So many Holston members have given their money, time, and prayers to help the people in south Sudan. Now, mission workers hope you will take another step to keep the peace in a region where strong Christian friendships reside.
"Certainly this is a crucial time in Sudan's history that will not come again, so it deserves a thoughtful, special, strong response," said Steve Hodges, who in July relocated from Sneedville, Tenn., to Yei, Sudan, to help build on the growing United Methodist ministry in Africa.
Hodges has written an advocacy letter that church members may use to ask U.S. leaders to press Sudanese leaders for a fair and timely referendum on Jan. 9. On that day, residents of southern Sudan will vote on whether to secede from the country. Residents of Sudan's Abyei area will also vote on whether to be part of the north or the south.
Church members are asked to use Hodges' letter to advocate for south Sudan -- especially now that so many Holston members actually know people who live in Sudan or have traveled to the region on mission trips.
"I would urge people to write a personal letter to those U.S. leaders who are likely to be the most responsive to letters from U.S. citizens on this issue," Hodges said. "Such letters can strengthen the resolve and actions of these leaders for Sudan's democracy and freedom. You can use my sample letter, which can be changed and adapted."
The Rev. Jeannie Higgins, chair of Holston's Sudan Action Team, seconded Hodges' request.
"We need to exert all the pressure we can, and this is but one way to keep it on the focused need," she said.
For more information:
- U.S. says Sudan votes must be held on time (CNN 10/16/10)
- Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to United Nations: Situation in Sudan is "precarious" (NPR 9/15/10)
- Sudan Summit engages 100 United Methodists from seven conferences (The Call, 3/22/10)
- Steve and Diantha Hodges' blog from South Sudan