Moderator gives talk of bravery in South Sudan

The Rev. Peter Gai with the Rev. Barbara Ann Sweetin in the East and Old.
The Rev. Peter Gai with the Rev. Barbara Ann Sweetin in the East and Old.

A story of incredible bravery was delivered to members of the East and Old Parish Church during a visit by the Rev. Peter Gai, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan.

He was invited by the Church of Scotland to attend the General Assembly and after his four-day visit to Forfar he travelled to Belfast for the Church of Ireland General Assembly.

He attended morning worship at the East and Old on Sunday, May 25 and addressed a meeting in the church that evening where he spoke of his journey of faith and incredible bravery.

The Rev. Barbara Ann Sweetin of the East and Old said: “When the church invites oversees guests we ask that they share their story.

“South Sudan has a population of approximately 10,000,000 of which 85 per cent are Christians. What started out as war in December last year has escalated with thousands being killed. Rev Peter fenced in his compound in Malakal in the north of South Sudan and in just a couple of days he had over 2,000 people seeking refuge; he stood at the gate and refused entry to soldiers and different tribal elements. If they wished to enter the compound they had to leave their guns outside and retrieve them when they left. At night they sleep on the floor because of bullets passing overhead randomly. He asks that we pray for peace because the war has crippled the country. There are very few doctors and nurses, no schooling, no road systems and the relief agencies can only come in when there are signs of peace. In the past Christian Aid has been wonderful and at present The Mission Aviation Fellowship is doing what it can as they have been granted access by the government. Since December, five pastors have been killed. The Upper Nile region, where Malakal is, has good resources in the ground - minerals and oil - but because of the war they cannot extract and market the products.

“The Rev Peter spoke at the church service on Sunday morning and again in the evening for people in the Angus area to hear his story. He came to Forfar because I am involved in the World Mission Committee at 121 in Edinburgh and offered to host him for four days. As well as talking to us we took him to Lunan Bay, his first ever trip to the seaside, and to 2nd Forfar Boys’ Brigade Camp at Glen Doll.”