Meeting the Prince of Peace in Gambella

“He is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14)

Bishop Grant and Dr Wendy write; “As Christmas approaches, we are meeting the Prince of Peace in unexpected ways.

Three weeks ago, Anuak refugees, driven across the South Sudan / Ethiopia border by some Nuer cattle raiders, ended up in our congregation in Tiergol, where they were housed, fed and welcomed by – Nuer Christians!

Last week, our Dinka priest (who was serving that Nuer congregation in Tiergol) was in Gambella town for our clergy training days when fighting broke out in South Sudan. Although the dispute in South Sudan is political, it also has ethnic overtones. It became dangerous for our priest to return to Tiergol – or to remain in Gambella town where Dinka men are being threatened. Surrounded by the love and support of his fellow Nuer clergy – he has been given transport and enough money to spend a couple of months with a Nuer family in Addis.

Also last week, it was with great joy that we watched as our Mothers’ Union representatives from Opo, surrounded by their sisters from other language groups sang a worship song, the whole group clapping and dancing, some joining in the singing despite language differences. And during the prayer practicum at the same Mothers’ Union gathering, it was a joy to see two translator / facilitators, whose people are traditional enemies, praying together.

This week, we’ve had two South Sudanese refugees staying on the compound, as they wait for papers which would allow them to travel to Addis Ababa. They had walked together through the night escaping fighting in a South Sudan border town and finally arriving at the Gambella Centre (which they were told would be the safest place). One was Nuer, one was Dinka.

Even as war looms, the Prince of Peace is present among His children here in Gambella. Peace, not as the world gives. Fighting evil, not as the world fights. Welcome, Lord Jesus. Welcome this Christmas.”

*Icon by Rev. Dr. Johann Vanderbijl

 

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