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Lutherans in Sudan

By Hipi Elisa

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sudan (ELCS) was established in November 1993 by Mr. Andrew Mbugo Elisa. He was later trained at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and ordained on August 29, 1999. Pastor Elisa is now the ELCS president. From its beginning, the aim of the ELCS has been to preach the true Word of God, to help people, and to evangelize.

The ELCS headquarters moved to Khartoum (in northeastern Sudan) shortly after it was founded, since civil war in Sudan made it unsafe to remain in the homes near Juba (in southern Sudan). The church started in Khartoum with people praying every Friday in our home. Then, in 1996, we rented a building in Khartoum that became a prayer center. Sunday services were held from 10:00 a.m. to noon with about twenty-five members attending.

I was six years old at that time and my sisters, Naku and Zereda, were four years old and two years old. In 1997, my sister Zereda was one of the first children baptized in the ELCS, and I was a Sunday School member. I began to grow in Lutheran faith and knowledge. I discovered that Martin Luther’s teaching is the right and true teaching. I learned this by reading the Bible and the Small Catechism.

I was happy when my father was ordained in 1999, and I began to develop an interest in Sunday School teaching. In 2001, I began to teach the first group, which includes children from eighteen months to five years old. I was also responsible for a Bible study group. Now the ELCS has grown and has many congregations in the South and the North. The majority of its members are Sunday School children.

God has blessed the ELCS with the St. Paul Lutheran Charity Hospital, which is now helping fellow Christians and poor people. The St. Paul Hospital encourages me to study hard and to become a doctor. I pray that God will bless my desire to become a doctor.

Thanks be to God for the peace that has come with the end of the war! I was born in war. War continued until I was fifteen years old. I don’t even know what the South, my home, looks like. But with the coming of the peace, we want to continue promoting Lutheran work all the more, especially Sunday School work. In order to have a good Sunday School program we will need kindergarten Sunday School teaching materials. We need cooperation and support from the Sunday Schools in America.

The training for the Sunday School teachers is greatly needed because it will enable the teachers to teach properly. We are finding it difficult to use American materials, which are sometimes difficult to for the children to understand, not only because of the language but also their format. American Sunday School materials are sometimes culture-specific. They may work well for American children, but not so well for children of other countries. Here in Sudan, most of the children understand Arabic and only a few of them understand English.

My thanks go to all the people who are supporting the ELCS. Their gifts help this Church to grow, and I ask God to bless them. My wish is that God may bless the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sudan, especially the little children and the Sunday Schools. I pray that they may grow in faith and in Lutheran doctrine and become true Lutheran Christians. I am also asking God to bless the Church by opening schools and a university. May God bless you. Luke 18:15–17.

Miss Hipi Elisa, 15, is the daughter of Rev. Andrew Elisa and lives in Khartoum, Sudan.