South Sudan Rejoices Over Referendum Success
By July the world’s newest nation will be created and Africa will gain a 54th state. “We are so thankful for what God is doing in our time and for being part of such an amazing history. We wish to deeply thank Christians across the globe for their prayers and our God for answering those prayers.” – Joyous Sudanese Christian.
In almost all ten Southern Sudan States the voting process concluded without conflict. With great enthusiasm sick people were brought from hospitals to the polling stations while multitudes walked long distances to cast their votes. One 115 year old lady from Lanya, and most likely the oldest person in Sudan to vote, appealed to both governments for peace, “I call on Bashir and Kiir to end the war with bullets, let us now fight with ballots like the rest of the civilized world.” Such is the mutual feeling among thousands of southerners, and Christians in particular, who voiced their relief and gratitude over the successful completion of the long-awaited referendum.
With the enormous task of voting behind them, southern Sudanese are now faced with a multitude of challenges including; forming a good and transparent government, deciding rule of law, curbing tribal conflicts and economic concerns including poverty and HIV/Aids. When the country of Sudan divides Christians living in the north will face different concerns. On December 19, President Omar al-Bashir publically stated, “If South Sudan secedes, we [in the north] will change the constitution. There will be no question of cultural or ethnic diversity. Sharia will be the only source of the constitution, and Arabic the only official language.” Christians in the North are a small minority and will inevitably face trials and persecution.
Commenting on the role of the Church in a new independent southern Sudan, the Sudan Advocacy Action Forum, a Christian grassroots effort advocating for a just and lasting peace in Sudan, explains that the church will continue to provide services and cooperate with the government in the short term. Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of Tombura-Yambio said, “At this crucial moment in the country’s history, we need continued prayers.”
Father we are over-joyed and filled with gratitude for the successful and peaceful completion of the referendum.We join in prayer with the citizens of Sudan as they face the next hurdle of demarcation, asking especially for an end to tribal conflicts and land disagreements in the border region between the north and the south. Father we also pray for church leaders to stay united in their mission and vision, actively promoting reconciliation, peace and justice for all citizens. Father, guide them with Your wisdom as they play an active role in bringing people together and alleviating the socio-economic hardships as they put their trust in You. “Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor 15:57) Amen
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