Church Intervention Helps Reunite Sudanese Family

Post a Comment » Written on February 14th, 2008     
Filed under: News
ST. CLOUD, MN (February 14, 2008) – The work of Hope Covenant Church to reunite a Sudanese refugee family and its other work with others from the war-torn country is highlighted in an article published by the St. Cloud Times.

The congregation helped David Machar obtain visas for his wife, Martha Gatkek, and 3-year-old son, Jinach, who arrived in late January after being separated for years. The two had been living in an Ethiopian refugee camp to escape the violence in Sudan.

In addition to helping with the visas, the congregation also raised $2,443 to pay for two airplane tickets to Minnesota. “The church is our community,” Machar told the paper. “I just give thanks to all the church members.”

Machar fled from Sudan to an Ethiopian refugee camp in 1984 and lived there for 10 years before spending another two years in Kenya. He came to the United States in the 1990s and became a citizen in 2000.

He returned to Ethiopia that year to marry Gatkek and then again in 2003 to visit her. Jinach was born in 2004, but Machar had not seen him until last fall.

When the church hosted a welcome dinner last month, about 60 Sudanese Covenanters from South Dakota and the Twin Cities attended.

The 220-member congregation has developed strong ties with the Sudanese community, and five families now attend. The congregation has helped one Sudanese member through a two-year battle to gain legal status and paid for others’ expenses that have included the funeral for a stillborn child.

“They have become part of the church,” Pastor Bill Dornbush told the paper. “We want to take care of family any way we can.”

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