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A letter from Aliamma George in South Sudan

February 2013

1 John 4:19:  We love Him because He first loved us.

Our Giffen Institute of Theology (GIT) students are very excited as this is their last semester before their graduation. There are a lot of interesting stories from them while they were coming back to Malakal from their villages after the Christmas holidays.

Mr. A’s story:  When he was ready to leave a village in Bentiu, he had just a little money and he left his wife and two children believing that he would reach his destination with God’s help. He told the busman that he did not have the exact amount but needed to get to the boat junction to go back to Bible School in Malakal. He was allowed to get in with three other passengers in the bus and reached the junction. Then he called a friend in that area and told him the situation, and he arranged transportation up to the Malakal port, and then he walked to the school. I asked him whether the friend paid for the ticket, but he said he was the owner of the boat and he let him go free of charge.  I advised Mr. A to thank him in person, tell him how God answered his prayers, and lead the boat owner to Christ prayerfully, so that he will start practicing his new faith in Jesus Christ. He agreed happily to do it as soon as he gets back to the area.

Many of the students testified that their families are doing better than how they were living before they started GIT classes. The people and surroundings are cleaner and healthier, gardening has been started in their home backyards, garbage disposal has been started, and the importance of vaccinations and the prevention of illnesses is understood in a better way. A few of them got new members in their families, cattle increased, and nobody became poorer. Praise the Lord. Relationships improved between extended families, and between the church and the county officials.

Mr. G said that this was the first time they had a peaceful election in their county without fighting and killings. Mr. P said his wife was accepted better in the family and the relationship between the in-laws has improved because of our Psychology and Counseling classes at the Giffen Institute of Theology.

Mr. D came to our apartment on a Saturday morning to get advice on a toothache. He narrated his traumatic experiences as a teenager. Cattle Camp was a big thing in those days. People would take their cattle to a far place where there is plenty of grass, make grass houses, and stay there for months. When the season came for cultivation, the parents would leave and young boys would be left alone and some young ladies would be there to cook. They had no communication means at that time as they do now. Parents came back after the harvest. These young people were left alone in the wilderness with plenty of milk and meat from the cattle and they did whatever they wanted.  When he heard the young ladies singing a song about Mr. D, that he would be more handsome if he got his front teeth taken out like all the other men in their tribes, he thought it would be good to impress his tribal ladies, so he got it done through the village man.  Now he is suffering.

Later the young people were making different marks on their foreheads to signify their tribe, and he told his mother about this "initiation” by the village man. He left the school (the PC(USA) had started this basic school), thinking he could have one or two weeks off like other boys for the healing of the wounds, then become a big man!  His mother, who was the first Christian in that area through the work of Presbyterian missionaries in the past, told him not to get cuts from the village man’s knife–it would not heal and he might even die. This godly mother told Mr. D that she would not give him food for three days if he went for the “initiation.” She had seen people dying from bleeding and infection. Mr. D, who was a proud teen, said he would go to his uncle’s house and eat. While he was in his uncle’s house, God compelled him to be obedient to his praying mother and he returned without visiting the village man, and he returned to school.   Now his face has no marks, and he said he is happy that his sons need not go through all those things—but only through “Bible culture” that he has learned from GIT. He also mentioned that he learned about defense mechanisms to deal with the problems of life for the first time in his life and he is able to reprogram his thoughts, read the Bible, and pray meaningfully to get peace.

Mr. K came with the news that when he left his jacket hanging on the door to help with the Christmas program someone stole the eyeglasses that Aliamma had given him last year.

Our neighbor was given a Bible, and he says his Bible was stolen though Jacob had written Mr B’s name in it clearly. We believe the person who got it will read it, be saved, and give it back.

Dear friends, we thank you for supporting us through your valuable prayers and giving to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for our work here.

Jacob and Aliamma George

1 John 4:4  He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world

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