A Ministry of Presence

Reflections from the Peacemaking Travel Study Seminar to South Africa

Listening to and hearing voices that may otherwise be unheard is the experience of those who are called to ministry. Often those voices end up beating in our eardrums and actually touching our own hearts and we too are transformed in our listening and hearing. For many of us, coming to South Africa has been transformational and we have a sense that God’s purposes are being fulfilled in us.

At God’s own time, we came to South Africa from across the U.S. on a variety of flights. Many of us had never met each other, yet it didn’t take us long to become well acquainted.  Each time we broke bread together, we shared joys and stories.  It was as if we were breaking bread with the church throughout the ages, called together to seek and proclaim Christ’s peace.

The South African term, “Khulumani,” seems to have basic meaning in the Biblical perspective. Prophets spoke of the future, Jesus came to speak love, and the disciples were sent to proclaim the Good News of salvation (Math. 28:18-21).  South Africans are speaking loudly for their “rights,” then and now, and we have come to speak, not in tongues, but only through our presence and listening. We are “ambassadors” (2Cor 511-21)!

Through our ministry of presence and deep listening, many have been encouraged, uplifted, and we are blessed as we wrap up our seminar in this ocean city of Cape Town. I hope that our presence communicated our mutual solidarity with our South African sisters and brothers who are working for true reconciliation, peace and justice.  With hope, “iThemba,” may we pray that South Africa will finish what was started twenty years ago, restoring dignity and bringing real reconciliation to the still broken and healing humanity we have encountered in this land.


Owar Ojha Ojulu

Owar was born and grew up in Ethiopia. He completed degrees in theology and public administration and served as Associate Director of the Office of Mission and Theology for the East Gambella Bethel Synod of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus before moving to the USA six years ago.  He has since completed an M.Div. at Dubuque Seminary and is working as Youth Development Leader for the Nobles County Integration Collaborative in Minnesota. His wife and three children joined him in the USA last year.

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