July 12, 2011

THANKS TO NATURE'S GOD:

World's 196th country gives thanks to God for freedom (Charles Braddix & Zoe Allen, 7/11/11, Baptist Press)

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Juba, the new nation's capital, as they heard their president, Salva Kiir, declare the southern region of Sudan free and independent of the north. [...]

"We have reclaimed our permanent home given to us by God as our birthright," Kiir said. "As we bask in the glory of nationhood, I call upon all South Sudanese to put the long and sad history of war, hardship and loss behind them and open a new chapter of peace and reconciliation in our lives." [...]

The official ceremonies began with the singing of the country's new national anthem. "Oh God, we praise and glorify you for your grace on South Sudan," the opening lines say.

In preparation for South Sudan's independence, government officials urged citizens to attend churches and other houses of worship to pray for peace and thank God for their newfound freedom. Many churches held special services Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Nuru Baptist Church, the only Baptist church in Juba, held community services on Saturday to celebrate independence day, taking opportunity to share the Gospel with visitors.

The congregation played drums, sang and danced in traditional African worship. Many waved flags as they danced and sang. A feeling of jubilation filled the air.

One community leader, specially invited to the event, not only thanked God for the country's independence, guaranteeing religious freedom, but also for establishment of the church in the community. "Your presence here is a benefit and a blessing to our area," he said.

"Let us praise God that He has given us our freedom," said Sworo Elikana, a pastor of the church. "We must rejoice!"

The service focused on the theme "Heal the Brokenhearted and Set the Captives Free," from Isaiah 61.

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Posted by at July 12, 2011 5:49 AM
  

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