“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 NIV).

I have taken Nehemiah as my role model. He was a man who not only prayed for his people, he returned to Jerusalem and did something about his people’s troubles—he directed the rebuilding of the wall to ensure the safety of the city. Likewise, I have asked men and women to pray to God about what has happened in South Sudan. I have been returning to South Sudan once or twice a year but have not recently been able to do so because of the pandemic. The people there have told me that they are not faring well. I desire to restore hope to them and all the South Sudanese scattered worldwide.

The Bible says that Nehemiah wept for his homeland: “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:4 NIV). Since I came to America in 2001, I have fasted and prayed for God to open the door to help my people prosper in the places where they found safety from war (in America, Europe, Asia, and Australia).

I feel my people can be a success in the places where they have scattered. I ask those of you who’ve settled in other places not to lose heart and not to give up praying, difficult though it might be. I came to America of my own free will to improve my life. No one forced me to do it. I must now take advantage of everything America offers me to make many lives better for future generations and to help me make life better for my people here and in South Sudan.

Why is hope significant in our lives during our struggles?

First, when we were in the bush/forest in South Sudan, we had only hope to cling to, but it kept us from being helpless.  Second, hope can relieve our fears and make us long for a better outcome for our lives. Third, hope gives us more than just feelings; It can help make a challenging situation more bearable and eventually improve our lives, because envisioning a better future motivates us to take the steps necessary to make it happen.

How do we use hope to help us achieve our dreams as South Sudanese in the West? We can demonstrate love and care in the community where we are and also stay connected to one another and to our homeland. We all need to feel loved and cared for, and accepted.

Prayer of Confession:

How do we encourage ourselves and others in relationship with each other toward God? There are many ways to give hope to others: I believe in my dreams to give my people hope that they lost during the many years of struggles and pain in their lives. Father, help me to listen intently. God, help me to help them find the path to restore the dreams they have lost. God, allow me to help express your love and affection to give hope to others. Make use of me to help offer emotional, physical, and financial support to those still in South Sudan. Help me to find more ways to give my people hope to renew their lives, to help them find the strength they need to rebuild.