| New Sudan
Among the births of African nations, that of South Sudan has been among the most difficult. From 1950 until 1993, fifty African countries were born, the vast majority peacefully receiving autonomy from colonial masters.1 In South Sudan's case, the birth has been tortorous:
"Military regimes favoring Islamic-oriented governments have dominated national politics since independence from the UK in 1956. Sudan was embroiled in two prolonged civil wars during most of the remainder of the 20th century. These conflicts were rooted in northern economic, political, and social domination of largely non-Muslim, non-Arab southern Sudanese. The first civil war ended in 1972 but broke out again in 1983. The second war and famine-related effects resulted in more than four million people displaced and, according to rebel estimates, more than two million deaths over a period of two decades."2
I've traveled in many areas of Kenya and Uganda during the course of about a dozen trips. As with a newborn, South Sudan comes into the world with very little except their lives, compared with Kenya and Uganda, which inherited a well-developed infrastructure from the British, including good roads, rail systems and telephone lines. These have deteriorated, but were inherited nevertheless. In contrast to many Ugandan tribes, South Sudanese seem to be quite serious, even stern, and stubbornly determined, which should serve them well. South Sudan may have 50-100 miles of paved roads in a country about a third the size of Texas (I haven't found pavement in Eastern Equatoria so far). South Sudan is decades behind Kenya and Uganda economically. Oil wealth is beginning to show up in Torit, our ministry base in SE Sudan, in the form of new government buildings.
The January 2011 referendum to secede went better than expected. Somehow the election groundwork was laid in time for voting. Turnout was high and overwhelmingly in favor of separating from the North. Nationhood will probably become official on July 9, 2011.
What are the challenges ahead for South Sudan? A December 2010 report of "Key Indicators for Southern Sudan" published by South Sudan4 provides a look. South Sudan, with a population of over 8 million, is exceedingly young in population, with 72% of the population under the age of thirty--partly a fallout of war. Only 27% of those over age 15 are literate. Some men with families are catching up by attending elementary school. Only 16% of women over 15 are literate. In Eastern Equatoria the Net Enrollment Rate for primary school was 37%, the lowest in South Sudan. Only 37% of the population over age 6 has ever attended school. There is one teacher per thousand elementary school students.4 A 15-year-old girl has a higher chance of dying in childbirth than of completing elementary school.5 In fact, one in seven women will probably die in childbirth—only 14% give birth in a hospital.6
Rural life in round thatched huts is home to 83% of South Sudanese. Of these, 53% have access to some kind of improved source of drinking water. To access water, 38% must walk more than 30 minutes one way--and women carry the water. Eighty percent of the population does not have access to "any toilet facility." The average South Sudanese lives on $1.32/day. Twelve per cent of the population were paid employees, and another 52% were "unpaid" family workers, mostly in farming and livestock. Among state capitals, Torit had the fewest formal businesses, with 259. Add to this sampling of problems at least 180,000 South Sudanese returning from the North since October 2010, and the unresolved boundary in the oil fields in Abyei (a contested land between established North and South borders) and you realize that South Sudan needs just about everything.7
Last March I listened to a candidate addressing Lopit tribe members at Lohutok village. What stunned me was not his long speech, but a brief conversation with him as he left the grounds. He said that only God could have brought South Sudan to the brink of free nationhood, and that only God could establish the new nation. Chills went down my back, and I wanted to cast a vote for him. God usually uses people to accomplish His will. Whatever your professional skills, whatever your spiritual gifting, you can help assist in establishing a new nation, under God. One way is to join us April 8-23, 2011 on our fourth ministry trip to the Torit area. I've met quite a few people particularly burdened by South Sudan and this is an opportunity to unburden. Ellen Fox, an African American missionary who went with RMNI three times to South Sudan, and now works there, just sent a report (facing page) that gives insight into the needs of one remote girls' school, where she joyfully serves at her own expense.
- http://ssccse.org/storage/Key%20Indicators%20Final%2014%2012%2010.pdf All stats in this and the next paragraph are from this source, unless noted.
