Our friends in Connor’s partner diocese of Yei in South Sudan face a difficult Christmas as the situation in the area continues to deteriorate, according to CMSI.
Yet in spite of overwhelming odds the local church-run Immanuel Model Secondary School has managed to reopen, with a small number of students returning to do their exams and receive their report cards.
CMSI issued this report on the situation in Yei Diocese today (Monday December 19):
Our news from South Sudan remains focused on insecurity and trouble. You can see an up to date news report http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-38328811.
The situation in Yei continues to deteriorate. There is a reported increase in the level of weaponry used and troop numbers are increasing. Even with inaccessible roads some food has filtered into town but the prices are very high and only some can afford to buy.
Bishop Hilary has been in Arua [Uganda] since 6 December 2016 and has successfully set up a temporary home and Diocesan Liaison Office there. He has planned the temporary tenancy for six months, but it is impossible to predict what the situation will be by mid 2017. Thank you to those who gave generously towards the needs in Yei; your gifts have supported not only the setting up of the temporary Diocesan Office in Arua, but also an emergency feeding programme on the Cathedral compound. The diocese wishes to embark on a larger wet feeding/light meal proposal for children stuck in Yei.
In spite of the terrible challenges faced, Mrs Sitima, head teacher of Immanuel Model secondary School, reopened the school and 150 of the usual 550 students returned to study. 120 students successfully completed their end of year exams and received their report cards.
There is a glimmer of hope too in the plans which continue for centenary celebrations* to take place on 6 February 2017. Travel of guests to what would have been an expansive programme of events will be hampered, but Bishop Hilary writes: “…the steering committee insists that the day should be celebrated as this is so important. We will end up with prayers and a restricted number of events including the laying of the foundation stone for Yei Centenary University.”
The following words of one of the Yei students sponsored through CMSI to study in Africa Renewal University, concludes our thoughts well:
“Could you also pass my greeting and appreciation to all Christians in the churches of Ireland who are standing with us in prayers and material support in time of serious destruction of human life in South Sudan?…there is still hope for South Sudan because our God is able and he intervenes in his own time, no kingdom on earth can overpower him…We can still rejoice before our God the Almighty remembering the birth of our Saviour Jesus even amidst times of challenge, for this is what makes Christians different on the face of the earth (Phil.4:4-7), because we have glorious hope in Jesus Christ.”