Stories of Hope from South Sudan

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  • Apr

    On the Other Side of Violence

    Rev. John Tubuwa

    Rev. John Tubuwa

    Over the past months, images of young men with anger in their hearts and guns in their hands replaced the front-page pictures of jubilant Southern Sudanese waving the flag of a new nation.

    In January, Presbyterian Pastor, John Tubuwa (left), and members of his family, spent 3 weeks hiding in the woods, while his town burned to the ground. In a rush to leave, he grabbed his laptop, camera, and some medicine; the rest of his belongings were looted.

    “It was difficult to see the women and children, who are not used to living in the bush, laying on the ground suffering,” Rev. Tubuwa told me at a recent RECONCILE training.

    This violence continues a cycle of inter-ethnic fighting in the eastern region of South Sudan. Above the northern border, people from Nuba Mountains remain in caves to avoid airplane bombs, a tragedy George Clooney’s arrest highlighted. In the western part of the country, soldiers, including US troops, gather to track down General Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army, the cause of mass murders, rape, and kidnapping of children.

    We live in the southern part of South Sudan, which is stable, and we work with a peacebuilding ministry called RECONCILE. We feel honored to serve with those who are “on the other side” of violence: the peacemakers. The group photo above includes Southern Sudanese from different ethnic groups and high conflict areas. They just completed a 2-week training at RECONCILE, which strengthened their skills in identifying root causes of conflicts. While together, they encouraged each other to focus on love and the peace of Christ, and then they headed back to their various states. We were amazed by their bravery, the tragedies they endure, and their unwavering commitment to heal communities and transform a culture of war to a culture of peace.Peace

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