February - April, 2017, Issue 85
 
New Refugee Work | 2016 & 2017 | S. Sudan 2017 Trip | Prayer & Praise | Finances

New Refugee Work

Malakal Refugee CampOn January 27, 2017 the UN reported skirmishes between government and opposition forces in the area of Malakal, S. Sudan. This city of about 45,000 near the border with Sudan was gutted in fighting as it changed hands 13 times since 2013. The city essentially emptied into the Malakal UN camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), containing about 45,000 refugees.1 They live in tarp-and-pole homes. Protection is uncertain; for as someone put it, “No one wants to die for the UN”.

On November 17, 2016, The Maclellan Foundation (MFI) awarded a grant of $10,000 to serve refugees at Malakal. Our ministry partners have already identified trusted men living in this camp to lead the outreach. We’re grateful to MFI for funding to provide scriptures, a stipend for pastors to lead scripture studies, and a structure for this study and prayer. Funding also includes a workshop for 100 pastors on how to teach scripture studies. I hope to visit Malakal in April. Please pray for God to give new life to thousands in this new outreach.

As most reading this know, RMNI has been blessed to be a catalyst in ministry to IDPs in Protection of Civilian (POC) camp 1 at the national capital of Juba, S. Sudan. We interface between coworkers in S. Sudan and Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church (LMPC), which has supplied approximately $200,000 to provide scriptures and financial assistance to six chaplains living there. This includes funding for Hope Secondary School within this camp, including the school structure, and the salaries of 12 teachers. Last summer 92 students passed the national secondary school exam, necessary for admittance into university. This 84% pass rate surpasses schools outside the camp with far better resources. Hope has only chalkboards—no texts for the students, as these are not available.  The teachers give thanks to God. Due to warfare in Juba in July 2016, which resulted in casualties within POC 1, seventy-four will take the qualifying exams next summer.

POC 3 JubaLast September I wrote that we hoped to reach POC 3 (inside blue border), which has about 40,000 residents, located next to POC 1, (which has about 8,000 residents) where the school is. LMPC is now funding ministry to POC 3, in the same form of a structure for study and prayer, and provision of scriptures and chaplains! Trusted ministers within POC 3 will lead.

Before beginning work in these two new camps, we are networking with an international ministry to provide rapid discipleship training.2  Such movements seem to grow best in the soil of affliction. They will train workers to lead obedience-based studies. Prayer intercession will be the basis for this work. These studies will, by God’s grace, lead to second and third generation fellowships. Training is planned for February 2017. Multiplication must be in the DNA of the initial study groups. Please pray that the Great News will prosper.

Logistics are particularly difficult. Scriptures in appropriate languages must be carried from Nairobi or Kampala, and audio scripture players imported as well. Ground travel can be dangerous. Those destined for Malakal must go by air. What the apostle Paul wrote applies: “for a wide door for effective work has opened to [us], and there are many adversaries.” (1 Cor. 16:9, ESV).

Last November LMPC brought our S. Sudan coordinator for these ministries to Chattanooga. He reported on the work in Juba, both at the UN camp and through what is a new theological college. During ten days with us, he spoke in six churches, including four times at LMPC. RMNI provided $1,800 to better outfit him and enhance his stay. Last July 8-12 he and his family hid under their beds while tanks, artillery, troops and gunships fired around them against opposition forces.3 Many were impressed by his spirit of humility and thankfulness for God’s care.
S. Sudan Coordinator and Supplies


1 See “Where Will We Run This Time?” about this camp at http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/world/2016/08/06/south-sudanese-civilians-fear-the-u-n-cant-protect-them-from-a-massacre/?tid=a_inl
2 For more information on Disciple Making Movements, see https://www.davidlwatson.org/2015/02/26/disciple-making-movement-dmm-essentials-find-the-person-of-peace/
3 See this followup account, dated Jan. 16, 2017 http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=55975#.WIotrPkrJaQ

2016 & 2017

Since January 2016, four major activities have taken the most time and energy. First is ministry in S. Sudan—including traveling there last April, monitoring existing projects and developing new ones for 2017. Even busier than traveling to S. Sudan, was assisting in the logistics for our S. Sudanese ministry coordinator to obtain a visa and arranging flights to come to the USA. We hosted him for a densely scheduled series of meetings, and outfitting trips. I plan to return to S. Sudan in April, and to do a process check on the grant work at Malakal, as well as the work in Juba. We expended $21,878 for S. Sudan last year. I plan to continue to develop ministry projects in Africa for 2017 and 2018.

