Ethiopia: Day One - Lament

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by Frank Dimmock

As I traveled from the U.S. to Ethiopia on Sunday, I was reminded by the Coalition of Advocates for South Sudan (CASS) to engage throughout the weekend in lamentation and prayer for peace, forgiveness, reconciliation and an end to conflict in South Sudan. A lament is an expression of grief, suffering and sadness. It is a cry of sorrow. It may reflect the experience of an individual, family, community or nation. And, it is an integral part of the trauma healing training.

South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, has been re-engaged in a brutal, internal conflict since December of 2013. Peace agreements, brokered by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have failed repeatedly. Now, the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) has been requested to convene a dialogue to strengthen the commitment to peace-building in South Sudan. This is a VERY challenging task, requiring faith and universal trust and a good measure of astute diplomacy. The chairperson of the SSCC is the Rt. Rev. Peter Gai Lual who is also the moderator of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan.

I am traveling with Pastor David Paduil, leader of the Sudan-American Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) in Gallatin, TN. Our mission in western Ethiopia is to partner with the Ethiopian Evangelical Church, Mekane Yesus (EECMY) and partners from PCoSS to train and promote the healing of psychosocial-spiritual wounds of trauma among South Sudanese refugees. One of the trauma healing exercises in the training is to write a lament. Then after identifying the pain of the heart, and releasing that at the foot of the cross, forgiveness can lead to repentance and reconciliation. Each of these steps is essential in healing and achieving individual and community peace. Scripture engagement and prayer make this possible.

We arrived in Addis Ababa this morning and spent most of the morning at the airport tracing lost luggage (Prayer issue). In the afternoon we met with the President of the EECMY, Rev. Yonas Yigezu Dibisa and the President of the West Gambella Bethel Synod, Rev. James Gadet Tang. We are excited about the work ahead over the next two weeks.

Thank you for your prayers for the thousands who continue to suffer hardships in the refugee camps.

Blessings and peace in Christ,

Frank Dimmock
Africa Mission Specialist
The Outreach Foundation