The Keliko came from all over. Most lived in the area in refugee camps. Others walked, rode bicycles or hitched rides from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). International visitors flew in from South Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia, Germany, England, Canada and the United States.
All converged on a small town in northwest Uganda called Koboko to celebrate the dedication of the Keliko New Testament — the 1,000th New Testament completed with the engagement of Wycliffe USA and SIL.
The Keliko homeland is in South Sudan, but due to unrest many community members now live as refugees in Uganda and the DRC. The translators, including Bishop Seme, the Episcopal bishop of the diocese where the Keliko live, had labored through 20 years of civil war and unrest.
SIL Sudan provided technical and advisory support throughout that period, but the project clearly belonged to the Keliko church, born of a vision by Bishop Seme’s grandfather in 1983.
Church leaders, local government dignitaries and international visitors had a common theme running through their speeches: peace. Just the week before the dedication, the warring parties in South Sudan had signed a peace agreement.
Now the Keliko, who have lived in conflict zones for so many decades, are trusting that the peace of God and the God of peace will go before them and open the way to return to their homeland.
At least for one Saturday on Aug. 11, 2018, people who’ve lived their lives in hardship and challenge were overcome with uncontainable joy and hope.
Story courtesy of Russ Hersman