American-South Sudanese Citizen Returns Home As Missionary To Reconstruct the War Affected Nation

A South Sudanese who fled to America as a refugee due to the war of the 1990s has returned to South Sudan as a missionary with many church sponsored developmental projects to help rebuild the nation.

American-South Sudanese Citizen Returns Home As Missionary To Reconstruct the War Affected Nation
Pastor Mawien Kuol Ariik [Photo| Ariik Atekdit]

By Ariik Atekdit

JUBA, 13th June 2016 [Gurtong] - Lutheran Church Priest, Mawien Kuol Ariik has started building a modern hospital, an education institute and church premises at the suburb, North of Juba City at Hai Referendum Area, a place that is particularly populated nevertheless with insufficient educational and health services.

Pastor Mawien commonly called ‘Abuna’ by those who know him said members of his church congregation in America decided to send him to South Sudan as head of the  Evangelical Lutheran Church Africa Mission in South Sudan.

“I am a missionary sent by Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). I have been sent to South Sudan from USA since 2012 to start a Church mission in this country. I have been here for a couple of years waiting to see this project operational,” Abuna Mawien said.

Abuna Mawien, said that his mission to ensure that those vulnerable are assisted.

“I am hopeful that I will get faithfuls to join me but I must provide services. Our mission in our church is to help humanity not only through Bible teachings as others may think. The faithful must be made educated and healthy as well.”

With help from individuals, American based Lutheran Church and others; Abuna Mawien is now expecting an approximated US$ 2.5 million to construct a Church that can host 500 congregants and a community centre: with a standard hospital and education institute both to be 4-storey high in a piece of land of about 3000m2 area at Hai Referendum .

He said with 13 other Lutheran Church congregations in Upper Nile and another one in Lou Ariik (Alabek village) in Tonj State, Juba‘s Lutheran Centre will work as a base of all branches in South Sudan.

The hospital according to him will have specialists to attend to women birth related cases and pediatric.

South Sudan has an astonishingly high maternal mortality rate of 2,054 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

Many deaths are not reported, in South Sudan because 90 percent of women give birth away from formal medical facilities and without the help of professionally trained assistants according to reports.

“In the beginning we wanted to make a clinic but later on my mission in America has instructed me that they are intending to make a Hospital. Qualified medical doctors with effective remedial facilities will hopefully run the facility if completed to help women and children,” said Abuna.

For Education Institute he said, “We want to bring in ESL courses (English as Second Language) with advanced courses. Most of the adults in this country have lack of the English Language and they must be trained with proficient English. My director is also taking pity on the children and so we shall also have elementary education system and secondary school.”

Abuna promised not to fish away members of other churches to Lutheran but hopeful that new ones can still join and others will get satisfied with their teaching to join.

“We are not going to fish from other people’s boats. We will fish directly from the river. Meaning we can make faithfuls on our own. When the church is complete, I will continue to beat the drum and the bell and they will one day come to hear our teachings.”

He said it is very difficult to convince elders to believe and get baptized but youngsters are registering in his church in the village now making a Lutheran congregation.

“Lutheran Church Africa Mission in South Sudan will do all that it can to help the suffering population in South Sudan. This means that we get a person lying down sick we should not need to pray but we must bring them to the hospital for treatment before teaching him/her the Bible. Not every sickness is caused by a demon as many other churches assume,” he said.

He said preaching peace and counseling in South Sudan can reduce the trauma that has been caused by the previous and the current war in the nation.

“Psychologically most of our people are sick because of many bad things they have seen. My masters in America told me that when you go to South Sudan everybody will claim to be right whether being politicians, laymen, parents and children and this is exactly the case. Nobody would want to apologize for a mistake.  It is brought about by war trauma we very much need to do something there.”


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