A New Year's Perspective from Sudan

Jan 17, 2003 12:32 PM EST

KHARTOUM - As I write this article, it is a new year and I am in Sudan. The Presbyterian Church began its evangelism, medical, and education work in this country one hundred years ago. Presently, the Presbyterian Church of Sudan and the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church is experiencing fast growth under the National Sudanese leadership.

I preached five times on this first Sunday of the new year. Churches were filled with children, youth, and adults who love Jesus Christ and want to serve him by serving the people of God in Sudan.

On behalf of the Presbyterian Church of Sudan and the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church, I want to thank you for your faithful stewardship that helps the church's work and witness in this place. I ask you to join the Sudanese people in praying for their country and for the Presbyterian Church of Sudan and the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church. Pray for an end to the civil war that has killed more than two million people over the last nineteen years. Pray for peace between the north and the south in general, and peace between the Christian tribes in the south in particular. Pray for an end to hunger and poverty. Pray for the church as it trains young, new leaders in ministry.

It is a new year, but I have already passed the halfway point of my term as Moderator. I have witnessed the church in action in many ways. Congregations are involved in local and global mission. Dedicated pastors, elders, and church members are engaged in ministry for Jesus Christ. Presbyteries and synods are focusing on the mission of the church, restructuring goals and objectives to meet the needs of the twenty-first century. Presbyterian-related colleges are educating our young people and seminaries are training our future church leaders. The church's national staff members are demonstrating their commitment to serve Jesus Christ. The mission field is growing, thanks to the partnerships between sessions, presbyteries, synods, and the General Assembly.

It is a new year and the Presbyterian Church is alive and well. May we continue to focus on spiritual renewal, unity in the midst of our diversity, local and global mission, and hospitality to everyone in the name of Jesus Christ. May each of us invite someone new to come to know Jesus and to join a congregation. May we continue our strong financial support of the mission and ministry of our presbyteries, synods, and General Assembly.

As I walk through these refugee camps in Sudan, I am reminded of how God has uniquely blessed us as Presbyterians in the United States and how our real response to the gospel can make - and is making - a difference in God's world.

By Rev. Fahed Abu-Akel, 214th General Assembly