| S. Sudan March 10-23
South Sudan is still wide open to ministry. The candidate who campaigned with the assumption that only God could have freed S. Sudan from the Arab Muslim north, and could preserve S. Sudan-is now in office. Leaders in Torit, Eastern Equatoria, took us to the bush. Climbing a huge termite mound, I snapped a shot of part of a square kilometer of land that the Presbyterian Church of S. Sudan has been offered by the government for very little, if they will develop it soon. Pastor Peter, the man third from the left in the conference (below, right), after three years of effort, has secured the property. Lookout Mtn. Pres. Ch. is assisting with development. We plan to use an interlocking block machine, that is still in transit, to begin building classrooms for a Bible college in 2013. Please pray that the machine will be available soon, so that 10 S. Sudanese can be trained on it. Peter plans to build a Christian university community, full of services to the community–church, orphanage, clinic, schools, etc.
2012 S. Sudan/Uganda Team—from left, Bob, Jim, Paul, Andrew and Cleo
The extreme heat we experienced in S. Sudan was unprecedented–the rains were late. Several of us experienced heat-related difficulties, but by God's grace we recovered and did not have to cancel any teaching–either in Torit or in the national capital of Juba.
Ellen Fox (left), missionary at the village of Lohutok working at an African Inland Church high school, remains joyful and well. Everyone greets her by name. She loves teaching and is also reaching out to the handicapped on the mountainside. Watch her new video update.
Cleo presented chapel talks here at Covenant H. School
Planning with Torit leaders
Paul conducted a survey of medical needs in the Torit area, meeting with the Minister of Health, and Cleo taught in various places in Uganda, including a high school. The trip changed Cleo's life and he is urging other Black churches to go global.
We plan two S. Sudan trips in 2013–to the Juba area in February and to the Torit area in July. We need teachers, evangelists, medical personnel, builders, networkers, etc. Contact us soon if interested.
Prayer & Praise
- Choice workers are needed for the two planned trips to S. Sudan in 2013.
- Wisdom is needed. Here are some areas:
1. how to proceed at the Westside housing project in conjunction with others—with whom to work, as many new organizations and people are coming in.
2. accountability oversight of 3 projects in S. Sudan.
3. how to complete the AFAM missionary census.
4. daily identify and pursue the Lord's priorities.
5. best assist in the work of volunteers.
- Pray for ongoing unity among leaders at the Westside and among leaders with whom we work in S. Sudan.
- Quatez and Aaron are looking for jobs and they need God to open doors.
- For help to update our website.
- Pray for staff to join RMNI.
- For effective discipleship of Consuela, Aaron (who recently professed Christ), and Quatez, and for the salvation of many gang-bangers.
- Praise that the Lord has allowed to have 40 years of ministry. He has provided for the whole family in amazing ways. He has opened doors that were not imagined. And we're grateful for all of you who have supported us in any way—churches, individual friends, companies, and foundations.
Jim Sutherland, PhD, Director
Chattanooga, TN 37409-0537
Mobilizing the African American Church for Global Mission
|In This Issue:
1. S. Sudan (March 10-23)
2. Christ Inside, the Church Alongside
3. Indonesia (June 6-25)
4. 2012 Update
5. Prayer & Praise
Christ Inside, the Church Alongside
Smokin' For Jesus and RMNI teamed to offer BBQ for 1,000 and Good News to the Westside housing project on May 15-16th, 2012—the second such event. Volunteers came principally from Lookout Mountain Presbyterian (a major funder), Church of the Firstborn, and Signal Mountain Bible Church. The Westside rarely meets together as a community, so we provided a place to eat, to be entertained and to hear the word of God. The day before we invited local ministries such as Hope for the Inner City's Jobs for Life program and Goodwill Industries to come into the ëhood with us. Child Evangelism Fellowship and Allied Arts served with us. Perhaps 800 came. We hear that these events have stimulated community cohesion since May.
The Bean Team, St. Elmo Pres. Church Kitchen
Pam and Original Gangster Fletcher Williams, local residents, willingly took responsibility to cook cases of greens. Several gangs reside in the Westside, and Fletcher is a respected peacemaker, at all hours.
Gangs are a huge urban problem. The gang problem should be addressed by Christians going into the hood, gaining the trust of gate keepers, developing relationships, establishing a presence and loving people—particularly the gang members. Christian boots on the ground are a more effective solution than increased police presence. Young men need jobs. I've seen the change in Al, Dooney, Snowcat and Deon—men at the Westside who have gotten and kept employment (I helped one of them find work).
They are energized, focused on the future, self-respecting, and rarely get into trouble. Christians can share the Good News, disciple where possible, and help find employment for the serious. The best economic lift and substitute for gang membership is Christ on the inside, and the Church alongside. The best direction for the church in general is to search for, and go to, the wolves, as David Platt suggests, in his book Radical.
Indonesia (June 6-25)
The more I travel, the greater the diversities appear among nations, even within parts of Asia (India, China, Mongolia, Indonesia). Each church is unique. Asia is the only continent where Christianity is not the majority religion. Indonesia is 87% Muslim. You'd imagine significant repression. You would not imagine that the government pays teachers within public schools to teach Christianity to Christian students, nor would you imagine it financing an excellent seminary building, but it does. But it's difficult for churches to obtain permits to build new churches.
Last year in Surakarta, Java, a suicide bomber attempted to blow himself up in front of a pulpit on Sunday morning. Failing to detonate, he ran into the empty courtyard, where he succeeded to detonate, killing only himself. God's protection greatly encouraged Indonesian Christians. Indonesian churches generally do not support foreign missions, while parachurch organizations do. When missionaries are sent, they often go to S. Korea and China, and we found one in Mongolia. Also, about 25% of the 263 Indonesian seminaries are liberal, blunting classic missions among pastors.
Corruption in Indonesia contributed to the loss of about 240 million dollars in 2011. Transparency International ranks Indonesia a "3", where 10 is least corrupt and 0 is very corrupt. The program director at the AMG International seminary in Surakarta, Java, asked Joe Huebscher and me to teach ethics to their first doctoral class (one of 9 seminaries offering a doctorate). These 18 students included seminary teachers and presidents. Joe provided an introduction and I taught the balance of the 30 class hours within four days of classes. I'd caught a form of flu, but God gave strength. The second week we taught ethics to 10 students in East Kalimantan, most of whom directed teachers of Christianity in public schools. We focused upon post-modern morality among young adults. We're invited to teach ethics again in 2014.
Life has been quick since January. Forgive me if I've not responded to correspondence very well. Some of you have not heard much from me. Normally you would have received a Report earlier. The Website also needs updating. Trips to S. Sudan, Indonesia, and work at the Westside housing project account for much of the time. The Westside went from three to 18 volunteers (including 11 college students) and has necessitated training and stewarding the new and welcome volunteers. One has become a computer angel, and another is discipling Consuela, who met Jesus in February. Parachurch programs, churches and city initiatives are coming together at the Westside as I've not seen. Three new volunteers appeared this week, who are willing to devote years to the Westside.
Some of you know that while in Indonesia my father died at age 91, on Father's Day. I'm thankful that he is relieved of a frail body and is, I believe, with Jesus. He lived with us 4.5 years. We're adjusting, and I have experienced comfort from the Body of Christ as never before—and appreciate the Body as never before. Thanks to all who knew and gave solace. We were in Norfolk, VA last week helping daughter Naomi and family move into their home.
The India trip is postponed. India again would not grant me a visa, and sickness prevented those who had planned to go. We still hope to travel to Mongolia in October, if the Lord wills. We're grateful to the Lord for enabling 40 years of ministry by July. Thank you for all help!