“I call myself first the soldier of Christ and second the soldier of this new nation. I am joyful to share the word of God every day to the soldiers, it’s my happiness when they turn to Christ.”
The Rev. Paul Kuol Deng Mangok is the chaplain of New Site Military Barracks in Juba, where he has the amazing opportunity of sharing the Gospel of peace with South Sudanese soldiers involved in the ongoing conflict. To help him in this work he is receiving training at Bishop Gwynne College (BGC). He speaks about his ministry to Tabitha Muthui, AID communications worker in South Sudan.
We thank God for the many pastors like Paul, whose desire is to ‘share the Word of God every day.’ However, they face huge challenges. The South Sudanese Church is large and growing – there are more pastors in Juba than doctors in the entire country – but the past civil wars and ongoing unrest have meant that most have had little opportunity for more than a basic education. In Rev. Paul’s words:
“We must accept during war our country lagged behind in theology training, most pastors are not well trained how to deliver the Word of God. We were ordained because of circumstances, the people of South Sudan needed pastors to serve them in camps and protection areas. This is the reason why we thank the partnership of Anglican International Development, CORE Training & Development and George Whitefield College (GWC), Cape Town, making it possible to bring experienced faculty members, who have come to build our minds.”
‘Building the minds’ of both staff and students at BGC is one of the key aims of this partnership. From September 2015 volunteer lecturers (present and former staff and graduates from Theological colleges in Australia and Cape Town) have been teaching at BGC, releasing BGC faculty members to travel to George Whitefield College in South Africa and study towards a Bachelors or Masters in Theology. When they return, trained faculty members will be better equipped to train up pastors like Rev Paul for the vital work in South Sudan.
Rev Paul’s says he has already benefited from this programme through the volunteer lecturers:
“The classes are now more interesting, we have just learnt this week how to use Biblical theology, cross references, context and other things like introductions, dictionaries, commentaries, study bibles and internet. Something we appreciate. I believe now I am more effective to deliver God’s Word.“
Please pray for Rev. Paul as he studies and shares the Gospel. Pray that it would transform those who hear and that they would be instrumental in bringing a lasting peace to South Sudan.