Michael Muot Put will discuss importance of peace and justice in Africa to U.S. congregations
by Scott O’Neill | Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE — Founded in 2011, South Sudan is the world’s youngest country. But infighting amongst its two most populous tribal groups — friction which dates back to the 19th century — has plunged the country into civil war and forced many of its young citizens to become soldiers instead of doctors, teachers, or farmers. The Rev. Michael Muot Put, from the Nuer tribal community, is working to educate communities about the importance of peace among different ethnic groups and provide a platform based on peace and unity.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) has had a presence in Sudan for more than a century and has a long-standing relationship with the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan (PCOSS). Put is currently the Youth National Secretary for PCOSS with the Presbyterian Youth Department; he also has previous church service as pastor in charge of Chotbora Parish in the Eastern Upper Presbytery.
“We have a very strong relationship with PC(USA) as our founder church,” says Put. “Through our affiliation with the Church we get support to facilitate programs in South Sudan. Our main objective is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people and enhance unity among them.”
This fall, Put will be one of 10 International Peacemakersvisiting the U.S. as part of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program. They will speak at churches, seminaries and other gatherings from September 21 through October 15. Participating in the Peacemakers program not only provides Put an opportunity to share with U.S. audiences what life is like for people living in a war-ravaged environment, he hopes to gain important insight into his work toward transforming his native country.
“I’m a victim of political and tribal civil war in South Sudan, and due to its insecurity, I’m working outside my country. Through international peacemaking I’m hoping to get ideas that promote peace and share those with my fellow citizens so that one day we can live in harmony like brothers and sisters created by one God.”
Put uses his extensive training in mediation, reconciliation, trauma and healing to lead workshops within the PCOSS. Despite the obstacles presented by the social and political realities of his country Put has had success introducing Sudanese youth to each other.
“In 2014 and 2015 many of our young people would not even greet each other. We organized regular intercultural events using games and training methods; these created friendships and enhanced harmony and unity amongst the young people of my country.”
Since 1984, more than 300 International Peacemakers from more than 50 countries have been hosted by Presbyterian organizations. The International Peacemaking Program is made possible by gifts to the Peace and Global Witness Offering.
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