A letter from Jacob and Aliamma George in South Sudan
God’s promise to Israelites through the prophet—Jeremiah 7:23:
“ Obey me, I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well.”
Greetings from South Sudan! We have had many chances to introduce Community Health Evangelism to different groups and congregations in Malakal, South Sudan.
One Sunday afternoon we were walking back home after our Presbyterian worship service when a friend of ours, an Episcopal priest, Rev. A, came out of his worship area and invited us to join his church for a special program on the following Sunday because of a combined service of nine Episcopal Church of Sudan congregations. As the phones and Internet do not work well, this is the only way to communicate here. He showed us the place where we had to come and led us to a temporary shed as the roof had flown away from their church building. When we entered the room, there were about 200 people starting their second service of the day.
We were surprised to see our Nile Theological College (Presbyterian Church of South Sudan) student as the conductor, the NTC part-time lecturer as the officiating priest, and a young man assisting who was familiar to us through the Upper Nile University Bible study program. So we stayed for the service and participated. On the following Sunday we went there after informing PCOSS administration. We walked to the same place on that rainy day, but the whole area was flooded so they had moved to a nearby school. We walked through the muddy water and reached where the nine congregations and their Bishop Rt. Rev H. was present. Aliamma was given 15 minutes to speak, and she greeted them and brought the topic of Community Health Evangelism. When she read a portion from the Bible, Deuteronomy 23:12-13, people were surprised that God had mentioned how to dispose of excreta. They wrote down the portion to teach others. “Designate a place outside where you can go to relieve yourself, as part of your equipment, have something to dig a hole and cover up your excrement…so the Lord your God will not see anything indecent and turn away from you.”
Many diseases are spread here due to improper handling of excreta and waste. In conclusion Bishop H. repeated the points on CHE and told those 500 people to take the new thought to their congregations and practice it. He added that he will start the program in his area and will call us for a workshop. Jacob gave the sermon and a time for dedication for all the participants.
We have been able also to introduce Community Health Evangelism at Laa Amoleker Bible Academy of the PCOSS in Malakal. They invited us for their chapel service. Jacob gave the message for the evening and Aliamma was given a chance to talk. After greeting them, she introduced Community Health Evangelism. The principal concluded saying that the topic was very useful for them and wished that the meeting had started one hour earlier so that they could learn more about Health and Evangelism. Those graduating students will take this method to their villages. We challenged them to start home visits like Giffen Bible Institute is doing on Saturdays, and they responded positively. They requested more visits to their school.
The open-air retreat at the BAM center (the compound of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan) was effective. There were about 180 people who are the leaders of five different congregations of Nuer dialect. Aliamma talked about the Christian responsibility toward the community, using the "full armor of God" from Ephesians 6, and also congratulated them for starting a vegetable garden at the Bam Center. We could see tomatoes, cucumbers and maize from the retreat site. This group is familiar with our home visits in the BAM area, and we encouraged more participation. Jacob concluded the retreat with a message and a time for dedication.
Our visit to the State Prison of Malakal was comforting to the people there. As this was our third visit, most of the prisoners knew us and they needed some consolation because an inmate had died of "the virus.” He had become a believer in the prison and was active in Bible study and worship service. During our first visit we had provided an English Bible, and they requested a book for Bible study in Arabic/English on our second visit, and the same was provided. On our third visit two people in the choir did not have the overall Presbyterian uniform with a cross, and arrangements were made for the same. The number of youngsters has increased in the prison. We have suggested to the church leaders that they concentrate with teenagers in the church for better personality development when they come for choir practice, youth meeting, etc.
Our teaching responsibilities at the Giffen Institute of Theology are going on well and our students are getting ready to graduate in May 2013. The 45 students will go back to their respective congregations well prepared. They have different financial needs connected with this, and we have started praying for them in class.
We thank you very much for your prayers and your financial support through the PC(USA) World Mission offices. Remember, “Greater is He (The Lord Jesus Christ) who is in you than he who is in the world.”
Jacob and Aliamma George
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 94
The 2013 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 103
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