Submitted by Beverly Nolte, Chair, Iowa Conference Mabaan Fund Raising Committee
It was June 2016 when Central District Superintendent Dave Weesner asked me to help find housing to relocate a South Sudanese pastor to Des Moines. The family, Aaron Limmo and Helen Lieti, along with their family of four, were to be the new pastor of a fast-growing Mabaan speaking Christian group in Des Moines with a smattering of Mabaans in Storm Lake and Omaha. The family arrived in August 2016 which began my involvement with this group of Africans.
In the four years since, I have learned to know and help the Mabaans as they began their religious activities by coordinating the elementary Sunday School, holding a Citizenship Class and chairing the Limmo Support Group. This has allowed me to hear many of their stories when living in South Sudan and their experiences during their years in refugee camps in Ethiopia.
The Greater Mabaan Committee asked Central District Superintendent Heecheon Jeon and me to meet with them where they shared their story about the horrific deluge their people suffered over several months in 2019. This flooding was so severe that people were displaced, their crops devastated, cattle drowned and livelihood ended. They asked for the support of the Iowa Conference, so a committee was formed to discuss fundraising ideas as Bishop Haller and the Cabinet approved this opportunity to reach out with financial aid.
Not only has COVID-19 affected our lives here in the U.S., but it also has dealt another blow to South Sudanese where they have experienced the pandemic. Non-government Organizations (NGO's) have discontinued their flood relief support. Assistance to help rebuild and bring normalcy to the Mabaan County area, which was the most heavily devastated by flooding, is no longer available.
The Iowa Conference has agreed to continue with the Mabaan fundraising but will put this project on the back burner until when we reopen our churches and restart Iowa Annual Conference activities.
You are welcome to help support the Mabaans by donating online or sending a donation to the Conference Treasurer, 2301 Rittenhouse St., Des Moines 50321. Please note 53321 MF on the memo line.
Many of the Iowa Mabaans have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 losing their jobs, being laid off and getting the virus. This has hampered their efforts to financially help their family and friends back in Mabaan County. Prayers are needed not only for the Mabaans but for all of us affected by this pandemic.
Mercy to the needy is a loan from God and God pays back those loans in full. Proverbs 19:17