Darfur was not a part of the peace agreement, so its villages continue to be attacked with survivors escaping across the desert to displaced peoples camps. The violence increased once again ahead of the vote in 2011 to decide whether the south should be independent or united with the rest of Sudan, some fear a return to civil war.
In the referendum of January 2011, the south of Sudan voted to separate from the north; and in July 2011 South Sudan became the world's newest country.
The months since the creation of the independent South Sudan have been difficult as past tensions between peoples have simmered and new ones have erupted. In 2012, AIC reported how churches have been burned.
In 1984, there were only 10 local AIC churches in one district in a remote part of southern Sudan. Today, there are hundreds of churches across the nation.
In July 2011, AIC developed a programme to assist 1,000 families displaced by escalating conflict in the Abyei, South Kordofan region of north Sudan, with food, shelter, clothing and medicines.
For displaced families from Darfur, basic supplies also make all the difference. A relief recipient in Darfur said, “Thank you for the cooking utensils, blankets, mosquito nets, and water containers. God is working in the hearts of our brothers in other countries to come to our rescue. We are asking the Church not to forget us in their prayers.”
Rev. Arkanjelo Lemi was born and raised in Kapoeta in Eastern Equatoria where his father worked as a gold miner. After the death of Arkanjelo’s mother in 1978, believers from AIC churches ministered to him and led him to Christ.
As a believer, he became heavily involved in youth ministry and during his Bible school years, he and groups of students would share the Gospel in displaced people’s camps, especially during Christmas. They would often say, “Let’s take Jesus to them. That’s the only gift we can give.”
Over the years Rev. Arkanjelo has served in engineering, development, and pastoral roles and also worked with church leaders throughout Sudan. He was licensed as a pastor in 1997 and ordained in 2005.
Associated with AIC for many years, Rev. Arkanjelo was elected as the new Bishop of Africa Inland Church in 2010. He is married to Julia and has five children.