Let us forgive one another for the sake of peace: The cry of praying women

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[Yei, South Sudan,TCT]  A group of women working for Inter-Church Committee (ICC), an ecuemenical local structure of the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) in Yei have continued their efforts to save the war-torn nation through monthly prayer and fasting for peace. Converging monthly in a selected church, women and men sing gospel songs, pray, and fast, while seeking for peace and reiterating the need for a lasting solution to the country’s crisis. Under the prayer theme, ‘Search for God in Times of Crisis’, they believe forgiveness is the only path to national healing, reconciliation, and a prevailing peace in the young nation.

Under the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC), the ICC was formed in 2009. At the time, women from five-member churches gathered together for a workshop to acquire skills and knowledge on community life transformation. Each month, the women converged in the five ICC-member churches, which included the Roman Catholic, the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan, the Sudan Pentecostal Church, the Evangelical Presbyterian, and the African Inland churches.

The latest civil war in South Sudan started after clashes broke out in 2013 between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to his former Deputy Riek Machar, in Juba. Machar returned to Juba after signing a peace deal with President Kiir until July 2016, when he was again forced out of the country in another political flare up. Local and international efforts aimed at ending the war continue, and these praying women’s struggles aren’t exceptional.

We have to forgive ourselves

“We have to forgive ourselves. Forgive even those who might have killed your relatives,” said Modo Rosemary, Deputy Chairperson of the ICC. She spoke to TCT at the sidelines during their recent event at St. Paul Luzira church.

“We, women are concerned of the plight of the people of South Sudan, posed by the 2013 conflict that broke out two years after the nation was declared independent from Khartoum,” Modo stated.

“Regardless of all that happened, we have to forgive and continue with new life. Let us change from our bad doings. We have to leave out our sins and start a life that pleases God. Let us forgive ourselves and forget repeating bad doings” she emphasised.

Modo says women can play a critical role in changing the lives of people. She reminded South Sudanese that peace rests in clean hearts, within those who ceaselessly show a forgiving and loving heart.

She said that it was time for citizens to speak a peace language that can save further loss of lives.

“In one-way or another, we have killed a person. People who carry guns, they fight, and have uniforms. But in our families, we find that we don’t treat our wives, children, and husbands well. There are a lot of quarrels, beatings, and fighting. This means that there are a lot of killings by our mouths,” commented Modo.

Sort out  differences

Hawa Adams, the vice chairperson of Yei County Women Association and a member of the ICC women group, urged the government and armed opposition to sort out differences.

“Sit at a round-table and sort out differences. South Sudanese should not build a bridge of hatred but rather pursue peace through forgiveness and embrace non-violent ways of settling conflict” she said.

“We need dialogue to be taking place!” she said emphatically.

This month’s event comes at a time that Christians are preparing for the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25. Some denominations refer to this as advent, a season for Christians to receive Jesus’ birth in their hearts afresh.

“We are all sinners. Nobody isn’t a sinner,” preached Pasqualina Deiya at the monthly prayer meeting held at St. Paul church in Yei. She read from the Gospel of Mathew 3:1-12.

“John prepares the way. If you like insulting, stealing, and causing troubles; we are told to abandon our sins and renew our lives. We have hatred even in the churches. We struggle for leaderships and other things, but God wants us to change our lives,” she said.


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