Ministry at the Westside housing project continues each week. There were 49 ministry occasions in 2016, and 8 different co-workers coming at various times. We directed folk to the Bible study immediately following evangelism, led by co-workers, and have seen a few professions of faith. We spent $5,380 on this ministry, primarily for scriptures, Christian literature, and rent and food assistance. I also attended Black churches 23 times.

When time permitted, after administrative and reporting responsibilities, I pursued the African American missionary census. We’ve located 231 to date, and have yet potentially 3-400 mission agencies to contact. The basic article summarizing this research was written, but awaits the completion of data gathering for submission.

Finally, regarding leadership succession, a variety of projects were completed in preparation. This included constructing a new mission and vision statement, development of a job description and salary offer, and disseminating this to colleagues and on the RMNI Facebook page. Just as important has been a voluntary Board prayer conference call focusing upon this transition, each Tuesday from 7:30-8 AM. Our Board is exceptionally unified, and it will be difficult to have to replace them in 2017, due to their three-year term limits. To date, we have not found a fit for a new executive director for the salary offered. Until such a person may be located, I plan to continue as executive director (without salary). RMNI provides an exceptionally versatile platform for ministry, while the major lines of work mentioned above continue.

You still have time to come to S. Sudan April 14-29, 2017, if you act soon. Is it dangerous? We’ve been kept safe on the last ten trips. Africa affords almost unlimited opportunity to use your spiritual, natural and vocational gifts. We will put them to work. Medical personnel are desired to work at Torit Civil Hospital, southeast of Juba.
We closely monitor the security situation, and avoid overland auto travel. However, this is a “take up your cross” kind of trip. Just listen to the Spirit.
Email Jim@RMNI.org or call 423-822-1091 for information.

Prayer & Praise

  • A miraculous answer to prayer—Anthony Suttles is a co-worker at the Westside housing project. His heart stopped—no pulse. He was given CPR. The neurologist said the front half of his brain was not functioning, affecting bodily functions and recognition. Two weeks later an MRI showed no signs of a heart attack or stroke! He recognizes friends and can talk! Cognition is slow, however. He still needs prayer.
  • Pray for many to be born again at the Westside, and discipled—and for workers.
  • Pray for all the team members that the Lord wants on the April S. Sudan team. Please pray for trip objectives to be met, and for safety and no sickness.
  • Much prayer is needed as rapid discipleship training will be given in February to S. Sudanese ministry partners. This is to prepare for new work at UN camps in Juba and Malakal. Pray for logistics both in visiting and in getting scriptures to them.
  • Praise: one S. Sudanese brother now has his BA in theology and two others will finish their MA degrees in 2017, DV.
  • The past research assistant can no longer help, so please pray for a replacement, as we contact many new mission organizations pertaining to the African American missionary census.
  • As stated, we haven’t found a fit for a new executive director. Please pray for God’s outcomes, and wisdom for our Board, as current members complete their terms and new ones are added.
  • Pray for God’s outcome as Jim travels to New York Feb. 11 to present the work in S. Sudan in a supporting church.
  • Pray for evangelism training in March in a local Black church
  • Pray for openings in Black churches for mission mobilization—both locally and globally.
  • Pray for more workers for the Westside.
  • Wisdom and progress are needed for Lookout Pres., as we seek racial reconciliation as a church.
2016 Expenses $47,980 | Income $81,835
Full financial disclosure is available upon request (except donor identity).

The Reconciliation Report is a publication of

Reconciliation Ministries Network, Inc.
PO Box 2537 Chattanooga, TN 37409-0537

Phone: 423.822.1091

Jim Sutherland, PhD, Director
Jim@RMNi.org