ST. CLOUD, MN (March 16, 2012) – Two Sudanese Covenant Church congregations in Minnesota recently hosted services that raised $22,600 to help fund construction of church buildings in South Sudan.
A daylong worship gathering at Hope Covenant Church in St. Cloud drew families from Fridley, Minnesota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Des Moines, Iowa; and as far away as Nebraska. Attendees raised $12,600, says Jang Biliew, lay pastor of the St. Cloud congregation and organizer of the event.
“The people were happy,” says Biliew. “God did a great thing and made it happen.”
The money will go towards a building estimated to cost $26,000 and made of framing and mud. A brick building would cost upwards of $40,000. Transporting materials in a country with almost no infrastructure accounts for much of the expense.
Covenant missionary James Tang remarked that literacy is negligible in the region of South Sudan where the buildings will be constructed, so advertisements are not effective. However, a church building brings people in when they hear the singing and see the new structure that is open to them.
The St. Cloud event included worship, two feasts of traditional foods, and numerous testimonies. Central to the gathering was bringing forth the offerings, pledges, and gifts from the people as each congregation came forward to present – and celebrate – the contributions.
A gathering in Mankato also was festive and raised $10,000 for a different building in South Sudan. The cost of that building is uncertain.
Both churches in the African nation will become part of the Evangelical Covenant Church of South Sudan.