Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Powerful Testimony - Give Thanks, Pray and Share

Fr. George Parmeter is the rector of Grace Church, Huron, SD. His son, Gregory, worships at Christ Church, LaCrosse, WI. Gregory sent along this report from his rector, Canon Patrick Augustine. As we read about the endurance of fellow Christians in Sudan, the vitality of the church in Uganda and other features of this report, let us thank our heavenly Father for the freedom and abundance we enjoy, and pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ. May the Holy Spirit fill Christ's people in every place, bringing the gifts needed for the work Christ desires.

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Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
November 15-16 I went to visit Nimili parishes in the diocese of Bor
along with the Acting Archbishop Nathaniel Garang. We travelled on a very rough road. IN twenty four hours we preached in three parishes and witnessed the living
faith of several thousand Sudanese Dika Christians.

After nine days in Southern Sudan I came out to Kampala on November 17
evening. The Archbishop of Sudan is still recovering from his serious illness in
Kampala, Uganda. I went to see him from the airport. I thought I would
spend not more than thirty minutes with him. We ended up spending three hours as
he wanted to know all about my visit. Archbishop has a very ordiary house
which he is renting in Kampala. He has about twenty orphan children he is
supporting their education. I told Archbishop about my visit to the dioceses of Juba,
Bor, At the end of our long meeting I knelt down on the floor and asked
Archbishop Marona to $450 stipend every three months from the Church of England. I
have come to know he spends most of this money paying tuition of the Sudanese
orphan children he and his wife have adopted. For the last twelve years I have
raised funds to assist him to provide education to these orphan children. This
year God provided generous harvest. My church treasurer wired $15000 to the ECS
Support Office in Kampala. The money was given for the education of
orphan children, to support the work of the Mothers Union. The day I arrived in
Kampla I learnt that several of these orphan children who are finishing
their school in Kampala were sent home as their schools fees were not paid for
the last several months. This was the semester for their final examination.
These children were sent home and were not allowed to appear for their final
exam. Archbishop and his wife had no money to pay their tution. I went myself to
their schools and paid tuition. These children are back in school. My wife
Myra bought food for these children and we left the food in the house with
Archbishop. Archbishop Marona will be retiring at the end of this year. He
and his wife requested me to continue to support the education of these
Sudanese orphan children. I hope you shall continue helping me to support the
education of Sudanese orphan children.

NOV. 18. Yesterday I came to the Entebbe airport in Kampala-Uganda at 12
noon.
In the morning I went to a very large Cathedral of the Anglican Church of
Uganda in Kampala. There were couple of thousands of people who had come
to worship there. I introduced myself to the Dean of the Cathedral. He never
raised any question about the Episcopal Church. He was very warm and
welcoming.
I left from there to the airport. I sat at the Entebbe airport from noon
to 11:00p.m. and then learned that our flight which was supposed to leave at
4:20p.m.was cancelled. Finally we were given a hotel stay after 1:00 am.
Nov,19. This morning at 10:45a.m. Emirate Airline put me on Kenya Airline
and I arrived in Dubai at 8:00p.m. I am now writng this letter to you from Dubai
airport and shall leave for Karachi, Pakistan at 1:30 am. I shall arrive
in Karachi, Pakistan at 4:30a.m. Then I shall leave by car from Karachi to
the city of Hyderabad. My wife Myra and I would go their to visit our future
daughter in law. We shall have a engagement ceromony on Nov.22. The bishop
of Hyderabad diocese and their pastor will bless the engagement between our
son and Sana Massey our future dauther-in-law. Gibran is not able to be
present at the engagement as he has only three days of his annual leave left. Gibran
our son and Sana have been exchanging e-mails and text messages for the last
six months. Next year by the grace of God we shall go with him to Pakistan for
marriage. Sana has just completed her school in medicine. We shall be in
Pakistan till Nov.26. We ask your prayers for our safety and peace in
Pakistan. We shall visit Islamabad from Nov.24-26.
God has really watched over us and blessed our peace pilgrimage to Sudan.
These are our brothers and sisters who have been persecuted for acknowleding
Jesus as their Lord. The Islamic government of Sudan tried to supress the faith of
the Sudanese Christians for twenty five years. 2.5 million killed in 25 years
and more than four million have been displaced. Hunger, death, torture, rape
and slavery could not separate them from the love of Christ. Sudanese Church
is alive and thriving with the power of the Holy Spirit. I thank you for your
prayers and support.
Patrick

3 comments:

Alice C. Linsley said...

So edifying to read this. Thanks for posting it, Father. I will renew my prayers for the Dika and all Sudanese Christians. May God protect, guide and strengthen Fr. George and Myra, their son and future daughter-in-law!

David Handy+ said...

Ditto. I appreciated it too.

A couple personal anecdotes. First, one of my former churches sponsored a refugee family from Africa. The husband was from Nigeria, the wife from Sudan and from the especially hard-pressed Nuba tribe, the northern most Christian group in Sudan and therefore under particularly severe pressure and abuse from the Muslim militias in northern Sudan. I count them among my dear friends, and from them I've learned much about the faithfulness of our brave brothers and sisters in the Global South.

In a world filled with ruthless dictators and worthless rulers, from the insane despot in North Korea to the utterly savage military regime in Myanmar (former Burma) to Zimbabwe's greedy thug of a president, Robert Mugabe, the dubious distinction of being the absolute worst of the worst in my book is the truly wicked and demonically evil tyrant who rules Sudan, Omar al Bashir. All the world now has heard about the continuing atrocities in the Darfur area (western Sudan), but the world media has gotten tired of documenting the continuing genocidal attacks on the heroic Christians in southern Sudan.

Let me add that I know Fr. Patrick Augustine personally, and his own story is an inspiring one. He has such a emphathetic heart for persecuted Christians around the world because he himself has known what it's like to be persecuted. He grew up in Pakistan, where his father served as an Anglican priest in that staunchly Islamic country where for a Muslim to convert to Christianity is still a capital crime. Patrick used to serve in northern VA, which is where I met him years ago. Like the Bishop of Rochester in England, the great Michael Nazir Ali, Patrick is a gift of the small but vibrant Anglican Church of Pakistan to the feeble, dying churches of the western world.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Fr. Handy, Thanks for sharing this. I agree with everything you've written here. God bless you.