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Faith leaders help nourish peace and reconciliation starting with South Sudan’s children

“To be born and grow up in conflict, the people of South Sudan, especially the children, need their faith nourished”, shares Rev. Mama Modi Angelo, a pastor in Asanza Preaching Church.

 Rev. Modi shared that in 2013, many people took refuge in the church due to the fighting around them. “We counseled them for months. We found out that the most affected were the women and children who watched their loved ones die”, she says.

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Rev. Modi's new initiative is meeting Yambio's women every month discussion social and gender issues.

 

She further adds, “Over the years, we preached hope to people who were able to come to the church on Sundays. I realized we were not able to reach out to children whose hearts were bitter due to the horrible things they saw while growing up.”

In 2020, World Vision supported faith leaders to help in the awareness campaign on peacebuilding, reconciliation, gender-based violence, and preventive measures on COVID-19 in Yambio County’s various communities.

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Bringing children towards light, peace and better future free from hatred: These are Rev. Modi's goals working with World Vision.

 

The collaboration was strengthened by 10 churches doing spiritual nurture initiatives for children, thus helping create spaces for love and grace and promote behavior change.

“World Vision’s support helps transform lives and gave me a new purpose as a pastor. Going out of the church building to the communities, be able to listen to women and children whose lives are filled with hopelessness and pain, showed me that we can do more”, Rev. Modi says.

Going out of the church building to the communities, be able to listen to women and children whose lives are filled with hopelessness and pain, showed me that we can do more.

Western Equatoria is part of South Sudan's 10 states with Yambio County as capital. Its people endured years of suffering and bitterness with the loss of loved ones. Faith leaders are well-respected and influential in South Sudan and their word is considered as truth. 

Rev. Modi believes that the light of God goes with them as they nurture people. “God goes before His children. Wherever we go, the people openly share their pains with us, and we help them embrace forgiveness”, she adds.

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Yambio County's faith leaders with Faith and Development Assistant Jackson Kamari. 

 

Moses, 8-years old, shares, “We gather every night at the house of grandmother Rev. Mama Modi to share the word of God, learn how to pray and sing. I get to lead the children if she is not around. Someday, I want to become a pastor and do what she does for children and women in the communities.”

The faith leaders go for the outreach activities every month. “We have already visited 180 children and survivors of gender-based violence in the past two months of this year sharing messages of peace and reconciliation”, Rev. Modi says.

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The faith leaders have become an influential force in Yambio's peace and reconciliation efforts. In this meeting, many social issues were discussed and ways to support the communities.

 

“Transformation begins from inside a person. While giving food and other things is important, we must first build the inner most being of the person to bring change. I therefore, urge World Vision to continue because where there is Christ; there is peace, love, joy, and forgiveness”, she reiterates.

Jackson Kamari, the Faith and Development Assistant says, “This intervention is vital and timely considering the ongoing crisis in the state. It helps reduce the people’s negative mindset and promotes peaceful coexistence.”

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Story and photos by Scovia Faida Charles Duku, Communications Coordinator