Coincidence is when God chooses to be anonymous

Bishop Abraham Nhial


Bishop Abraham visited Maysville in October 2014

While he was in the US for the Installation of the new Archbishop of ACNA, Bishop Abraham was able to visit Maysville.

He gave a presentation on Friday, October 24 to the local community at Washington UMC church, covering the story of God saving him from certain death and what marvelous things He has done in his life.

On Saturday, there was a dinner with members of St. Luke’s congregation at the rectory, and on Sunday he preached at St. Luke’s Communion Service.

This photo was taken at the service.

Bishop Abraham
Bishop Abraham

The following article, by Misty Maynard, was published on July 28, 2010 by the Maysville Ledger Independent Newspaper, and is reproduced here with permission.

Bishop Abraham Nhial

The journey made by Abraham Nhial as a “lost boy” of Sudan and the intervening years that included stays in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya before making his way to America has uniquely prepared him for his next role, as bishop in the Episcopal Church of Sudan’s Diocese of Aweil.

Nhial won 90 percent of the vote in the July 16 election that placed him in the role as bishop. In his new position, Nhial will be responsible for shepherding all the clergy within his diocese whose ministries are simply an extension of his ministry, said Rev. Bob Hudson of St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Maysville.

Hudson was “house dad” during Nhial’s first year at Trinity School for Ministry, mentoring Nhial and two other international students. Nhial and Hudson have maintained a relationship since, corresponding regularly. Nhial has visited Maysville twice and Hudson attended Nhial’s graduation from Trinity in May.

While serving as his mentor, Hudson said it was evident that Nhial had special gifts that make his new role as bishop an especially fitting one. Hudson said Nhial has an ability to communicate well within his own culture and with Christians worldwide.

“That is a skill and a blessing God has placed on him,” Hudson said. “Abraham is a servant of God and he will do well following the Lord.”

According to a press release from The Living Church News Service, Nhial’s ministry has been marked by “his forgiveness and mercy toward his former persecutors,” since his time in the Kakuma refugee camp.

As one of the lost boys, Nhial was displaced after his village was attacked in 1987 during a civil and religious war in Sudan. Nhial was tending to cattle at a camp some distance away, as young boys were expected to do, and escaped the attack.

Nhial was separated from his family and joined other boys who were displaced or orphaned in attacks as they walked from southern Sudan to a refuge camp in Ethiopia. The trip took Nhial four months. As they boys walked, they had to avoid the Islamic militants who might kill them or make them join the militia, and the wild animals that attacked and killed many on the journey.

While in Ethiopia, Nhial attended church for the first time and was baptized.

“My hope came when I gave my life to Christ,” Nhial said. “I was abandoned by my own people. Jesus accepted me.”

Nhial spent four years in Ethiopia before being displaced again when rebels overthrew the Ethiopian government. He then walked to Kenya to a refugee camp the United Nations set up.

While in Kenya, Nhial had the opportunity to come to America. He attended college at Atlanta Christian College before being accepted into Trinity School for Ministry, where he was to meet Hudson.

According to The Living Church News Service, Nhial has a “desire to see all of Sudan’s marginalized and oppressed peoples, Christian and Muslim alike, receive justice.”

Sudan remains divided and by telling his story, Nhial has said he had placed a target on his back. Hudson said with his new role as bishop, Nhial becomes more of a threat and the position is not without danger.

Nhial is the first bishop of the Diocese of Aweil. The initial election for the position was to be in March. However, it was delayed when the government of Sudan announced it would be having an election as well.

Rev. William Mou Deng observed the elections with Rev. Stephen Mayuen Mou. They described the election for bishop as a “free and fair exercise” and said politicians in Sudan would do well to follow the church’s example.

“If April elections had been conducted the way our election was conducted, I believe there would have been none of the differences that still exist in the region now,” Deng said.


 

Out of Sudan: A message of hope

The following article, by Misty Maynard, was published on October 16, 2009 by the Maysville Ledger Independent Newspaper. It refers to a visit by Abraham Nhial to Maysville at that time.

