A letter from Jacob and Aliamma George in Ethiopia, evacuated from South Sudan
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8: For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.
We were having new ideas for the new batch of students for the next three years of an intensive course at the Giffen Institute of Theology, with the addition of carpentry work! The graduation ceremony for the graduating class was very grand.
One Sunday we were waiting for the Dinka Presbyterian worship service; the Episcopal group was coming out of the building after their service. Bishop V.H. saw us and invited us to their Unity service of nine dioceses the following Sunday to provide the sermon and greetings about Community Health Evangelism. We got permission from the Presbyterian administration and went to the program. They pleaded with us to come back again, and young people were surprised to hear about the dangers of burning all kinds of things in their courtyard like glass, plastic, old batteries, vegetable/fruit tins, Coke or Sprite cans, and so on, producing dangerous chemicals that can harm everyone, including the unborn.
In the Arabic/English congregation Jacob had encouraged the youngsters to memorize the books of the Bible and distributed eight Bibles to those who made an attempt to learn. When we were coming out, the young lady who is the leader of the choir said she would study it in the coming week but would not be able to come to church the following week because her baby was due that week. She asked us to send her Bible through her husband, which Jacob did. Her husband told him that the baby was still inside her and they requested our prayers because she had caught malaria. Then we met some students from Upper Nile University, who invited us to their Bible Club. Their administration had changed the day from Friday to Sunday, 3 pm to 6 pm. We used to enjoy these students as they were interested in learning English, chorus and memory verses, and also Community Health Education and evangelistic methods.
We went a little early for the Bible Club, had security clearance by the police at the gate, and waited at the designated place. There were two young men doing some housekeeping kind of work who gave us a place to sit. We got ready with some songs on the last pages of a Bible and got some stuff ready to teach them. After about an hour a third-year Business student, Mr. D, came in his suit and tie and told us that many would not come as the administration had asked them to reschedule the Bible Club for April 2014. Since he had forgotten his phone, he asked us to call the chairman to confirm it. Mr. J told us the same thing and invited us to come back when they restarted. Then we talked and prayed with Mr. D and the two men and left after giving that Bible to Mr. D so he can use it in the dorm. He was happy and said, “Your coming was not a waste, my spirit is lifted up.” We thanked the police at the gate and walked back home, about three or four miles. We were able to encourage two female students on the road and an engineering student on the roadside who was selling onions and okra on holidays with his two friends. We also talked to many children on the street. We reached home by 6 pm, and later we got a phone call saying that fighting had started in Juba and the all airports were closed. Then it was the history of our country here as you all heard in the media. Malakal was quiet; people were sad and some expressed their feelings: "Pastor, pray for me and my children, we are alone, my husband is in the army fighting.”
The shopkeeper and his friends said, "Abuna, pray that our business will go on without problems.” We continued going to church office and emergency prayer groups, visiting markets and eating places safely. PC(USA) World Mission staff and the regional liaison Rev. Michael Weller checked on our safety daily—and after five safe days they evacuated us to Addis, Ethiopia, in a miraculous way. Praise God, and we are trying to spread the good news here. We could talk to about 700 students in a school and the chaplain asked us to come back and speak to them during chapel service any day.
Please pray that we can go back and have some trauma healing classes for our children and adults in Malakal. Please continue to pray for the people of South Sudan and for management team.
Thank you for your support through prayers, e-mails, and financial giving.
Aliamma and Jacob George.
The 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 129
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