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Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Greetings to you all in the gracious name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I am so grateful to be back after 2 months on a mission trip to Southern Sudan and Uganda. I felt God’s presence and protection throughout my journey, especially in Southern Sudan where most places I visited had no access to modern transportation such as planes or cars. Instead, I walked at some points, even barefooted due to flooding in the areas. But in all of this, God was in control and had my best interest at heart. I totally leaned on Him and had in mind what David said in Psalms 119:105. “Your word is lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” I also thank Him for giving me an opportunity to go back to see my country which I left many years ago and to be able to meet some of my family members whom I have been apart from for decades. I was further given the opportunity to minister to His people who we all know have undergone tribulation.

Moreover, I am grateful for those who have supported me in prayer and finances. I also thank Archbishop John Thon of the Anglican Church of Sudan who was with me throughout my visit and stay in Southern Sudan. Furthermore, I am grateful for the privilege to meet other bishops who came from different parts of Southern Sudan such Rt. Rev. David Monychol, (Khorfolus Diocese), Rt. Rev. Paul Chol, (Malut Diocese), and Francis Biol, (Bor Diocese). I pray that God will continue to strength our relationship and give us courage to make outreach to His people who are in uncomfortable zones.

I would also love to extend my special thanks to those who have been praying about Southern Sudan’s referendum vote; God has granted what we asked. The vote was overwhelmingly passed with 98% voting in favor of separation. Therefore, on July 9, 201l, a new nation will be born, the Republic of Southern Sudan. Let’s continue to pray for a peaceful relationship between the North and South and for the pending issue of Abyei to be solved peacefully.

Please also pray that God will send His workers to help in transforming the country which was ruined during 50 years of civil war, from 1955 until the signing of the CPA (Comprehensive Peace Agreement) in 2005. There are needs to develop education to improve the literacy rate (80-90% of children and youth population have no access to schools), clinics to reduce the death rate, and boreholes to provide clean water, just to mention few. Let’s remember what our Lord Jesus said inMatthews 9:35-38 ..”the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore,..” pray that God will send His altruistic individuals to extricate the destitute of Southern Sudan.

Finally, pray for me as I plan to have another trip back to Southern Sudan in December of this year. There are other churches that I didn’t manage to reach due to the limits of time during my previous visit and they yearn for my visitation with them. The mission will also include a field visit for a future school construction. Pray that God may provide financial blessing for this trip and the development of the school, which will serve all 10 states in Southern Sudan.

God bless you.

In our Lord’s Service,

Ven. John Deng Ater

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