By Stan Friedman
ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA (August 13, 2014) — Mathew Jock Moses, the director of projects and social development for the Evangelical Covenant Church of South Sudan (ECCSS), is serving as an observer at peace talks aimed at ending a civil war in the world’s youngest country.
Observers can express their opinions but do not have voting privileges at the talks, which are being mediated by the Intergovernmental Agency on Development (IGAD), an eight-country trade block in East Africa.
Talks were suspended earlier this week so that the representative of the South Sudan government could meet with representatives of the United Nations Security Council who traveled to the country to observe the dire humanitarian situation. Mathew says he expects talks between representatives of the government and rebel forces to resume.
The Security Council has declared that South Sudan’s food crisis is the worst in the world. The war has prevented farmers from planting crops.
The ECCSS has worked with partners to deliver relief to three camps for internally displaced people located along the border of South Sudan and Ethiopia. The camps are located on the South Sudan side and are filled with thousands of people seeking asylum in Ethiopia.
Covenant World Relief (CWR) and World Mission, part of the newly organized Serve Globally mission priority, provide assistance to the ECCSS. Most of the relief assistance is provided by CWR, while World Mission focuses primarily on supporting the denomination, says Dave Husby, CWR executive director.
Covenant World Relief has established a Sudan Relief Fund.
Mathew said last month that the people who had received assistance were grateful for the generosity of the Covenant. “They said the relief items have rescued them from going to graves this year and made them continue their lives in this world.”
The ECCSS has an obligation of doing both works by promoting peace as well as serving refugees and internally displaced persons,” Mathew said. “Without peace, the suffering of the people will not come to an end. The people of South Sudan who are tired of war need peace more than any thing else.”
Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the lack of progress in peace talks. “Their leaders are letting them down again and again. Peace talks have been on-going in Ethiopia for six months, while the people of South Sudan continue to suffer and the war persists.”