Gabriel’s Testimony

I am the son of an idol worshiper in a village called Pabot on the Western part of River Nile in the center of South Sudan.  The word of God reached our area early 1990s. This evangelism was extended from the Eastern part of River Nile (the currently Jonglei State) to our area in 1998. I was a very young boy. My work was to herd goats and sheep like any other boy in the village.

One day we took our goats and sheep to a place call Malook, far away from the farms so that they could not destroy crops. In the afternoon, we heard drum beats deep in the forest. They were quite different from normal drum beats we used to hear in the area. This scared us a lot and we told some boys to move with our animals towards the village. Other boys and I hid in the bush and stretched to see what the terrible thing was. They were people in unique attire. They wore in white gowns, ladies covered their heads with piece of cloth with Jesus’ picture. It was really captivating because we had never seen it. We emerged from the bush, joined them and moved with them to the village happily.

In the village they worshiped, preached, prayed and moved around the area to give a message to the people. They burned symbols of idols people worshiped. People in the area mobilized themselves and started restricting the movement of the Christians. They were accused of blindfolding people, destruction of people’s way of life, noise making throughout the area and so on. They were given serious a warning and neighbors who were not interested in their activities attacked them on the basis that they were disturbing the whole area, but, they did not abandon their mission.

God knew very well that in that village there was a young boy of my age by the name Abraham Atem Chol Kuir in the crowd and very vocal in giving the message to anybody who would wish to share with him. I became a good friend to him and I was so inquisitive to every move that was taken by people of God as Atem told me. One day I asked Atem, “my friend, when are we going to see God?” He laughed at me and said, “we don’t see God physically, God is a spirit that lives among us and everywhere else. He is with us now.” He also challenged me if I had ever seen my father’s gods. I told him that I had never seen them. He continued that God was more powerful than my father’s gods. He provided me with everything I had including goats and sheep. And most importantly, He protects me from all sorts of dangers. When you die, you will go to heaven if you are a Christian but you will go to hell if you are not a Christian and he explained to me the glory in heaven and the pain in hell. I asked him what I should do to become a Christian. He told me that I just need to be baptized. I accepted and we went to a priest without hesitation and I was baptized by Pastor Peter Rieth Jalab.

When my elder brother heard that I was baptized, he beat me thoroughly and banned me from going to church. When my father came home in the evening, he was given the horrible testimony about me, he promptly reinstated me back to his way of worship saying that his son could not go that way. When I told Atem, he encouraged me not to give up. He reminded me that God was more than their gods and he would help me. I survived like that and later on left home for school in 2001. This is where I got the freedom to participate in the church and learned the ethics of Christianity.

I am currently serving as a teacher in Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan in a department call JOL-W0-LIEECH youth ministry that takes care of all developmental programs in the church. There are other smaller groups within this department. I am on the evangelism side.

I have chosen to study theology to fully understand the word of God. I also want to know the origin, growth and life of the church Biblically and socially so that I will be able to teach the right thing to Christians and non-Christians and help the church grow.