Refugee Calls for More Action, Less Talk

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On the run from war in Sudan, Abeny Kuol huddled in a dark wooded area with her three small children. Widowed and fatherless, Kuol spent 17 months journeying on foot to Kenya under cloak of darkness.

Born of Christian parents, Kuol knew God was watching over her as he had before when her family fled Sudan in the mid-1980s. But, alone in the woods, Kuol wondered if God really cared.

“I remember thinking, ‘Are there any Christians left in this world? Don’t they listen to the news? Don’t they see us suffering?’” says Kuol.

Kuol’s questions lingered as she made her way to Kenya—and into the hands of a brother-in-law who, against Kuol’s will but according to local custom, took her to be his wife. After years of rape, Kuol applied to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees for resettlement.

It was there she was linked with the people of Good News Christian Reformed Church in London, Ontario. That was seven years ago.

Kuol shared her story with about 50 gathered at Good News CRC to talk about the report on war and peace being presented in June to the CRC’s annual synod (see p. 18).

Rev. Herman Keizer, director of CRC Chaplaincy Ministries and one of the authors of the report, said he hopes the war and peace report will expand the dialogue about peacemaking. “I’m a World War II veteran. We need to find all the alternatives to war we can, because war is just a brutal and dehumanizing thing,” he said.

That was echoed by David Pfrimmer, principal of Waterloo (Ont.) Lutheran Seminary. “We have to be publicly vocal,” Pfrimmer said during a panel discussion of the report. “We study things to death. . . . We need to remind the decision makers that war is a failure of politics.”

But for Kuol, who listened to the discussion, the church needs to move beyond debate. Her opinion formed in the darkness of Sudan hasn’t changed. She says Christians must be interested in the plight of other Christians caught in the grip of war.

“We must act instead of talk,” says Kuol.

About the Author

Heather Wright is a freelance writer from Petrolia, Ontario.

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