Michael Gatkek, a Sudanese pastor, and his wife Elizabeth have found an American partner to help lift the quality of life in Michael’s home area: Upper Nile State, including the towns of Nasir, Ulang, and Malakal. Their partner is Hazel Seavey, who lives in Maine and travels annually to South Sudan with Michael and his team. Together, Michael and Hazel and other friends have founded Africa Relief Ministries. Michael’s ministry is training pastors in Upper Nile State.
Hazel’s ministry is training widows how to be self-sufficient. Each widow receives training in how to start a business, joins a co-op group in her area, and receives a micro-loan of $100, which she will repay in sixteen months. To date, more than 300 widows have started their own businesses, and 100% have repaid their loans.
Michael Gatkek is a Sudanese pastor who was born in the Upper Nile Province along the Sobat River near the Ethiopian border. Because of the persecution and conflict in his home area, he lived for 18 years in a Sudanese refugee camp in Ethiopia. Eventually, he was granted refugee status and was relocated to Portland, Maine, where he became a pastor to the Sudanese community. He now directs the ministries of the Church of the Nazarene to Sudanese refugees throughout the United States. Michael returns to his newly-independent homeland of South Sudan for several weeks every year to conduct training conferences for pastors and to oversee the ministry to widows. His partner in the widows’ training program is Hazel Seavey. Michael and his wife Elizabeth and their three children live in Amarillo, Texas.
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