A Short-Term Trip to South Sudan, Again!
by David Nakhla, Administrator for the Committee on Diaconal Ministries, OPC Short-Term Missions and OPC Disaster Response Coordinator
Even as refugees continue to languish in United Nations Internally Displaced Person camps in their own country of South Sudan now for more than eight years, what a joy to see them drink heartily from God’s Word as it was offered to them this past week by OPC missionaries and pastors, James Folkert and Charles Jackson. One man, who besides the difficulty of living in the camp also suffers a debilitating handicap and cares for his family without the help of his wife who died in recent years, testified, after the invigorating teaching, “My belly is now full for the next three years!”
In these camps, supplies are low. Food is supplied by the UN once per month. If you don’t carefully ration your food you might run out and then your family goes without until the next shipment arrives. Outside of true physical hunger, there is an evident spiritual hungering for deep nourishment from God’s Word.
One of the reasons for the visit to Juba in South Sudan was to talk to the brothers in the Sudanese Reformed Church (SRC) about the possibility of having their young men trained at the OPC’s Knox School of Theology, established and run by the OP Uganda Mission in Mbale. Knox is a 12 hour bus-ride from Juba. Jackson, the director of Knox, plans to build “Juba Lodge”, a dormitory which will enable young men to come from South Sudan, stay, and study for a semester at a time. The hope is that some of these young men will come from the refugee population, giving them a way to move forward with their education, that upon completion they might return and bring spiritual nourishment to many hungry souls in the IDP camps as ordained ministers of the Sudanese Reformed Church.
Besides making plans for how to bring further spiritual nourishment, the OPC has also been privileged to participate in supplementing with some physical nourishment. The intent is to do this once again. Please pray that the Lord would provide continued opportunities for the OPC to come alongside this sister church and her members, even as we learn from them as they cling to the Lord despite great suffering. Please also continue to pray that the Lord would bring peace to South Sudan.