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The Oliji Refugee Settlement changed James’ life.

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The Oliji Refugee Settlement changed James’ life. But probably not how you imagine.

James fled South Sudan in 2015. He fled violence, a job as a banker, and a life he calls “bad and of no help to others.” Arriving to a refugee camp in Uganda made things worse. “I became frustrated and hopeless. Things were hard for me since I was without Christ.”

But James was slowly noticing a change – “something began to shape me, a new hope and destiny.” Shortly after James received Christ, he heard of African Leadership through a local pastor. Pastor Taban, one of our teachers, asked James if he’d like to learn more about God. James said yes.

In September 2016, Pastor Taban started an African Leadership class of 16 people in the camp. James was one of them. As he was taught and discipled by Pastor Taban, James felt his life change even more. “I got transformed spiritually. It has renewed my mind, organized my words, improved my behavior and response to anybody.”

James won’t officially graduate until June 2018. But that hasn’t stopped him from making statements of hope in a place he once considered hopeless. “I realized that only a changed life can change more lives. I developed a sense of humanity and began to help others who are hopeless. My neighbors have wounds created by war in their hearts so I began counseling and teaching the people. I created a Bible study at my home where my neighbors got saved and now follow us to church.”

Now serving as a secretary in his local church, James sees the bigger picture. “God opened for me an opportunity to be with every kind of people, to give them the Word of God. I have helped many in my camp to come to Christ and develop strength and hope, even when they lost dear ones in South Sudan. I thank African Leadership for helping me become instrumental in the community.”

James is just one of many disciples making statements of hope across the continent through African Leadership. Stay tuned for more stories...

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Update from South Sudan

The past month has been a hard one in South Sudan. Following an alleged coup attempt, the President, Salva Kiir, accused the former Vice President, Riek Machar, of fomenting rebellion against his rule. From the middle of December until now, the UN has estimated that there have been over 1,000 deaths and 201,000 internally displaced people. Since we last updated you on how the violent outbreak has affected Tito, our Sudan & South Sudan Country Director, we have received more news from the field and wanted to share:

Tito ended up evacuating his family, taking his wife and children to stay with friends in Uganda. Tito himself has been in Nairobi, Kenya for the past week and a half working on his Master’s degree program and will go to Uganda to be with his family today. He plans to take them back home for the next few weeks unless the violence increases or circumstances worsen, but all have remained safe and for this we are thankful. Please continue to be in prayer for the protection of Tito, his family, and all African Leadership students and teachers in South Sudan.

Pray for South Sudan

Earlier this week, fighting broke out in South Sudan following an unsuccessful coup attempt. In the days since, gunfire has continued, sending around 15,000-20,000 residents to seek shelter at local UN facilities. Estimates suggest that 400-500 people have been killed and reports now state that fighting has spread beyond the capital of Juba. For a brief overview of the situation and continual updates, you can check BBC here.

We have been in contact with our South Sudan Country Director, Tito Iranga. On December 18, he reported that some residents have been able to leave their homes to access food and water today, but rebellions are emerging in several areas. Depending on the progression of events over the next few days, Tito may take his family to the border while he stays behind. His specific prayer request is as follows: "Pray for this young nation to be stable so that the peace of Christ reigns in the land."

As the political in-fighting continues, please join us in prayers of protection and peace for Tito, his family, and the country of South Sudan.