Less than a year after Fr. Joseph Taban Lasuba D’10 returned to his native Southern Sudan, Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of Sudan Daniel Deng Bul Yak asked him to serve as secretary for the peacemaking efforts between the government and Lt. Gen. George Athor, a dissident with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army who took up arms against the government last year.
The resulting cease-fire between Athor and the Government of Southern Sudan came just days before a seven-day referendum began Jan. 9, 2011, and was crucial to its peaceful process. The referendum was part of a peace deal that ended the civil war between Sudan’s north and south that left about two million dead and forced about one million to flee the county. The result of the referendum, announced in February, will determine whether Africa’s largest country is split in two, creating the independent nation of Southern Sudan.
In an interview before he received his master of theology degree last May, Lasuba said that coming to the United States, combined with his experiences being displaced in northern Sudan for 20 years of the country’s second civil war (1983–2005), had given him “courage and confidence” to return home.
“Once, a little boy I knew from my former home parish came up to me after I had returned from seminary in Beirut and said, ‘All the ones who left [Southern] Sudan have never come back,’ ” said Lasuba, who was recently appointed principal at New Bishop Gwynne College in Juba. “This boy had seen many leave. His words struck me like an arrow. I told him, ‘Even if no one else will come, I will come back for you.’ God spoke to me sacramentally through this small child.”
Read the entire interview by Heather Bixler D’11, published in the 2010–2011 issue of Perspectives, the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies’ newsletter »