In five years of civil war in South Sudan, more than 50,000 people have died, more than 4 million have fled the country and hundreds of thousands of children are severely malnourished.
Opposing leaders President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar held peace talks recently in Ethiopia but it remains to be seen what impact this will have – their last meeting ended with further descent into violence. What hope is there for the people of this country, trapped in poverty, hunger and conflict?
Those who turn to Jesus have eternal hope in the Lord God: ‘For the LORD will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance’ – Psalm 94:14. We can thank God that the Church is so trusted in South Sudan that it is often the first port of call for help and support amid suffering. In fact, according to Neil Corkery, president of the Sudan Relief Fund, the Church is the ‘only functioning institution in civil society’ in South Sudan.
That is why faithful, Christ-centred preaching can have such a huge impact as people build a personal, living relationship with the Prince of Peace. John Jal Deng is studying theology at George Whitefield College in Cape Town, supported by AID through the faithful work of CORE Training and Development. He will complete his degree in November and then return to South Sudan to teach at Bishop Gwynne College.
‘Pray for my family, Church and our country. As you know, the country is not stable at the moment because of the ongoing crisis in South Sudan. The situation is fragile and even pastors are not safe to travel around and preach due to the tribal war that has caused hatred amongst the people. However, we want to make sure that the Church stands firm and continues to preach peace as a neutral body. Preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ without fear would greatly have a positive impact in the lives of our people. I trust the Church is the possible solution to the crisis we have in our country. Therefore, it is a tremendous privilege to study at George Whitefield College and go home fully equipped.’
We thank the Lord for John’s passion for preaching the gospel faithfully despite ongoing concerns about safety. He is a shining light for the future of the Church in South Sudan and we are thrilled to be able to support him in his studies. Please pray along with John for an end to the crisis, that the Holy Spirit would act in the hearts of Kiir and Machar to prioritise the interests of the people and bring about the long-awaited peace.
Romans 15:13 – ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’