A new congregation of immigrants from Southern Sudan is worshiping at the Epworth United Methodist Church in Des Moines. Their gatherings feature amazing singing, syncopated drumming, and powerful witness to the ways God has brought them together after many years of hardship.
The Mabaan people are refugees from South Sudan, who have escaped fighting, persecution, rape and death. Many have lived in refugee camps under very difficult conditions. They built their own makeshift shelters of bamboo and grass. Water was available from wells dug by humanitarian groups, and basic sanitation was lacking as were other services in the camp.
At least 125 to perhaps 250 persons now live in the Des Moines area after traveling through many countries to get here. This April 30th the congregation will gather for a service of baptism to welcome new members into the church. As they are preparing for this special day, one member remarked, “I never thought this would happen in my lifetime.”
This new community of faith has received $106,000 in financial support from the apportionment gifts of the United Methodist churches of Iowa. Additional gifts can be made to the South Sudanese community through Iowa Advance Special #267. Learn more about the Mabaan United Methodist Church on our Iowa Conference website.