"Impacts Sudanese Group"
In Their Own Words
From Gabriel Moja:
I wish I am keeping a record. But the mission group was and still doing a great job towards the Sudanese and South Sudanese. Most of those who got any kind of help and assistance may not got the message about the report. For myself the mission group was being providing Christmas gift to my kids for more than fifteen, their first bicycles, tablets and you name it. Personally through the mission group, Paster Tupper paid the fee for my citizenship. The mission group also gave access to the church hall to conduct our Sudanese meetings as Sudanese before the split of the Sudan and after. The mission group contributions to me and the community is huge. I wish I kept a record of the good things the mission group provided to me and my family for almost two decades. The big memorable thing is the sponsorship of the mission group of my trip to Pennsylvania, where I meet a lot of good people doing a tremendous jobs in helping our people back home. In short not speaking on behalf of everybody, but one can say the blessings through the mission group touched almost everyone from the two Sudans living in the Roanoke area. On behalf of myself and family, I would like to the mission group of the Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church for their endless assistance to me, family, and my larger community the Sudanese. My special thanks goes to Sandra the face of the mission to our community. I hope I can articulate better. Thank you the Mission Group. All I can say is thank you again and again.
SUDANESE/SOUTH SUDANESE SUPPORT MISSION GROUP
Beginning in January 2002 with 17 of the Lost Boys from South Sudan and a 12 week English as a Second Language (ESL) class, what would eventually be the Sudanese/South Sudanese Support Mission Group began. The original 17 Sudanese were from a group of over 20,000 who had been orphaned or displaced during the Second Sudanese Civil War and walked for thousands of miles to refugee camps to escape the war. When the 17 finally arrived in Roanoke, there were 27 church members who volunteered to teach. Since then we have offered ESL classes, citizenship test preparation, tutoring, communication and computer skills to the expanded community. To help those furthering their education at the college level, we have purchased textbooks and computers. Two South Sudanese children have been sponsored by members of the church, so they could attend RCPC Preschool.
We support a sewing group that meets at St. James Episcopal Church with gifts of sewing machines, fabric and sewing supplies. The proceeds from the items that they make are used to help relatives and friends still living in South Sudan. We have also helped their relatives by sending a cargo shipment of school supplies, clothes, and other needed things, like salt.
Locally we deliver furniture and household goods plus supply clothes, cars, bikes and other requests. We have taught people to drive and given rides to those who don't drive to local appointments and to Charleston, W.Va., for their biometrics appointment and to Fairfax or Norfolk, Va. for their citizenship test; hosted parties to celebrate important occasions; sewn wedding dresses; filled out innumerable forms; been with people in court, doctor's offices and the hospital; provided medicine, rent, holiday food and emergency food; and given Christmas presents to the children through our Angel Tree Alternate Giving Program.
We have touched the lives of hundreds of Sudanese and South Sudanese with the message that we are all God's children and are to love and help one another.
Here are some of the positive impacts that the Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church has played on us, we the South Sudanese and Sudanese here and back home :
(1) Education : We got tutored by the Raleigh Court Presbyterian's members. They tutored ESL, Math, Literature, and Computer skills.
(2) Book refunds. My colleagues and I, who were attending Virginia Western Community College, benefited from the books' reimbursement program.
(3) The church sponsored about 40 students plus back in Africa. Most of those students were in primary schools and secondary schools. Most of them were in Kenya and Uganda. My young brother Michael, Cousin Chol, and Niece Aluel were among the students who were sponsored by the Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church. They graduated high school and went to Universities. Unfortunately, my cousin, Chol was killed three months after his graduation from Wau University during the conflict in Wau in 2015. Sandra, I don't think I have shared that sad news with you before.
Lastly, Sandra you have been a great asset to both South Sundanese and Sundanese. You have been a great liaison between us and the church. We are very thankful to you and the entire Congregation of the Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church. The list is long , I would have written more good things, but I will stop right here since you requested us to be brief . May the good Lord richly and continuously bless the Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church's entire Congregation .
Peace, Peter Alier.