Canadian Baptist Involvement in South Sudan
Over the past six years, CBM has partnered with a new South Sudan denomination known as Faith Evangelical Baptist Church (FEBAC). Founded
in 2007, FEBAC has 96 churches in different parts of the country and only 26 trained and ordained pastors. To help build the capacity of FEBAC to effectively serve in these trying times, CBM provides vital support in:
Leadership training: providing workshops on trauma healing, church/state relations, social justice and counselling; as well as practical resources such as satellite phones to help pastors and churches in remote regions have a means of communication.
Food security projects: helping farmers grow crops in dry season with training in irrigation agriculture, and supplies of water pumps, tubing, and seeds.
Water projects: building wells for safe, clean drinking water.
Peacebuilding: training community leaders, women leaders, youth leaders and other opinion leaders to become peace promoters among refugees living in camps such as Kakuma (in Kenya) where inter-ethnic conflict is high. “Before the 2016 peacebuilding seminar, Nuer could not go to the parts of the camp inhabited by the Dinka community and likewise the Dinkas could not dare visit parts of the camp inhabited by the Nuer,” reports FEBAC General Secretary, Saphano Riak Chol. “This has since changed after the peacebuilding seminar and this has encouraged us to maintain the momentum to cement peaceful co-existence.”
FEBAC has also started churches and development projects in Kakuma and CBM has offered support with sewing machines and grinding mills for maize to help refugees, especially widows, to earn family income.
Hunger and security continue to be big concerns in South Sudan. “War is still going on in some parts of the country. Many people are so scared that if they go outside the city and start farming something might happen to them, someone might come and shoot them down,” shares John Monyiok Maluth, FEBAC’s Coordinator for Christian Education, Capacity Building and Training. “God has given us the mandate to go and reach the people and he’s always there to protect us, but we need prayers for security. That when we go out, God will still protect us as we share the gospel like Jesus who touched people with other problems, other sicknesses, and he healed them. It actually brought people to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour. We have seen many people coming to Christ because of the services of the church.”
As the famine crisis spreads, FEBAC struggles to be a presence of hope. Congregations are overwhelmed by the need and suffering. Displaced people have set up camps on church properties. Others come to churches pleading for food. “Literally, people are dying; you find children, elderly, women, and everyone so malnourished due to lack of food,” shares Saphano. “We are making an appeal as a Church through CBM for an intervention with food. In Juba we have about 7,000 displaced people we want to help, and in Narus we have about 12,000 displaced people that we need to help. It’s really a depressing situation and something needs to be done about it.”
Over the past three years, CBM has been responding with over $400,000 of emergency food and supplies such as rice and beans, maize flour, cooking oil, plastic for tents, blankets, and mosquito nets. In addition, we have promised to raise over $50,000 to continue FEBAC’s food relief program.
Gordon King is CBM’s Resource Specialist. He is the author of several books, including Seed Falling on Good Soil: Rooting Our Lives in the Parables of Jesus.