Names have meanings in many cultures. Thomas is a name for “twin” in the Hebrew culture. Names equally have meanings in the South Sudanese Culture.
Meet Thomas Bichiok Wany. Thomas Bichiok is a twin. “Chiok” means “leg” in the Nuer language and Bichiok is the second of the twins following the feet (Chiok) of the first born.
Thomas and his family fled South Sudan in December 2014 and left his twin brother behind. A few months later, Thomas learned that his twin brother, “Both,” was killed in fierce fighting in his home country. “Both” means “leading.” The first of the twins is always called “Both” in the Nuer language. Thomas now lives as a refugee in Gambella, Ethiopia. Filled with pain, Thomas was consumed by the thoughts of avenging his brother’s death.
Thomas became an active member of the LCSS and a leading figure in the Youth Ministry. Through the reading of the Scriptures and learning about God’s grace and forgiveness in his life, his heart began to soften. Thomas began to understand that vengeance is God’s responsibility. St. Paul writes, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord’” (Romans 12:19). Thomas was gradually able to let go of his hatred and bitterness. God used believers at LCSS to introduce Thomas to his merciful Savior. Now Thomas’ desire is to pursue peace and love and share how God can transform any life.
Today Thomas is a worship leader at Trinity and he loves leading worship every day at church. Trinity Lutheran College has also hired him as a coordinator for the college's Nyinenyang/Makuey extension campus site. He is a great leader.