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A letter from Aliamma George in South Sudan

May 2012

2Corinthians 4:17:  Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us, a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

Jacob explaining the meaning of a song to the boys at Saturday practice

The month of May was mostly uncertain of daily needs like electricity, water, Internet, food, and security. One afternoon we saw people running in hundreds through the streets, the shops were closed in a hurry, and people left the market and streets. We saw a man leaving his shop near our apartment and we asked him what was happening; he said, “Militia is coming,” and walked away as fast as he could to be safe. We stayed in the apartment with the doors locked and prayed.  The phone and Internet connections were not working.  After about four hours, people started walking through the streets and some stores were opened. We could see two police trucks full of armed policemen standing in the open trucks waving and passing through the streets with jubilant gestures—then we knew that everything was back to normal. When we inquired later, we were told that the militant groups came in war trucks and seven Toyota Land Cruisers to destroy the government buildings but the South Sudanese army had chased them off and destroyed a few of those cars. A few people were killed and a few were put into jail. Life went on for a week peacefully, and then we heard that another militant group came and surrendered themselves.      

Aliamma teaching the girls some new English words from the song

We get the news by word of mouth as we do not have television news or newspaper, and radio news is in the local language.  We continued life as usual, and food stopped coming as the border was closed again. Internet stopped working suddenly and we lost the money we had given for the whole month and the credit left in the account. We had to buy new SIM cards and charge cards for Internet and phones with little effect and hope it will improve. Now we get Internet from 1 to 3 am, when there is no power! We thank God for this availability for a little communication with the outside world. When the phone line was opened, we got calls from our World Mission office, Africa regional liaison, and Africa coordinator checking on our safety.  Our family also called whenever possible. All these calls meant a lot to us. It was hard to send or receive calls in our own neighborhood as the phone connection was poor. Those were difficult days when we did not have water, electricity, Internet, phone connection and proper food availability. The Word of God gave us consolation. After resurrection, when the New Testament church was established, the disciples and their friends worked harder and had very difficult situations, including jail life. The forefathers of the Old Testament also had difficult days.

Mr. H used to bring fruits from the North and sell in our market.  He used to be very friendly and kind toward us. Jacob used to share Christ with him and one day Jacob gave him a booklet on the Gospel of John in Arabic. When we met him the following week and inquired about the booklet, he said that it was good, but we were not in a situation to talk about it as another customer came to buy fruit. Now his space is vacant; many of the businessmen have gone back to the North.

Standing with Upper Nile University staff when the church general secretary introduced us

In one of the previous letters we mentioned Mr. M, who was getting ready with the copies of his certificates to apply for a job. He came with the glad news of attaining a job with the World Food Program. He wanted some advice on keeping up the job effectively. He was happy with positive and constructive points. In our vegetable market there is an area where they spread their onions, lemons and the few available potatoes on tables and each table has a salesperson. When we went to the tables, there was no one near any table. We waited there for a few minutes, then someone from a corner shouted, “They are in the shade playing 'domino,'" and then Jacob asked him to call the guy as we had to buy some onions. One guy came smiling, gave the onions and got the money, and was in a hurry to go back to play. Jacob explained to him how he could be an effective salesman and could take more money home for his wife and children if he would concentrate while he is at work. He smiled and went back to play. 

One Thursday we went to the Upper Nile University Library of Malakal and saw that many of the books were from the United States of America, with the seal of the World Book Program. When we saw a note that there would be a Bible study at 5 pm we stayed, and there were 50 students, including male and female students. One student, Mr. S, recognized us and went to the stage and introduced us to the whole group. They requested Jacob to give some encouragement for the group. Jacob motivated them to be good soldiers of Christ in their university, dorm, family life and the neighborhood. They were given a memory verse from Philippians 4:13. All the students memorized it. The leader said he is going to invite us again and Jacob needs to give another speech.  Our church general secretary had taken us to Upper Nile University and introduced us to the staff earlier, which is why we were allowed inside. Everything was over by 7 pm and then we walked back to the bus stop.

Thank you for your prayers and financial support.  May God bless you.

2 Corinthians 4:18: For the things which are seen are temporary but the things which are not seen are eternal.

 

Jacob and Aliamma George

The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 94

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