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While Mary (my South Sudanese ministry partner) and I were sharing Bible stories in the village this past year, one woman said to me, “I am just like that woman in the story.” I had just shared the story of Elisha and the widow with the jars of oil from 2 Kings 4. There are many widows in South Sudan who can relate to this story.
Naomi is a young South Sudanese widow. “Who can I turn to when I need advice like this? Is there a man like Elisha for us?” We discussed the spiritual leaders in the community and came up with a few ideas, but her question still lingers with me. There just are not many mature spiritual leaders in the village.
Very few South Sudanese women can read. The female literacy rate is 16% in the country, and that rate is much lower in the villages. Without access to the Bible and without a stable church, where can a woman like Naomi go for good advice?
The need for education, both spiritual and academic, is clear. Women in South Sudan need your prayer. They face gender biases and are often vulnerable to violence and lack of educational and economic opportunity.
Here is a fun way that you can pray for the people we work with in South Sudan. Many people in the region have a Bible name in addition to their given name (Naomi, Deborah, Dorcas, Elizabeth, Mary, Martha, etc). The same is true for the men. When you are reading your Bible and come across a name, pray for South Sudanese brothers and sisters who share that name.