Despite having been subjected to aerial bombardments 9 times in one year, the Christian Liberty High School was officially opened with most of the civil and church leaders in Moruland joining in the celebrations.
The Christian Liberty High School (CLHS) is the first Christian high school in war afflicted Southern Sudan. It has been established by Frontline Fellowship amidst the ruins of the old Bishop Gwynne College (BGC) in Mundri. The college had first been built in 1947 by the Church Missionary Society. It was surrounded by Muslim government forces in 1965 and completely destroyed. The college was rebuilt in 1975, but attacked again and abandoned in 1987.
Since Frontline Fellowship began repairing the badly damaged and vandalised buildings of BGC, over 100 bombs have been dropped on Mundri by the Sudan Air Force.
After the initial bombing raids by Antonovs and MiGs, in March and April 2000, the students, teachers and workers fled.
At one time there were 20 carpenters, 6 painters, 8 builders and dozens of other workers. Six tonnes of timber, 200 litres of paint and truckloads of tools and equipment were quickly used up and more and more supplies needed to be trucked in. Amidst bomb craters, air raid shelters and trenches, nearly a hundred people worked together in the final week to prepare the chapel, classrooms and library for the official celebrations.
Bombed High School Re-opens
With great excitement, leaders from all over Moruland converged on Mundri to see the impressive progress made in restoring the ruins of BGC, which had so recently been overgrown by the jungle.
Honoured guests included the Commissioner of Mundri County, many civil leaders, chaplains, teachers and pastors from all over Moruland.
On the way to the Christian Liberty High School, guests would have passed by an abandoned mosque, and a disused khalwa (or Quranic school) – both monuments to the failure of the National Islamic Front government’s policies of Islamisation and Arabisation. Then, as they approached the bridge leading to the mission base, they would have seen a large wooden cross surrounded by bomb craters and shrapnel scarred trees. In the concrete base of the cross are etched the words:
A Mighty Fortress is Our God.
Over the bridge a wooden sign proclaims:
Christian Liberty High School
No cutting of trees
The entire area between the Mori and Yei rivers entrusted to Frontline Fellowship has been declared a nature reserve – with the full support of the civil and church leaders. Already people have brought some small wild animals to us. Within the property one can hear the sounds of hundreds of birds and on occasion large numbers of eagles, hawks and ibis can be seen soaring over the trees.
Alongside the beautiful restored chapel a large Christian flag proclaims the Lordship of Christ. Inside the freshly painted chapel an even larger Christian flag dominated the front wall. As the special guests took their seats, the CLHS students in their new uniforms marched across the field from the classrooms and entered the chapel singing a joyful hymn.
Rev. Canon Kenneth Baringwa, who first invited Frontline Fellowship to come to Moruland, opened the service in prayer. It was recalled that when he first brought me to see the ruins of BGC in 1996, we had to hack our way through the jungle to reach it - and in the main lecture room a large green mamba snake slithered!
Rev. Jeffrey Kayanga, the secretary of Lui Diocese, served as master of ceremonies. Rev. Bill Bathman of In Touch Mission International, who was celebrating his 50th year as a missionary, presented the devotions. I presented the vision and background of the school. Then Bishop Bullen Dolli of Lui Diocese, Bishop Eluzai Munda of Mundri Diocese and the Commissioner spoke. Bishop Bullen had once been a lecturer at BGC and it was Eluzai Munda who, as principal of BGC in 1975, led its first rebuilding. The student choir and the Frontline team presented various hymns.
Along with the joy and excitement of seeing restoration and progress, there was a general appreciation of the importance of education as laying foundations for the future and a sense of destiny in rebuilding on solid foundations laid long ago by faithful servants of God. Despite the college being destroyed twice and bombed multiple times since, it was again restored, a hive of activity and vibrant with life, ministry and worship.
"Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age old foundations, you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings." Isaiah 58:12
After the consecration service, visitors were treated to a celebration feast and a tour of the school buildings. The well stocked library was of special interest. Much still remained to be done but the school was in session and services, Bible studies, outreaches and medical ministry were being conducted everyday. Literally tonnes of Bibles and books have been distributed from the mission base month by month.
Students of the Christian Liberty High School at the
Frontline Fellowship mission base in Sudan enter the chapel
while singing songs of praise.
"So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height for the people worked with all their heart." Nehemiah 4:6
At the official opening Nehemiah 6:16 was read:
"When all our enemies heard about this and all the surrounding nations saw it, our enemies lost their self-confidence, because they realised that this work had been done with the help of our God."
Foundations for Freedom
After opening the Christian Liberty High School, my father-in-law Bill Bathman, and I conducted a Teacher Training Seminarfor 60 primary school teachers, a Chaplains Training Seminar for over 40 chaplains and a God and Government Seminar for 14 community leaders. We also delivered and distributed over 3000 Bibles to schools, churches and military units. The Chaplains were also presented with new Chaplains Prayerbooks and received further training. Since 1996, Frontline Fellowship has been training and equipping Chaplains in Sudan. There were now 70 trained Chaplains and Chaplains Assistants.
Since 1997 Frontline Fellowship has been helping the local church to train and equip primary school teachers. Now, by God’s grace, there are 680 trained teachers and 120 primary schools in Moruland. And each of them has now been equipped with Bibles in English and Moru. These Bibles are used as the primary textbooks.
Rev. Bill Bathman, who is 73 years old and in his 50th year of missions, presented sermons in the Fraser Cathedral in Lui (which had been destroyed twice before and was severely damaged by bombs dropped on 29 December 2000); the church in Jambo (which has recently been bombed 3 times during Sunday morning services and also during the Christmas Day service); and in the Church in Kotobi (which was previously destroyed by helicopter gunships and has endured numerous aerial bombardments, even on a Sunday morning this year). At each town we were welcomed by joyful crowds waving Christian flags and singing hymns. Despite the bombing campaign, the churches were filled and overflowing with eager people hungry for the Word of God.
Clearly, Jesus Christ is building His church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).
Please continue to pray for the resilient Christians suffering in Sudan.
Dr. Peter Hammond
Throughout the rest of 2000, FF field workers, aided only by a few chaplains, continued to repair, rebuild and restore the school and college. At the end of January 2001 the students and teachers returned and joined the growing staff of carpenters, painters and other workers.
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