Sudanese Presbyterians say prayers and humanitarian relief urgently needed in South Sudan

Violence and loss of life leave children wondering if peace will ever come

March 24, 2016

With no options to obtain fresh water, school-age children fetch contaminated water to drink and use in cooking.

With no options to obtain fresh water, school-age children fetch contaminated water to drink and use in cooking. —Leisa Wagstaff

LOUISVILLE

“The fighting continues in South Sudan and the people continue to suffer with the greatest number of and most innocent sufferers being the children,” said Leisa Wagstaff, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission co-worker in South Sudan. “Having fled their homes amid a lot of terror and uncertainty, they have arrived in resettlement areas and are still fighting for their lives.”  

In a March 13 email to Presbyterian World Mission, the Rev. John Yor Nyiker, general secretary of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan, requested prayers and humanitarian aid for the South Sudanese people.

“We are approaching the suffering days of our Savior, which reminds us of the resurrection preparation for Good Friday and resurrection that is the defeating of death,” Nyiker says. “Unfortunately we had bad news and a lot of sufferings of our people at the hands of leaders who did not respect their human dignity.”

More than 40 people have lost their lives in South Sudan’s Malakal camp and many more are still missing, according to Nyiker. He said there also has been fighting in the Upper Nile state of Nasir, chasing away civilians who were seeking peace and stability. He is continuing to monitor the situation through communications with pastors and others.

According to the nongovernmental organization Human Rights Watch the violence is spreading. “South Sudanese government forces have carried out numerous killings, enforced disappearances, rapes, and other grave abuses in the Western Equatorial region during expanded fighting in the region. Rebel armed groups there have also committed serious abuses, including rape. ‘Rather than seeing improvements following the peace agreement, we are seeing continuous attacks on civilians and other abuses carried out with impunity,’” said Daniel Berkel, executive director of the Africa division of Human Rights Watch. 

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Prayer points

  • Pray for an immediate end to the violence and for lasting peace in South Sudan, believing that ‘nothing is impossible’ for our God, who rules over all nations.
  • Pray for all the people of South Sudan, particularly for all those who are living in daily fear of rape and other forms of violence, having their homes destroyed or suffering death; and for those who are injured, displaced or grieving the loss of loved ones.
  • Pray that all those in need of food aid, clean water and medical treatment will get the assistance they need in time.
  • Pray for all who are working to bring relief aid to those most in need that their efforts will succeed despite the very complex situation on the ground and significant ‘logistical’ challenges.
  • Pray for the leaders and members of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan (PCOSS) and South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SSPEC). Pray that they will find strength in the Lord. Remember especially the moderators, the Right Rev Peter Gai Lual Marrow (PCOSS) and the Rev. James Par Tap Hon (SSPEC); and General Secretaries the Reverends Philip Obang (SSPEC) Rev. John Yor Nyiker (PCOSS), as they seek to provide wise and courageous leadership.
  • Pray for the six Presbyterian mission co-workers currently serving side by side with our partners in South Sudan under very difficult circumstances: Lynn and Sharon Kandel, Nancy McGaughey, Shelvis and Nancy Smith-Mather and Leisa Wagstaff.

Emergency relief response
Through the PC(USA)’s partner, the Presbyterian Relief and Development Agency, your gifts to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance are providing emergency relief for families in Jonglei State and Malakal affected by the recent violence. The assistance is improving health conditions, increasing the availability of clean drinking water, providing food and non-food necessities and helping to secure livelihoods.

Long-term peacebuilding response
Through the South Sudan Education and Peacebuilding Project Presbyterian World Mission is supporting RECONCILE International’s efforts to work for reconciliation and establish  peace by providing training programs in Community-Based Trauma Healing as well as Peace  Studies and Conflict Transformation at the RECONCILE Peace Institute, in addition to community-based trainings. Peacebuilding also supports the education program of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan, which is also foundational in establishing peace in this war-torn country.

Give by mail
If donating by mail, make check payable to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and mail to: P.O. Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700. Be sure to include the correct Disaster Response number in the memo line of your check:  Relief efforts in South Sudan (DR000042) or the South Sudan Education and Peacebuilding Project (E052172).