Abraham Nhial is passionate. He is passionate about the nation he came from and the suffering of his people. He is passionate to share his story, as one of the “lost boys of Sudan.” He is passionate to share the gospel in America and Sudan. And he is passionate in his desire to let those in America know the privileges and freedoms they have should not be taken for granted.

“I’m here sharing my life with people,” Nhial said. “They should know that God has a plan for them.”

Nhial arrived in Maysville late Thursday evening and will spend the weekend meeting with various church groups to describe his experience as a lost boy. His trip to Maysville was arranged by St. Luke Anglican Church.

As one of the lost boys, Nhial was displaced after his village was attacked in 1987 during a civil and religious war in Sudan. Nhial was tending to cattle at a camp some distance away, as young boys were expected to do, and escaped the attack. His family did not.

Rev. Abraham Nhial and Father Bob

Nhial learned later his family survived the attack, but was displaced. He made contact with his father and a sister many years later.

Nhial met other boys who were also displaced or orphaned in attacks and together the boys walked from southern Sudan to a refuge camp in Ethiopia. The trip took Nhial four months. As they boys walked, they had to avoid the Islamic militants who might kill them or make them join the militia, and the wild animals that attacked and killed many on the journey.

Nhial said he often questioned during his journey why he was spared when others were not. He seemed to find his answer in Christianity.

While in Ethiopia, Nhial said he was invited to church, something he had never attended before, and was presented with John 3:16.

When Nhial was baptized, he chose a Biblical name to go by as was the custom. He chose Abraham. His African name is Yel.

“My hope came when I gave my life to Christ,” Nhial said. “I was abandoned by my own people. Jesus accepted me.”

Nhial spent four years in Ethiopia before being displaced again when rebels overthrew the Ethiopian government. He then walked to Kenya to a refugee camp the United Nations set up.

While in Kenya, Nhial had the opportunity to come to America. He attended college at Atlanta Christian College then attended Trinity School for Ministry where he met Rev. Bob Hudson of St. Luke’s. Hudson was Nhial’s “house dad” during Nhial’s first year at Trinity.

It is Nhial’s second visit to Maysville. He spent time Friday visiting the radio station, The Ledger Independent, then going to Chandler’s Restaurant on Market Street for lunch.

Nhial said more than 35,000 boys were displaced and/or orphaned during the civil war of his country. About two million people were killed.

Though Nhial made his journey in the 1980s, the country is still filled with unrest.

 Nhial said he wants to let people in America know that while they may be facing seemingly insurmountable situations, there is always hope. He wants them to know the hope that is found in faith. But he is also an advocate for Sudan, Darfur and the other lost boys.

Nhial said an agreement was signed in 2005 for the Islamic government and the Sudanese to live together for six years. In the 2010 election, Nhial said it was to be decided whether the country should be one nation, or split into two.

However, Nhial said there is much dispute about the oil-rich southern part of the nation. He criticized an offer from one party to “share” the oil between the north and south, comparing it to a judge who orders a person to split his money with a thief so they can live in peace.

Nhial said he raises awareness because he does not want his children to suffer the way he suffered.

Nhial said he feels safe when visiting southern Sudan, but would not visit Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, even though he has been invited, because by telling his story, he has placed a target on his back.

Nhial said the Sudanese people do not have the freedom of speech Americans have.

“We are just crying inside and dying inside,” he said.

Nhial said if someone was to speak up, it’s possible they would disappear by the next day.

That has not stopped Nhial from speaking up and sharing his story, which he will do several times while in Maysville.

Nhial will participate in a United Methodist Kentucky State Conference picnic at noon today. At 7 p.m., he will be at Washington United Methodist Church to speak about his experience.

On Sunday, Nhial will be at St. Luke’s at 11 a.m. and at 6 p.m. will meet with Trinity United Methodist Church youth to again share his story.