On Thursday 26th and Friday 27th October 2017 we held the initial training of 17 youth associates who will be directly implementing the proposed Youth Life Skills in Juba, South Sudan. The participants were drawn from various churches and institutions of higher learning including secondary schools, colleges and varsities.
We joined a few members of parliament, Christian agencies and religious leaders for a prayer breakfast to pray for South Sudan. During this prayer meeting, the Rt. Hon. Antony Makana noted that South Sudan was going through a lot of political, security and economic challenges and only God can restore the country. He therefore thanked those present for finding time to gather for prayer on behalf of South Sudan.
Stephen Mbogo’s Encouragement
Following his remarks, Hon. Makana welcomed Dr. Stephen Mbogo to share a word of encouragement. In his remarks, Dr. Mbogo shared a reflection on the need for leaders to genuinely humble themselves and seek forgiveness on their behalf and that of the country. Based on Mathew 8, Dr. Mbogo underscored the need for leaders to be in touch with the vulnerable so as to best understand their pain and struggles as opposed to being insulated by power. He gave the example of Jesus who despite being God, sought to interact and feel the suffering of the poor, marginalized and the outcasts in society. Dr. Mbogo encouraged South Sudan leaders to pull down the various “fences’ that separate them and seek forgiveness and reconciliation with one another.
A Brief History
Years of civil war, a growing refugee crisis and a collapsing economy have taken their toll on South Sudan ever since it gained independence in 2011.
Famine has left 100,000 people on the verge of starvation. Almost 5 million people, 40% of the population, urgently need help now. And 1.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes, most pouring into neighboring Uganda.
As part of AE’s ongoing ministry in Peace Building, Reconciliation & Leadership Development endeavors in South Sudan, AE has made tremendous progress in mobilizing, envisioning and equipping local youth influencers in South Sudan’s capital Juba. AE has so far trained about 200 key youth leaders with practical leadership, reconciliation & Peace building skills and these young leaders are making a lasting difference in their intuitions of learning, churches, communities and city of Juba.
“My name is Joseph Kharim, I just complied my undergraduate studies from a Juba University where I got to know about AE and the Peace Building, Reconciliation and Leadership programs that AE was conducting in our city of Juba.
Having experienced the trauma and horror of armed conflict, I was struggling with my emotions and as a youth leader in my local church, and community I knew there were many young people like me struggling and suffering with trauma in my community. From the AE trauma healing forums, I learned how to deal with the trauma that I had been struggling with since childhood. For instance, during last year’s fighting in our city where many people died, dead bodies were left scattered on the streets near our homes for several days and this left many people, especially young people and children deeply traumatized and hopeless. As a result of these experiences, I really wanted to learn more on trauma healing and reconciliation so that I can help my community especially the young people who are going through a lot of challenges due to the conflicts in South Sudan.
Due to all these challenges, I was inspired to attend and participate in AE’s training program so that I can learn new skills and serve my community more effectively. I also wanted to learn how to be a peace & reconciliation champion as well as how to counsel and support those who had gone through traumatic experiences such as loss of loved ones, rape etc. during the previous conflicts and wars. Through the AE training program in Juba, I have acquired a lot of useful skills that have helped me in my ministry with young people in Juba city especially in our local church and at Juba Christian University.
From the skills that I have learned and acquired from the AE training forums, I am now effectively reaching various schools and churches in Juba evangelizing & empowering and empowering young people to make wise decisions on important areas such as career choices, joining gangs and militias, petty crimes, sexuality and drug and substance abuse, especially marijuana and alcohol, which are a vice to the young people in Juba. I thank God because so far I have witnessed many young people choose to follow Christ and live meaningful lives free of drugs and other vices.
I want to thank God for AE and their ministry in Juba and hope that through AE more young people will get empowered to live better meaningful lives but also build a more peaceful South Sudan”.