Peaceful elections viewed as sign of hope as ethnic violence continues

By May 14, 2010

Sudan (MNN) — Time is running out for southern Sudan's referendum for independence. Recently-elected president Omar al-Bashir has yet to appoint a referendum commission to oversee the initial vote.

As the August 31 deadline draws near, continued failure to set up the commission will disrupt the January referendum and chip away even further at an already fragile peace pact, according to U.S. envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration.

In addition to this political tension, bloodshed among Sudanese ethnic groups persists. Lee DeYoung with Words of Hope said their ministry is combating that: "Through daily broadcasts at least once a week and sometimes more, the theme of a given program is on peace and reconciliation."

While last month's presidential elections are still being questioned for validity, they did conclude peacefully, which southern Sudanese residents hope will set the tone for the precarious referendum vote which could establish the south as an autonomous country.

"This conduct of the recent election does provide some reason to hope it may go better than many had feared it would," DeYoung said.

South Sudan is currently semi-autonomous, and according to DeYoung, almost 90 percent of southern Sudanese want their own country.

To become an independent country, they need unity. DeYoung said, "That sense of national unity has its best hope of solidifying through a common senses of connectedness through shared faith in Jesus Christ."

DeYoung asks you to pray for the Sudanese to overcome this animosity. Pray that they will see their countrymen as brothers and sisters in Christ, not warring members of another ethnic group.

To learn more about the work of Words of Hope in Sudan, visit their Web site,

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