THE MISSION OF RECONCILIATION IN KAKUMA REFUGEE CAMP, KENYA
BISHOP ABRAHAM YEL NHIAL
THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF SOUTH SUDAN AND SUDAN
DIOCESE OF AWEIL AND ABYEI
NORTHERN Bahr El Ghazal STATE
REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN
DATE 09-01, 2014
Greetings in the Precious Name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior! I would like to thank pastors and Christians of Kakuma, for their warm welcome. I appreciate their hospitality and please keep it up. It is very unfortunate that the forgotten war has resumed itself in the newest nation of South Sudan caused by politicians. I feel greatly honored to have been the one who went for the mission to Kakuma.
In December 21, 2013, I went from Nakuru to Eldoret and on Sunday December 22 I worship with Nuer congregation in the morning and I was given a chance to speak. In the afternoon I preached and talk to Dinka. I was joined by Nuer pastor Thomas Manyol, his talk touched Christians at Dinka church because he embraced the unity of our people. In December 23, I left Eldoret to Kakuma , I was welcomed to Kakuma by both Nuer and Dinka pastors. There was a fear in Kakuma that Dinka and Nuer will fight but the pastors met and promise each other that they will talk to their people not to fight any body because there is no difference between Dinka and Nuer. The war in South Sudan is caused by infighting within the SPLM party . In December 27, we met with more pastors both Nuer and Dinka, to thank them for the peaceful celebration of the birth of Christ and to commit ourselves to continue preaching the Gospel of peace to our people in Kakuma and beyond. The meeting was a very successful one!
With the help of pastors preaching peace and forgiveness to grieving members in Kakuma we were able to celebrate Christmas peacefully. These pastors have demonstrated their call as ministers of Jesus Christ in this difficult time and they preached and talk to Christians to what it means to be Christians. Also, the Holy Spirit has helped us to know that we (Christians) are one family of God in this world.
THESE ARE SOME OF THE ACTIVITIES WHICH CONTRIBUTED TO PEACE IN KAKUMA
- Prayers of South Sudanese churches in Kenya as well as prayers of our friends all over the world for peace in South Sudan .
- Press Statements of President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Press statement of Ambassador Majok Guandong in Kenya and Press release of church leaders in Kenya condemning this unwarranted and senseless fighting and urging all Dinka and Nuer not to be drawn into it. This contributed greatly in reducing tension in Kakuma and other Kenyan towns with high concentration of Southern Sudanese nationals.
- The Camp manager at Kakuma and UN officials contributed to the prevailing peace in Kakuma as they held a meeting of all Sudanese pastors and community leaders and impressed upon them the need to maintain a peaceful co-existence. They also enhance security within the the Kakuma refugee camp .
- The show of unity especially among the Dinka and Nuer pastors prove a good example to other Sudanese nationals who chose to follow a similar path.
- My presence in Kakuma with a message from Church leaders, our Ambassador Majok Guandong and celebrating Christmas with them was a joy to all. I spent a week of praying, meeting and preaching to South Sudan Sudanese in Kakuma.
- Ambassador Majok Guandong to visit South Sudanese living in Nakuru, Eldoret, and Kakuma to encourage them to continue living in peace and harmony. These will serve as a good example to their brothers and sisters in South Sudan. During these visits the ambassador will emphasis the need for them to be ambassadors of peace in South Sudan.
- Training of Church leaders in Nairobi, church leaders in Eldoret and Nakuru will come to Nairobi for training. Church leaders in Kakuma will have their training in Kakuma. These church leaders will come from Murle, Nuer and Dinka. I hope that after training these pastors can be send back to South Sudan to preach the message of peace and reconciliation to politicians, clergy and ordinary citizens and all. The church leaders will play a prominent role as they have refused to be divided along tribal lines.
The pastors in Kakuma need Theological training on conflict resolution; peace building, mediation and reconciliation to enable them carry out reconciliation in Kenya and in South Sudan in order to unite the politicians and our people who are now divided along tribal lines. All the pastors in Kakuma showed great interest in working together as a team to unite our people here in Kenya and back at home.
This mission to Kakuma was enabled through the help of South Sudan Embassy in Kenya. Thanks to Ambassador Majok Guandong and Deputy Ambassador Mariano Deng Ngor. Praise God the mission was successful and Kakuma is peacefully!
The return of fighting in South Sudan is truly bad news to all. The good news is that although Dinka and Nuer politicians are fighting , the Dinka and Nuer pastors and Christians remains united and strongly condemned their politicians on meaningless war and urge them to accept one another as one people.
Paul says, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body-whether Jews or Greeks slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink…” (1 Corinthians 12:12-31).
Therefore, Nuer, Dinka, Murle and other tribes in South Sudan are one in God. We are one nation, one people, who are glorifying God for His Grace on South Sudan.
Therefore, as Christian leaders we must be faithful to God and our call as ambassadors of peace and reconciliation and move our tribes from the path of war to that of peace. My hope is that Dinka, Nuer and Murle pastors will work together for peace and reconciliation even in the midst of the prevailing conflict. I hope those who will read it will find ways to help those tribes to have just peace, reconciliation and forgiveness as way forward. Please continue pray for God’s intervention during these very dark days of conflict in South Sudan to come to an end soon. Prayer is the surest weapon of touching our political leaders so that they can embrace peace instead of war and love rather than hatred.
Finally, I want to appeal to church leaders and Christians in South Sudan that Jesus calls us to be peace makers! Also, I want to appeal to our South Sudan Embassy in Kenya and friends of South Sudanese to help train pastors in Kakuma and in South Sudan especially Dinka, Nuer and Murle on conflict resolution, reconciliation, forgiveness, mediation, peace building and conflict transformation.
May the Lord Jesus Christ intervene in this heartbreaking conflict and bring peace in our beloved nation and may the peace of God reign in Southern Sudan. May Jesus guide our leaders with wisdom especially President Salva Kiir Mayardit and former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teng, so that they can make wise decisions, the people of South Sudan have suffered enough please endeavor to embrace peace instead of war, by taking concrete steps to end this war you will be remembered as our greatest sons of South Sudan for this generation and generations to come. Thanks be to God for all His help!