Ambassadors of Christ to the people of Republic of South Sudan, known as “Peace Regulators,” stopped by New Life Church recently to leave a message of encouragement to all members and non-members. Shelvis and Nancy Smith-Mather serve Christ together in the Republic of South Sudan, along with their son and recent newly born daughter, since 2010.
Their first mission was in Kenya for a year, in which the Presbyterian missionaries encountered many rough times. They never gave up on God and their faith and continued to serve their mission today.
The couple had the opportunity to celebrate girls being educated in Boma in southern Sudan and their youth choir documentary, which led their faith to serve the girls and leaders of this country. In Sudan one out of seven children never reaches their fifth birthday, 84 percent are uneducated or have no education at all, and many have seen more days of war in their lives than peace. According to Shelvis, “I have received a call to minister to the marginalized, oppressed, down-trodden, sick, poor, and broken hearted.”
Shelvis and Nancy grew up in Atlanta, and attended high school, college, and seminary school together. They are graduates from the Westminister School of Atlanta, Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, and Emory University Candler School of Theology in Atlanta.
Shelvis and Nancy work with RECONCILE International (Resource Center for Civil Leadership), an indigenous, ecumenical Christian organization established in 2004. It promotes “peace-building” by providing training in trauma recovery, conflict transformation, and civic education. RECONCILE’s activities are in areas of high inter-ethnic conflict, with the churches often being the typical point of entry into these communities. Shelvis is the principal of the Peace Institute, which offers three-month courses in community-based trauma hearing, peace studies, and conflict transformation.
The couple’s first child, baby Jordan, made headlines last year when he became the first American baby to be born to in the Republic of South Sudan, according to a representative of Nairobi. The first born American baby in Sudan experienced many life threatening problems, including a race to Kenya for the only incubator available in the area. The couple maintained their sanity by explaining, “We felt cared for the whole time, felt cared for by the doctors and the make-shift device to keep him alive, felt cared for the evacuation team taking us to another hospital, given clothes and food. We were so thankful the first time this happened!”
The couple is currently serving a mission relating to the Presbyterian World Mission in Louisville Kentucky with a three-year ministry ahead of them till 2015. Their main goal is to address issues of trauma with South Sudan leaders and to reconcile with peace building ministry work.
Shelvis and Nancy Smith-Mather would like to thank everyone for all the emails, letters, and support they have received, and would ask that supporters continue to give their support and love during their mission.