Progress in S. Sudan
I was amazed to see normal people travel to Juba from Nairobi on July 22nd, and life, viewed from Juba streets, seeming normal. The civil “conflict” drags on, with warring spokesmen talking past each other, unable to agree even on how to negotiate an agreement. The president calls it a power struggle, rather than a tribal (Dinka/Nuer) struggle. It appears to be both. Nuer citizens at the Jebel UN camp near Juba are afraid to leave the camp to visit Dinka-controlled Juba, justifiably, I was told by an American working there.
A member of the S. Sudan parliament told me that 25 billion dollars had been stolen by government employees since S. Sudan’s inception. Collateral damage is the horrendous state of roads.
Stepping back, trips such as these highlight for a moment what God is doing with and through us. If you want a closer encounter with God, take a challenging ministry trip, where you’re thrown upon the Father in ways that our generally comfortable life in America obviates.
God graciously gave protection to items transported to S. Sudan and to me, traveling 14 hours on sometimes incredulously muddy roads, and spending 40 hours in the air. He gave endurance during a schedule jumbled by jet lag, “0 dark thirty”-type departures, with study squeezed into free moments. Despite the grounding of two different fleets of aircraft which were to be used, I got in and out of S. Sudan in time. Having been asked two weeks before departure to teach a subject that I hadn’t taught before, I was able to teach 9 hours, with a translator, with a little material to spare. No medical problems occurred during the trip, except a mysterious bite or wound of some type on a finger, which is all but healed. All needed meetings were completed with stakeholders present.
Through me, it appears from concluding comments, God spoke to many of the 35 Christian leaders at the forgiveness, reconciliation and peace seminar. This was the first seminar I’ve taught that was followed by a 1-hour discussion about how to implement it. It was also the first trip in which project management was the priority, and it was the most expensive trip.
Progress was evident in projects funded by Lookout Mtn. Presbyterian Ch. Currently 5 students are studying at Westminster Theological Seminary or college toward preparing teachers for the proposed Grace Theological College in Juba. Leaders plan to train 35 Christian workers in Juba in 2015 using the 1-year seminary-level video curriculum of 3rd Mil ministries (http://thirdmill.org/mission/bts.asp). A clear understanding is in place for the use of the interlocking block machine already provided to Torit. More block machine workers will hopefully be trained and a church building constructed in 2015.
Following two hours spent at the Jebel UN camp, a $25,00 proposal has been submitted to fund assistance to Nuer refugees. This would be in the form of youth ministry, secondary education (since there is none for 3500 households) and a one-time provision of fresh vegetables. We were told that we could serve with almost no restrictions—certainly none to which we would object.
After a 4-hour meeting between Juba and Torit leaders, there appears to be unity and fellowship as a foundation for ongoing ministry. To God be thanks! Please pray for S. Sudan’s church.
Sept - Nov 2014
In This Issue:
1. Progress in S. Sudan
2. 2015 Trips
3. Prayer Power
April 18 - May 1, 2015
Our tenth trip with wonderful partners—we design a ministry for you around your gifting. All gifting is needed. Physically fit evangelists, teachers, builders and medical personnel are wanted. The fee is approx. $2500, plus airfare to Africa, visas, immunizations and outfitting.
August 15-27, 2015
Our fifth ministry trip with excellent partners - teachers of men, women, youth and children are needed (and others—approx. $2,500, plus airfare to India, visas, immunizations and outfitting.
Prayer & Praise
• Pray for a lasting peace
• for the penetration of the nation with the Good News so that the Christian ethic will captivate the tribes
• for godly leaders
• for a strong team to serve with me in 2015
• for many new US churches to become vitally involved in partnership with S. Sudanese Christian leaders and churches.
Westside housing project
• growth of 2 new converts
• workers needed to reach and disciple teens and adults
• divine appointments
• growth of the Bible study led by Jeremy
• praise for a new housing director zealous for the Good News
• effective discipleship.
RMNI: wisdom for the future and guidance for a planning retreat, Oct. 11.
India: Joe and Sandy had a very good ministry in India, teaching 2 two-day seminars for pastors and wives, and at other venues in August.
African American missionaries: Ability to locate remaining ones for our census—198 located
Jim Sutherland, PhD, Director
PO Box 2537
Chattanooga, TN 37409-0537
Mobilizing Primarily the African American Church for Global Mission