In addition to equipping the church leaders of South Sudan in this difficult time, one of the goals of Partners Horn of Africa Area Director is to encourage cross-pollination between our partnerships in the Horn of Africa, and what better way that to share training and skills between ministries. What better way than to bring a trainer from one ministry seeking successful church multiplication in one country of Africa to share experience and expertise with another one of our ministry partners in another country?
Recently our ministry partner leader in Ethiopia, “Alex” (pictured), completed the third of 6 Modules of Church Planting Leadership for AIC for South Sudanese refugees in Adjumani, Uganda. The topic was a hard one — Peace and Reconciliation. These refugees fled South Sudan when tribal conflict intensified to genocide after 2013. Alex’s main purpose was to encourage and teach 28 people who were key leaders of the AIC Church in South Sudan and continue to be leaders in the refugee camps.
Portions of these modules are based on curriculum from like-minded ministry, Freedom to Lead, who, with Alex, have done similar trainings in Ethiopia and other African countries. John Blausey went with Alex on this latest training and reports on this training event:
“Our module on Peacemaking was presented the week I attended. In light of their war-torn lives, the Sudanese brothers and sisters found this subject to be especially relevant.
“During tea time, Alex and several members of the group began to share their experiences of being persecuted. I was struck both by their faith and the similarities in what they each had gone through. They all spoke of the supernatural aspect of the beatings. They all agreed it didn’t matter how much they were hurt because God’s hand was upon them. When they were injured, it didn’t matter. They all have an attitude of ‘I’m doing God’s work and if you need to kill me, then kill me.’ I was humbled by their boldness.
“Since most of the participants from the week were refugees from South Sudan who have fled tribal conflict, a lot of meaningful discussions occurred about how to walk the path of peace and be a peacemaking leader. They discussed how the two primary methods of dealing with conflict are fight and flight. They also acknowledged that while walking the path of peace is not always easy but it is what Christ-centered leaders do. The group wrestled with how to be peacemakers in a war-torn country. Bishop Paula expressed the group’s sentiment when she stated, ‘Peace begins with us.’
“These 28 second-generation leaders have already begun to develop an additional 287 third-generation leaders! They also brought testimonies of 31 new believers!
“On the last day, a leader said, ‘As a leader and teacher, people come to me all the time about their conflicts. I did not know what to do. Today, I have the tools needed to help and be a peacemaker.’”