On September 23, MCPC will welcome to our pulpit the Rev. Michael Muot Put of South Sudan. This is a powerful opportunity for insight into what our brothers and sisters of the Sudanese Presbyterian Fellowship of Portland are experiencing as expatriates of South Sudan.
From The Presbyterian Mission Agency
Founded in 2011, South Sudan is the world’s youngest country. But infighting among its two largest tribal groups [Dinka and Nuer] — friction that dates back to the 19th century — has plunged the country into civil war and forced many of its young citizens to become soldiers instead of doctors, teachers or farmers. The Rev. Michael Muot Put, from the Nuer tribal community, is working to educate communities about the importance of peace among different ethnic groups and to provide a platform based on peace and unity.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has had a presence in Sudan for more than a century and has a long-standing relationship with the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan (PCOSS). Put is currently the youth national secretary for PCOSS; he also has served as pastor in charge of Chotbora Parish in the Eastern Upper Presbytery.
“We have a very strong relationship with PC(USA) as our founder church,” says Put. “Through our affiliation with the Church we get support to facilitate programs in South Sudan. Our main objective is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people and enhance unity among them.”
This fall, Put will be one of 10 International Peacemakers visiting the U.S. as part of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program. They will speak at churches, seminaries and other gatherings from Sept. 21 through Oct. 15. Participating in the Peacemakers program not only gives Put an opportunity to share with U.S. audiences what life is like for people living in a war-ravaged environment, he also hopes to gain important insight into his work toward transforming his native country.
“I’m a victim of political and tribal civil war in South Sudan, and due to its insecurity I’m working outside my country. Through international peacemaking I’m hoping to get ideas that promote peace and share those with my fellow citizens so that one day we can live in harmony like brothers and sisters created by one God.”
Put uses his extensive training in mediation, reconciliation, trauma and healing to lead workshops within PCOSS. Despite the obstacles presented by the social and political realities of his country, Put has had success introducing Sudanese youth to each other.
“In 2014 and 2015 many of our young people would not even greet each other. We organized regular intercultural events using games and training methods; these created friendships and enhanced harmony and unity amongst the young people of my country.”
Scott O’Neill, Communications Associate, Presbyterian Mission Agency