A letter from Aliamma George in Sudan
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills from where comes my help. My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1)
We are happy and safe in South Sudan by the grace of God, but we would like to give the account of an unforgettable Saturday. I had to take a class on domestic violence and trauma healing for a workshop arranged by the women’s group under the Presbyterian Church of Sudan. So I got ready after my morning routines; the secretary of the women’s group had agreed to get a taxi and pick me up on her way. At 8:30 a.m. she called me and said that all the roads were closed and no vehicles were being allowed on the road; she would call back if the roads were clear. There are police on the road, she said; there may be some security problem.
At 9:45 a.m. we heard a loud knock on our metal gate, and I went near the opaque gate and said, “Hello.” Then a male voice from the group outside said, “Open the door.” I ran back to my husband. Jacob came calmly and opened the gate. There were 10 tall Sudanese police officers with big rifles and one familiar person, an apartment employee who had a diplomatic smile but was not talking. One officer who knew a little English said, “We came to check your house.” We greeted them and welcomed them. One officer with a rifle stayed at the door while others came inside, checking each corner of the rooms, under the bed, in the restrooms, etc. When they saw locked suitcases they asked Jacob to open them. Then they came out to the living room and were looking at me. I told them in Arabic that I am a nurse (ana momaridha). Then they were happy, and the leader mentioned something about his recent encounter with the hospital. Then they all left our place. Later we heard that they were checking all apartments, houses, institutions and shops, collecting unofficial rifles, guns and police uniforms before the new government is established. We were told that they could collect a lot of those things. They did not inform people beforehand but only on Saturday on the spot made everybody go home from the streets, shops, markets, etc. If somebody did not open their house or were not present, they were given orders to cut the lock and go in and check. The roads were cleared — there was nobody walking, no donkey carts, no horse carts, no mini three-wheel cars or taxis. Just government vehicles were on the road.
By 1:20 p.m. Ms. N, the women’s secretary, called and said, “Hurry we are in front of your house. We are getting a ride through my cousin who works in the law office.” Jacob came with me, and there were challenges on the way. If I write everything this letter will be too long. Our God is faithful. He is the way, the truth and the light! We reached the Bam center through many shortcuts. There were only 10 ladies who could reach the place due to the eventful morning. But it was very productive as each one could ventilate their feelings. I will mention the stories of two of them. We had singing, storytelling, testimonies and discussion about ways of handling disputes and violence and how to get help and healing for emotional wounds.
One of the women was Mrs. B, married to Mr. A, who gave 10 cows and five pigs as a dowry to Mrs. B’s family at their wedding. Now they have three children. Mr. A is not helping the wife or children but goes with friends to the market to play “domino” and drink tea and have fun, talking with the guys all day — and bringing no money home. Mother gets tired of doing all the chores, and when they talked about the problem, Mr. A would challenge her description of the worth of the big cows and pigs given as the dowry. He started treating her as a slave. So she went to her parents, but her dad said he was not able to give back the cows or pigs! Her mom said that she had a similar life: ladies have to forgive and forget!
Mrs. C had heard about this class from her friend Mrs. D and came to find out how church ladies talk about their problems. Mrs. C said she is the second wife of Mr. E and after their three children were born he stopped helping her, and the first wife will not allow him to give her any financial help. He does not show any interest in her. She gets sick often and he ignores her! Polygamy is a problem here, although it is fading away. It is not entertained in the churches. In fact, polygamists cannot hold any leadership position and I was told that Holy Communion is not served to them.
There were many more issues, but the women went home glad to have some good information about how to heal their wounds, based on Scripture. They said they will pass the knowledge on to their friends in the villages.
The women’s leader is planning another big event on the effects of violence, trauma and wound-healing.
After the class one of our Giffen Bible students who is a police officer escorted us in a taxi since it was a special day, and we reached home safely.
Our students are getting ready for final examinations and finishing their class projects. The class project in Jacob’s Preaching Practice class is to make an outline of the 66 books of the Bible. They write the names of the books, author, date and a brief summary of each book of the Bible. Even though it took them some time to finish it, they were happy that they could do the project. One student wrote: “I give thanks to Rev. Jacob George for this outline. God bless Rev. Jacob George and his wife. Amen. Even his children from America.”
We get opportunities to preach in different churches here. One Sunday when Jacob was supposed to preach we went early to the church. The church building was there, but the roof was gone in the heavy wind the night before. The church service was held outside and Jacob preached in the “open air” church. We were invited to attend the graduation ceremony of the first batch of 25 students of the Theological Education by Extension of the Presbyterian Church of Sudan and Jacob gave the message at the function.
We thank you for praying for us. Please pray for a safe, stable government to be formed in the new nation of South Sudan. God bless you.
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 54
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