Adventists in South Sudan urged to be ambassadors of peace
Juba, South Sudan—On February 10, 2015, Seventh-day Adventist Church President Ted N. C. Wilson encouraged Adventists to be ambassadors of reconciliation and peace in South Sudan, where a yearlong conflict has caused two million people to flee their homes and prompted the establishment of a major Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) program.
Wilson was welcomed to the country’s capital, Juba, by a jubilant parade of hundreds of Pathfinders and other church members. The colorful throng marched from the city center to a compound that houses the local Adventist Church headquarters.
Wilson told the crowd that he had come especially to make sure that they felt like they were part of the Seventh-day Adventist world family. “They are so happy to be part of God’s great family: wonderful, friendly, and faithful people.” Wilson also pointed to 2 Corinthians 5, where Paul says believers are “ambassadors for Christ” and speaks of how God “has given us the ministry of reconciliation.”
South Sudan has been mired in interethnic conflict since December 2013. The country’s president and his rival reached a power-sharing agreement last month, but the terms have yet to be determined. Of the 2 million people who have fled their homes over the past year, 1.5 million remain displaced within South Sudan, and the rest have sought refuge in neighboring countries, according to the United Nation’s figures.
ADRA has ongoing health-related work in South Sudan and, because of the conflict, has teamed up with the United Nations to provide emergency food supplies to internally displaced people, said Imad Madanat, vice president for programs at ADRA International. “The rainy season has made it nearly impossible to access remote villages with food supplies and emergency health care,” Madanat said. “The situation in South Sudan is still dire, and we are striving to reach as many internally displaced persons as we can.”
The Adventist Church in South Sudan has 23,000 members worshiping in 59 churches and 166 companies. [Andrew McChesney/Adventist Review]
In Thailand, Adventist university hosts mobile eye surgery clinic
Muak Lek, Saraburi, Thailand—A Seventh-day Adventist university in Thailand recently hosted a group of volunteer ophthalmologists who offered free eye care for more than 250 nearby elderly residents in need. The church’s Asia-Pacific International University in the Saraburi Province hosted the mobile eye surgery clinic, sponsored by the province’s Red Cross Society during February 2 to 6, 2015.
Patients were diagnosed with cases of cataracts, pterygium, and other eye-related conditions. The surgeries for most cases took five to ten minutes to complete, while more challenging cases took up to an hour.
The mobile clinic was set up in various spots around campus, including a multiuse room, dining room, and church parking lot. The clinic served underprivileged elderly from five districts—Muak Lek, Nong Khai, Kaeng Khoi, Wihan Daeng, and Wang Muang.
The program was also supported by Varangkna Tongkamsai, an ophthalmologist for the Nations Relief and Community Health Protection Society, who conducted the eye operations. Organizers said the highlight of the five-day event was a February 4 appearance by Phan Wannamethee, secretary general of the Thai Red Cross Society and a representative of Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, executive vice president of the Thai Red Cross Society.
The Princess Sirindhorn Mobile Eye Surgery Clinic was established in 1995 to commemorate Princess Maha
Chakri Sirindhorn’s fortieth birthday. The project has advanced to be a mobile surgical unit to provide free eye treatment for people with cataracts, glaucoma, and diseases of the eyelids. So far, the project has provided treatment for more than 158,000 people and performed operations on 40,000 patients. [Kannika Seesookphu and Patthita Chotwittayagan]