By Sue Sprang
WYOMING, MI – I recently spent part of a day with our synod’s Sudanese mission congregation at Christ Lutheran Church, Wyoming. It was a rich, deeply moving experience that left me spiritually uplifted, humbled, and reminded of those things I take for granted. Worship, stories and conversation, a warm welcome – and being adopted as “Grandma” by the children – culminated to pronounce an abiding, abounding faith of a congregation whose roots lie in a story of civil war and strife.
It is a story so foreign to my own. And it is humbling.
This article is a prelude to a series about our Sudanese sisters and brothers.
There is the phenomenon of what has been labelled the “Lost Boys of Sudan”, some who found their way to America… some of whom came together to form a Sudanese congregation housed at Christ Lutheran Church, Wyoming… whose past and present are intermeshed as they bring the strife of their past with the hope of a better future for their own children, thanking God for the present while vowing to not forget the past – and those they left behind in South Sudan.
There is this beautiful congregation that brings together those who have shared an emotional ride of civil war, refugee camps, and going to a strange country to try to forge a new life.
There is the abiding, abounding, abundant faith in Jesus Christ that has not wavered. It is a faith that kept our Sudanese brothers and sisters from falling into a chasm of irrevocable despair. It is a faith that sustained them through witnessing murders of neighbors and loved ones. It is a faith that buoyed them when fleeing a military that saw no problem in kidnapping 12-year-old boys to train as soldiers. It is a faith that saw them through separation from families, moving from refugee camp to refugee camp, and making a journey to a new country.
And it is a faith that they are anxious to share with anyone who will hear.
I am wondering if my own faith would be that strong.
It is awe-inspiring… definitely humbling.
Sue Sprang is the mission storyteller for the N/W Lower Michigan Synod. Watch for more articles on our Sudanese sisters and brothers. The congregation meets at Christ, Wyoming, and will soon be applying to be a synodically authorized worshipping community of the ELCA.