News and Greetings
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A Message from the President of the Lutheran Church of South Sudan,
Rev. Jordan Long
Brothers and sisters in Christ,
The last two years and half have been devastating for the Lutheran Church of South Sudan and the people of South Sudan. It was a period at which the country witnessed one of the worse deadly and brutal conflict and atrocities in Africa. The war that erupted on December 15, 2013 claimed over 20,000 lives in a three days door to door massacre and quickly engulfed the whole nation. The war claimed 70,000 lives, displaced millions internally and forced million more to cross borders to the neighboring countries. Weak, exhausted and broken in body and spirit, 280,000 refugees from South Sudan sought refuge in Western Ethiopian region of Gambella. The war also forced the Lutheran Church of South Sudan to operate in exile and to bear witness to to Gospel to the refugees and the displaced in Ethiopia.
We are grateful that the Lutheran Church of South Sudan did not walk alone through this tough times. Through unbreakable bonds and unity in Christ, you stood with and prayed for us. As St. Paul writes, "If one part of the body suffers, every part suffers with it, if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it" (1 Corinthians 12:26), you weep and mourn with us during the crisis. Your faithful prayers and financial support enabled us to shine light and proclaim hope of the Gospel amidst of darkness and brokenness. Your prayers and financial supports enabled the LCSS to:
- Established congregations in the camps and in Western Ethiopian region of Gambella.
- Printed and distributed 3,000 Bibles to the refugees.
- Established a seminary to prepare and equip faithful pastors.
- Purchased a land to build multipurpose facility to house worship space, classrooms, office spaces, a library and a dormitory for seminary students.
The first cohort of the LCSS' Trinity Lutheran Seminary will graduate on June 25, 2016 and the new graduates will be ordained into the Ministry of the Word and Sacrament on June 26, 2016. A mission team from the US is traveling to Ethiopia to join the LCSS in celebrating the joy of the graduating and ordaining new pastors. Among the team is Rev. Doug Morton from Institute of Lutheran Theology. Rev. Morton will remain in Gambella for six weeks to teach Greek to the students of the Trinity Lutheran Seminary. Rev. Doug Morton and Rev. Dr. Brad Miller, both on the mission team, visited the LCSS and the South Sudanese refugees in October 2015. They were the first Lutheran pastors, among others, to visit the refugees since the outbreak of violent in South Sudan.
Once again, thanks for praying for and walking with the people ofSouth Sudan during the crisis. Although the war left unbearable pain and suffering in the country, God heard and answered our prayers. The warring factions to the conflict reached a peace settlement that officially ended the war. This agreement brought the leader of the armed opposition and his security forces to the nation's capital, Juba, to form a new Transitional Government of National Government. The new government has now been formed; praise and glory be to God for graciously rescuing the country from the bondage of sins and the power of darkness. This good and exciting news reminds us of the importance and powers of prayers; "Call upon Me in the days of trouble; I shall rescue you" (Psalm 50:15). We hope and pray this will be the lasting peace in the country.
With peace now at hand, more and challenging tasks lie ahead. The country needs healing and reconciliation while millions of refugees and internally displaced persons return to what used to be homes. With 90% of the northern part of the country completely destroyed, rebuilding of the nation will be another breathtaking. The destroyed northern part of the country is one entire district, the Greater Upper Nile District, of the Lutheran Church of South Sudan. It is the district that hosts the head office of the LCSS. We will continue to seek your prayers and financial support as the nation approaches the next phase. The repatriation is yet to begin pending implementation of some clauses of the peace agreement.
While enjoying and celebrating the glorious return of the peace to the country, the Lutheran Church of South Sudan has some immediate needs and seeks your support. The building of multipurpose facility in Western Ethiopian town of Gambella will have to continue. While rebuilding of the nation will take years, the facility will continue to accommodate the LCSS' head office and the Trinity Lutheran Seminary. The Western Ethiopian region of Gambella has also become another district of the LCSS that will host the seminary while rebuilding the country.
In Christ's Love,
Rev. Jordan M Long, President
Lutheran Church of South Sudan
LCSS North American Board of Trustees
Malakal, South Sudan
Phone: (585) 705-2805