As you know, we support Anglican dioceses in many of the poorest and most troubled parts of Africa. Last year we visited the Diocese of Toliara in Madagascar just after a devastating cyclone. News from the diocese is good, morale has grown, and Bishop Todd reports that Rooted in Jesus is now running in every parish in the diocese. A team returned from the Diocese of Katanga in DR Congo in March, and coordinator Stéphane Makata reports that groups have started, and that he has planned a programme of parish visits to support and encourage the new leaders. We are hoping that we will be able to return soon to the Diocese of Nord Kivu, and a team is also planned for the Diocese of Boga later in the year, both also in the DR Congo.
The place which is struggling the most at the moment, though, is South Sudan. We have worked in four dioceses in Sudan and South Sudan, and have invitations to two more. I want to share with you some reflections from two of the bishops, Bishop Andudu Elnail of Kadugli and Bishop Moses Deng Bol of Wau. You will find a full report on our website, but here are some things to think and pray about:
Reflecting on the week leading up to the death of Jesus, Bishop Andudu writes:
“I know that we in the Nuba Mountains and other places in Sudan and South Sudan, are in that bad week similar to the one that the disciples and followers of Jesus had, of frustration, fear and hopelessness. In our region a meal for a child or elderly person is a challenge, we live in fear, we don’t know what we are going to eat or give our children in the following day. We don’t know that we are going to be alive in the next day, who is going to die next and how? by a bullet or Air bombardment, or Malaria. Who is going to save me on the next day, where will I sleep tonight after my house is burned or destroyed? How will I protect myself from scorpions, snakes or mosquitoes in the dark of the Cave in the mountains where most of Nuba currently live? Those are the frustrations and hopelessness of the bad week, this bad situation is real but Jesus also is real. Brothers and sisters in the Nuba Mountains and elsewhere, may the good news of resurrection bring you hope, encouragement and healing. May the resurrected Lord be real to you, may He be present to each and every one of you.”
Bishop Moses Deng Bol offers a challenge to us here in our affluent society:
“South Sudanese people are good at celebratin; given half a chance people will sing and dance and it does not take long for more people to join in. I take a lot of joy in this, I think it is beautiful and precious. At times of national celebration you can really feel a sense of joy, it is for me this sense of joy that reminds me what life is really about. It is true, we cannot be happy all day every day but if you lose this sense of joy then really something is missing from your life and you are not whole. When I have been to other places which are more developed countries you often hear people say that they are too busy. They think only of work that must be done and ignore things that should bring them joy. As an African I must ask how can you be too busy to be happy? It makes no sense. Jesus was a person who always took joy in others and spent much time healing people so that they could once again be happy also.
In Mathew 8 we can see a prediction from Isaiah that says “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” This was a very personal thing that Jesus did. He was not doing what was normal, or just acceptable according to the law of Moses, but he was doing what was right and what needed to be done. (…) When we look around our new country of South Sudan it is obvious that there is a thing which needs to be done. Since just before Christmas we have been a fearful and divided nation. We did not celebrate Christmas as we should. There has been a lot of bloodshed and violence, much destruction and pain. As a country we are not well, we are not happy and we are not whole. It is obvious that we need healing. People all over the world know this. Just like the poor suffering people in the Gospel stories it seems that a miracle will be needed to heal us. But I am a man of faith and I believe in miracles and I believe that God can bring South Sudan the healing which really it needs.”
To download the full report please click here; to read our other recent news click here. If you would like to support our work in South Sudan and the DR Congo you can do so by clicking here. If you would like to join our prayer network please contact Frances Hazell at email@example.com.
Posted 13th May 2014 by Revd Dr Alison Morgan