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Thoughts of peace and a future of hope (November 2009)
Sunday, November 01, 2009

A refugee from Southern Sudan reflects on the path that led him to his awareness of God.

Reflections for Prayer

“I fled from Kajo Keji several years ago. It is there that my awareness – my real awareness – of God began. I was traveling alone; my family had been killed. I believe that God led me to safety. I do not understand why I was not killed or why I did not starve to death; I only know at some point I turned to God and told him that I trusted him and that I was in his hands.

During my exile in Uganda, I experienced God in people as they lived the gospel. What I mean is that people love each other and stay together at a time when things are very difficult: lack of words, sickness, insufficient food, the loss of close loved ones. The community helps me believe. And I know God is present by the moral support that people give to us. It is like God saying through them, “I did not abandon you when you came away from your homeland; now I will not abandon you in exile. I will send others to love you and teach you of my concern.”

Charles, 32

(Adapted from They Come Back Singing: Finding God with the Refugees, by Gary Smith)

Many Southern Sudanese share Charles’ experience, they have fled their country and spent years in exile. Since the signing of the peace agreement in 2005 hundreds of thousands have returned to their homeland, hoping for a lasting peace in the war torn country.

They are starting from scratch, making an effort to rebuild their country while at the same time facing threats of inter-ethnic violence, food shortages and landmines. It seems the challenges on the road to peace are endless. But the Sudanese people keep reconstructing their country and believing in a better future, a future of well-being and peace.

Their reflections show their deep faith, a faith preserved through years of exile, against the loss of families and the uncertainty ahead of them. As we contemplate the situation of the people of South Sudan let us join them in prayer for a lasting peace and for a future undisturbed by conflict or violence. May their hopes be fulfilled and may they be safe in God’s hands, whatever happens.