As always, thank you for your continued support and prayers! God has been so faithful to SMARD and our ministry partners this year, and we’re thrilled to share four incredible ministry updates with you. Your generosity has made these ministry efforts possible!
We were able to host a three-day peacekeeping and reconciliation workshop in South Sudan this February, dedicated to equipping church leadership with mediation and peacemaking skills. ECSS and ACSS have been in an 18+ year conflict in South Sudan, and we were able to gather 60 delegates from both organizations to create a roadmap toward peaceful resolution. We were able to take major steps forward in this workshop, with leaders from both church groups expressing their desire to be at peace. This resolution will take additional peacemaking efforts, so we plan to invite key church leaders to a weeklong summit in Kigali, Rwanda or Nairobi, Kenya in the near future.
In February, we facilitated a 3-day pastoral training for 31 Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS) pastors from the Lietnhom Area Diocese. Five different facilitators from different villages and churches led the training sessions, which provided powerful insight and resources for all of the ECSS pastors in attendance. The training covered:
- Leadership, taught by Rev. Canon James Baak Nhial
- Resource Mobilization, taught by Evangelist Simon But Gai
- The Role of the Church in the Fight Against Poverty and Administration, taught by Rev. Samuel Mabith Madut
- Mission and Evangelism, taught by Rev. Canon Kazito Yak Thiik
- Spiritual Formation, taught by Rt. Rev. Abraham Ngor Mangong
Empower Women Initiative
In May, we were honored to facilitate a two-day micro-finance training for 20 women, centered on empowering them through loan and savings education. This is a beautiful and important part of SMARD’s mission to stand in solidarity with South Sudan’s rural women, youth and children. We want to empower them with knowledge and skills through education, helping them achieve sustainable peace and holistic development for the transformation of South Sudan society. The women have already begun saving on their own, even before receiving donor support. They are so excited to receive these loans and build their businesses to impact their communities.
Trauma Support Training
Lastly, throughout the spring, we were able to host Trauma Awareness and Mentorship Training to 105 internally displaced persons (IDPs) through teaching, discussion, and storytelling. Our desire was to help these groups understand the trauma they’ve experienced, so that they can heal, resettle in their communities, and offer support to other survivors as they facilitate the reconciliation process in their villages and payams. In closing, we’ll leave you with a few quotes from training attendees:
“We are now empowered to rescue others from experiencing violence. We shall be able to protect ourselves and others.” Peter
“I thought that my life would not be the same again after I saw my relatives being slaughtered and my house being burned down during the conflict, but this has restored my hope. I will be an agent of peace, helping traumatized people to get back to resiliency and help my community develop.” James
“I thank SMARD for opening up my eyes to see what was invisible to me. I am a single mother. I used to drink wine when my children didn’t have enough food or medication, thinking that drink would heal me, but now I know that action was caused by trauma. I will leave the camp to start my farming activities to support myself and my children. I will no longer dwell in the cycle of trauma.” Achol