An interim steering committee has been formed to spearhead Bible work in the world’s newest nation. When UBS Africa Area Secretary David Hammond visited South Sudan recently, he found people full of confidence and hope for the future. This is the background against which, it is planned, the Bible Society in South Sudan will be launched by the end of the year.
“My visit to Juba and Yei was very exciting and a real eye-opener,” says Mr Hammond. “You could literally smell freedom in the air. People look more confident and are bubbling with hope.”
A key purpose of Mr Hammond’s visit was to meet Church leaders and heads of Christian organisations to tell them about Bible Society work and the role they can play in this ministry.
“They responded very positively and were eager to share their views about what the priorities should be,” he says. “They mentioned, among other things, people who don’t have the Bible in their own language, people who cannot read, people who have been traumatised by the war and people who are living in refugee camps in a state of dependency.”
Gesture of support
Travelling with Translation Consultant Dr Edward Kajivora, Mr Hammond also made his way over badly neglected roads to Yei, where he met Bishops from the Catholic, Anglican and Evangelical Churches. They greatly appreciated this gesture of support as they face a wide range of challenges, especially the scarcity of Bibles.
“Your visit was an answer to prayer,” commented one.
Education, too, has been badly affected by the long years of war, leaving a literacy rate of only around 30 per cent. Mr Hammond noticed, however, that there are already signs of schools beginning to function more effectively again.
Revamping Bible work
The immediate tasks for the five-member steering committee include researching the requirements for registering the Bible Society and gaining the support of Church leaders from all backgrounds. In the meantime, the Juba depot will re-open and arrangements are being made for some of the translators who had re-located to Uganda because of the war to return to Juba to work on the six projects currently under way.
“Please pray that these initiatives will succeed in revamping the work in Sudan,” concludes Mr Hammond.