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We give thanks to God for continuing to bless us with love and unity. Although ethnic tensions are always high in Gambella, St Frumentius’ continues to be a place where every day you can clearly see a loving friendship between Anuak, Nuer, Dinka, Maban and JumJum brothers in Christ. As well as giving thanks for this, we’d like to celebrate many other things that the Lord has done in the college over the last year.
In June 2019, we celebrated the college’s second graduation. This years graduation address was given by Bishop Kuan Kim Seng, who spoke from the thirteenth chapter of John. As well as giving the students a demonstration of what it means to wash feet, he challenged address to go out and love and serve as Jesus did. Four students successfully graduated from the college, three of whom will be serving the episcopal area full-time next year.
Throughout the year, the Lord has provided us with teachers from outside who have come in and addressed some very important issues. In June, Rev. Dr. Brett Cane came to teach. In September, Solomon Worku and our Rev. Wondimeyu came and delivered some fantastic teaching on HIV/AIDs by Solomon. As a result of this course, many of our students and our priests got out and started teaching about this issue for the first time.
In January, we welcomed Dr Johann Vanderbijl back to the college. He ran an excellent course on Discipleship. As part of this course, our students designed discipleship courses for their own churches. By the end of the semester, the students had produced Discipleship Courses in Nuer, Anuak, Dinka, Maban and JumJum. As far as we know, these are the first discipleship courses to exist in several of these languages. At the end of February, the students left Gambella in February to run these courses in different churches throughout the region.
When our students heard lots of encouraging feedback when they returned from their Field Education placements in Feb – March. Many students reported hugely positive feedback, people really appreciating teaching which is more interactive and conversational than they are used to. Jacob, a particularly quiet student who is a refugee from South Sudan, told us about how he had met two individuals from a particular country which is renowned for being hostile to Christians and where Christianity is practically non-existent. These two people have since joined his church and came to faith in Christ.
We also want to note to the tragic loss of our brother, Ojulu Omot. Ojulu, a third-year student at the college. He was a kind and gentle man who was loved by all at the college. His death was a great shock to all at the college and has been difficult to process. It is incredibly disappointing that a young leader who had solid faith and a real heart for ethnic reconciliation should die 3 months before graduating. One of the small positives to come out of this tragedy is that Ojulu had given a video interview to the college a few months before he died. In this interview, he speaks of the beautiful transformation that had taken place in his life and he calls the church to work for peace and reconciliation across Gambella’s dividing lines.
Please join us in praying that, over the next year, we will see three things happen at the college. First, we hope that our new intake this coming August will enable us to train more people. We hope that this will include the Po and other minority ethnic groups, more female students, as well as church leaders from other denominations. Second, the college has been understaffed for more than two years now. Please pray that God would supply new lecturers who can build and develop the college. Finally, please pray for peace and stability in Gambella town, so that our programs can continue without disruption, and so that we can continue to raise up leaders for our Nuer and Anuak churches who have spent years together, learning to love one another.
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