Trinity's ministry to
refugees from South Sudan began in the summer of 1992. At
that time several young men from south Sudan were
resettled in the Des Moines area through the efforts of
LIRS (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services).
Near the end of 1993 and
through 1994 almost 800 Sudanese refugees arrived in Des
Moines. Most of these were directly from Africa, but many
also relocated to Des Moines from other parts of the
country to live near relatives. More than half of these
refugees were helped in their resettlement by members of
Trinity Lutheran Church.
Most Sudanese people feel
very comfortable worshipping at Trinity Lutheran Church
and hundreds have become members. The Sudanese people
have a service each Sunday morning at 11:30 in their
language (Nuer). There have been over 20 Sudanese missions
started in The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod from Trinity in the
Simon Bilim Yiech
Southern Sudanese Pastor
Sudanese Mission Lutheran Church
Des Moines, Iowa
Nyajuok, Nyador, Rachael Tethloach, Gachbaach, Nyamal, Roda
I am a member of the Nuer tribe, the fifth child in my family, born June 25,
1968 in South Sudan. My family fled to Ethiopia in 1983 because of the Civil War
in Sudan and I was fortunate to graduate from Gambela High School
I was married in 1989 to Rebecca Nya Lam Lam, and God gave us two daughters while still in Ethiopia. My family left Ethiopia in 1992, and transferred to a refugee camp in
Kenya. I was able to find work in the camp as a janitor. We were later accepted for United States resettlement program.
My family arrived in Des Moines on November 29, 1993. We were met at the airport by
members of Trinity Lutheran Church. Later I took adult confirmation classes at Trinity,
and studied the Old Testament. I learned what it means to be a Lutheran and it was very
refreshing and comforting for me. My family later became members. My third daughter was born a US citizen in 1995. Between 1993 and 1994 almost 400 Nuer refugees arrived in Des Moines and were attending services at Trinity. In 1994 our members began having Worship Services in the Nuer language.
Trinity's first Nuer layworker left Des Moines to attend Concordia College in St. Paul, Minnesota, to study for the Pastoral Ministry. I was installed as the Sudanese Lay Worker for Trinity on February 9, 1997.