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Praying with refugees in South Sudan: God never fails those who trust in Him
07 April 2015

A young boy at the JRS nursery in in Maban (Angela Wells / Jesuit Refugee Service)
Their faith humbles me; it helps me accept the challenges I face in my life and to see that nothing is forever. Everything changes.
Yambio, 7 April 2015 – For more than three decades South Sudan has been engulfed in a sequence of wars. Generations have been born in exile and refugee camps. Those who survived did so in extremely harsh conditions. Yet as an uneasy peace comes to parts of South Sudan, violence breeding hatred continues in the east and northeast. Nobody should face such injustice.

For 10 years, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) has walked alongside displaced South Sudanese people in their journey of suffering, agony and despair. We have tried to instil in them a sense of hope and resilience for better days to come. JRS provides spiritual and socioeconomic support to help refugees make it through their current struggles and prepare for their futures.

I have witnessed the suffering of so many displaced persons throughout South Sudan and northern Uganda. They face countless hardships, integrating in their new communities and in gaining access to education, health, housing and other fundamental services. But deep in their hearts, they trust God will never forsake them.

The refugees' special gift of faith in God gives them the courage to persevere. Their faith humbles me; it helps me accept the challenges I face in my life and to see that nothing is forever. Everything changes. This belief is founded on belief in God. I have seen refugees return home and settle back in to a normal life after years of living in exile in camps. It demonstrates how life as a refugee can be a transitory, as opposed to permanent, condition.

Your Reflections
God never fails those who put trust in him. Prayer is how God keeps us in constant contact with Him. It is through this kind of communication that we convey our needs and desires to God as much as we praise Him. This reminds me of my experience of sharing space and time with refugees, seeing how they find solace in prayer as they communicate to God. Prayer is an honest and trusted personal conversation, modelled on the pillar of hope, rather than despair; faith in God is an anchor for refugees and displaced persons.

People of faith ask for justice. In situations like South Sudan, where fighting and mass killings have been habitual practices, praying to God for help can console both young and old generations alike. Prayer can spawn a change of heart, for those affected by and involved in conflict, encouraging forgiveness and reconciliation.

Aidan Azairwe, Yambio Director, South Sudan