of the Church in South Sudan and beyond. THANK YOU SO MUCH! To find out more, including an updated list of prayer requests, click here.