Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sudan's referendum vote approaches; pray

Pray for Sudan as its
referendum vote approaches.
In 21 days, voters in southern Sudan will decide whether to secede from the North. Now more than ever, our fellow Sudanese brothers and sisters need our prayers.

Take a look at a report posted today by Mission Network News.

Anticipation and tension mount as Sudan's referendum approaches

Sudan (MNN) ― Anticipation is building as election officials in Sudan are ramping up for a key vote that could determine the peace of a nation.

In just 21 days, as part of a 2005 peace deal, voters in southern Sudan will decide whether to secede from the North. "Polling places are being established inside Sudan; absentee ballots are being distributed. There's a crescendo of activity pointing toward January 9."

Lee DeYoung with Words of Hope says everyone is aware of the weight of this decision. Already, believers in neighboring countries are organizing in solidarity. "There are large prayer meeting gatherings where the focus of the prayer meeting is to intercede on behalf of the people of South Sudan. Many prayers are arising especially in neighboring countries, including Kenya and Uganda."

The tensions could erupt if either side refuses to accept the outcome of the vote. Prayer is the best preparation for peace. "If the outcome is for separating, [pray] that the government of the north will accept the will of the South Sudanese people, and that the arrangements that ensue will take place in a peaceful atmosphere."

If violence blows up, it could be more than one deadly month. "The January 9 referendum, if it is in favor of separation, would be implemented six months later, in July."

At stake is a loss of power and the South's oil resources. Observers say there are already reports of coercion and threats because, as DeYoung says, "From all signs, it does seem as if most of the people, by a large margin of South Sudan, intend to vote in favor of becoming their own country."

Church leaders are calling upon Christians everywhere to pray for a peaceful referendum. The radio broadcasts are tailoring their content toward this message, too. "Words of Hope programs continue to point toward the referendum. The Words of Hope programs in Dinka, Nuer and Bari are focusing increasingly on themes of peace and reconciliation drawn from Scripture."

The Gospel message is echoed in the evangelistic work of the local church bodies. "These, we hope, will be complementing the work of many churches so that the tendency and the history for tribal conflict might give way."

A historic moment is three weeks away, sure to be one of the biggest news events of 2011. Keep praying for peace. Ask God to give believers wisdom as they navigate the days ahead in a time of change.

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