A warm welcome for Sudan’s historic peace accord.

By May 31, 2004

Sudan (MNN)–Joy and relief mingle on the cheeks of Sudanese who have seen nothing but war for the last two decades.

It’s part of a warm welcome for a new peace deal that could pave the way to an end of Africa’s longest-running civil war. The power-sharing deal stipulates that the government will have 55-percent of the positions in the disputed regions and the rebels 45-percent.

The two sides have already established that the south should be autonomous for six years, culminating in a referendum on the key issue of independence, with Sharia law remaining in the north.

However, war in the Darfur region threatens the newly-forged calm. Open Doors’ Jerry Dykstra says whether or not the accord holds is the next big question. “We’re going to have to leave it in the hands of the Lord, because, right now, it’s signed. Of course, it has to be put into effect down the road, and so that’s the key. We need to keep on praying that this will really end the fighting.”

Neighboring countries have seen the rise and fall of multiple peace accords, which fall by the wayside in the matter of a few short months. However, Dykstra says no matter what happens, their outreach will continue.

He points to some encouraging news from the churches in the South. “The tremendous news is that despite the persecution and the burning of churches, there’s been amazing growth of Christianity. In fact, we believe the figures show it’s been grown to almost 70-percent of South Sudan. This is just the way that the Holy Spirit works.”

Their teams are still working to help train church leaders in dealing with persecution, as well as the new role of a facilitator in reconcilliation. Pray for those involved with these challenges in the days ahead.

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