News and Greetings
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Expanding Partnership in Ministry
The Lutheran Church of South Sudan is pleased to acknowledge the expansion of relationship to Europe. On April 6-7, 2016, a mission team from Double Key Foundation in Holland visited the Lutheran Church of South Sudan and the South Sudanese refugees in Gambella. The President of the Lutheran Church of South Sudan, Rev. Jordan Long, had to cut short a visit to the United States to receive the team. The visit was remarkable. For several years, Double Key Foundation generously supported LCSS’ orphanage program. The program feeds the orphans and provides basic education, parenting and pastoral care. A well dedicated diaconal ministry provides basic needs for the orphans. The Chairman and founder of Double Key Foundation, Klaas de Wit, was pleased to witness the impact the foundation made in the lives of the most vulnerable refugees.
Impressed by the mission and ministry of the Lutheran Church of South Sudan, Double Key Foundation took further steps in the partnership. Klaas and the foundation’s regional director, Pim Marijs, delivered three desktop computers to the LCSS’ Trinity Lutheran Seminary upon arrival. Prior to the recent delivery, the foundation purchased 30 chairs, 3 office desks and three office chairs for the seminary and 18 benches for the LCSS congregation in Gambella. The foundation promised to continue working with the Lutheran Church of South Sudan.
On her part, the Lutheran Church of South Sudan is privileged to walk with other brothers and sisters in Christ amidst of brokenness and despair. Since the eruption of civil war in December 2013 in South Sudan, 70,000 have died. According to the latest United Nations reports, 8 million of South Sudan’s 12 million are in urgent need of food aid, 2.1 million face severe starvation, 1.8 million have been displaces internally and 280,000 took refuge in Ethiopia alone.
Through years of partnership with congregations of the Lutheran Congregations for Mission in Christ, North American Lutheran Church and the Institute of Lutheran Theology, the Lutheran Church of South Sudan was able to proclaim the Gospel with boldness. To highlight a few, the LCSS established growing and expanding congregations in the refugee camps, purchased a land in Gambella to call home, established a theological seminary, purchased and distributed 3,000 Holy Bibles to the refugees and launched a multipurpose facility project to house worship space, classrooms, office spaces, a library and a dormitory for the seminary students. The LCSS is working on importing a bricking machine to build the seminary and subsequently to rebuild the community.
Last Fall, a team of pastors, theologians and lay leaders from the Institute of Lutheran Theology visited the Lutheran Church of South Sudan and the South Sudanese refugees in Gambella. This was the first Lutheran team to visit the most vulnerable refugees since deadly civil war broke out in December 2013. About 90% of the refugees in Ethiopia are women, most of whom are widows, and orphans. It was touching and assurance of God’s presence amidst of brokenness to have pastors from across the ocean proclaiming witness to the Gospel to the refugees in the camps. The ILT faculty members on the team taught at the LCSS’ Trinity Lutheran Seminary and met with the leadership of the church.
In June 2016, another mission team is visiting the LCSS and the South Sudanese refugees in Gambella. Among the team is Rev. Doug Morton and Rev. Dr. Brad Miller from the Institute of Lutheran Seminary again. Pastor Morton and Dr. Miller will spend split a six week course in Gambella teaching Greek to the LCSS’ Trinity Lutheran Seminary students. It is worth mentioning that the Institute of Lutheran Theology is collecting books for the Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Gambella. Some of these books have already reached the students and the faculty of the TLS – what a joy and blessing.
To this end, the Lutheran Church of South Sudan is privileged to walk with other brothers and sisters in Christ amidst of brokenness and despair. The needs are still great, but thanks for all we have accomplished together. The LCSS would like to invite more to join the mission team in June 2016. This team will join the LCSS in celebration the graduation of the first cohort from the Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Gambella. This graduation marks the first milestone in a collective effort to bear witness to the Gospel amidst of brokenness and despair.
A heartfelt thank you is sent to all our supporters and prayer partners. Thank you!
Rev. Jordan M Long, President
Lutheran Church of South Sudan
LCSS North American Board of Trustees
Malakal, South Sudan
Phone: (585) 705-2805