Bearing Witness amidst Violence and Brokenness
Please Join with Us in Our Mission and Ministry
The continuing violence in South Sudan forced the Lutheran Church of South Sudan (LCSS) to relocate its head office to the western Ethiopian town of Gambela, and to adjust rapidly in order to minister to the 180,000 refugees sheltered in the camps. Ninety percent of the refugees who crossed the border into Ethiopia are reported to be women and children, seventy percent of whom are under eighteen years of age. The United Nations has registered 14,000 children separated from their parents.
The church found itself among the devastated institutions. At the beginning the churches became a sanctuary for many, offering prayer and comfort to the victims of the violence. However, the rival factions routinely forced their way into the churches, killing pastors and all who sought refuge. These atrocities did not force the church to abandon its calling; rather, both shepherd and sheep had to leave the war zone and find safety in neighboring countries.
Malakal, the home city of the Lutheran Church of South Sudan, switched hands five times between the rival factions. The city was completely destroyed. The entire population of 150,000 either took shelter at United Nations camps in the city or fled to Sudan or Ethiopia for safety.
Rev. Eric Jonas Swensson
The leadership of LCSS expresses profound gratitude to our generous partners in Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) who stood with the suffering and bleeding nation of South Sudan. Through your support, LCSS was able to proclaim the Gospel. The Lord Himself brought comfort and nurture to the wounded and hurting souls and troubled hearts among the refugees. This caring love of Christ resulted in the establishment of five congregations in three camps, purchase of 400 hymnals and 10 drums, building of three large worship tents, and the facilitation of vibrant evangelism in the camps.
In addition to the congregations in the camps, the LCSS was able to establish a growing congregation in Gambela, Trinity Lutheran Church. LCSS uses Trinity Lutheran Church as a home base for its mission and ministry in Ethiopia. This congregation is officially registered and licensed in Gambela. LCSS is looking for a plot of land there to erect a multi-purpose building in which to have a worship space, classrooms, dormitory and offices. It will be home to our theological seminary, which at this time has ten students.
We, of course, need to raise all these funds and we turn to you at this time and ask you to prayerfully consider making a donation. Please speak it over with the leadership in your congregation. It would be of immense benefit if you would become a partner with us and make this part of your mission in the years ahead. The need is great. The devastation was so complete, wiping out what we were able to build in the first two years after independence and decades of oppression by Sudan. We thank you. More reports will follow.
To support the mission of the LCSS, please contact:
Rev. John Kline
Zion Lutheran Church
4300 Beaver Ave.
DesMoines, Iowa 50310
Phone: (515) 270.8142