Prayer & Praise
- Please pray for additional men to work in inner-city Chattanooga, and workers for ministry trips to S. Sudan and central India.
- Pray for genuine conversions, effective discipleship, deep friendships and planting a simple church at the Westside project.
- Pray for needed time to continue the African American missionary survey/census and for wisdom to know what opportunities to engage.
- Wisdom is needed in partnership with S. Sudanese to know how best to proceed with mutual goals.
- Jobs are a huge need at the Westside housing project, and jobseekers face many obstacles. Please pray that God will provide jobs by sympathetic employers and that we'll know how much time to invest.
- Pray for staff to join RMNi.
- Please pray for effective ministry to S. Sudan in April, that bears enduring fruit.
- I'm very grateful for the wonderful ladies who pray and serve at the Westside. Pray that they will stay encouraged.
- Pray for Ellen Fox as she has requested above.
- Judi and I welcome granddaughters Liza Mae Sutherland and Allison Claire Hochhaus! Judi has been in Texas and California.
Jim Sutherland, PhD, Director
Chattanooga, TN 37409-0537
Mobilizing the African American Church for Global Mission
|In This Issue:
- New Sudan
- Fox’s Report
- S. Sudan Mission, April 4-23, 2011
- 2010-2011 Ministry Overview
- Prayer & Praise
God is so good!!! I ended the year completely exhausted. Many problems to solve concerning the Girls' school before the new term begins in the middle of February . Our school had a visit from seven department heads of the Ministry of Education, based in Torit. They are seeking ways to use more untrained teachers. I think this is a serious mistake! Most of my teachers are untrained and if they also lack love for the girls along with a good understanding of the importance and value of education, then success in providing quality education is very difficult. I want to put a plan together and present to the education ministry for approval. I pray for open‐mindedness and a willingness by the Education Ministry to launch a special program through our school. Please pray for the following:
- Porridge for one meal a day for students
- Add the next level(primary five) to the school
- Reduce my teaching load at the Girl's School
- Hire a new teacher with a heart for children and teaching
- A meeting with the head of Planning (Education Ministry)
- For wisdom for a strategic plan that will be acceptable to the ministry
- Change for a few policies of the school that hinder the girls
- Direction in teaching Biology at the Senior Secondary School
- Ellen Fox will seek and do the will of God
The challenges have not hindered my desire to serve in Lohutok. I still find joy in teaching and I look forward to teaching not only English Composition at the Secondary School but also Biology to senior one and senior two. All my efforts to start a Bible study for women have stalled. I continue to go to the designated area and pray for the women as they pass by. I have prayed for old women, pregnant women, sick women, and girls and boys on their way to school. I pray seeds are being planted to rid the villages of alcohol abuse, physical abuse to wives by husbands, poor health practices and a yearning to know how Jesus can change their lives. The AIC [Africa Inland Church] church in Lohutok sponsored a Lopit all‐night prayer meeting for the referendum and they asked me to speak. I told them that real freedom was found in Jesus Christ. Southern Sudan is very excited about the referendum, so I ask you to bathe the resulting outcome and the aftermath in prayer. I look forward to seeing the 2011 Team from RMNI!
Thank you for all your help in making my stay in Lohutok comfortable. I am beginning to think seriously about purchasing a motorcycle. God Bless you!
S. Sudan Mission, April 8-23, 2011
There's still time to join us in Eastern Equatoria Province on our fourth ministry trip. We have opportunity to help build, in a small way, the spiritual foundations of this new nation. We welcome evangelists (personal and platform) and medical personnel, as we try to strengthen four new church plants. We can use teachers, youth workers, disciplers and those with the gifts of helps and encouragement. You must be in good physical condition. The fee is $2,100, plus round-trip airfare to Africa from your airport, at discounted rates. Visit www.rmni.org/global-and-short-term-missions/sudan.html
India Mission, July 16-29, 2011
We’re very excited to offer this opportunity, under the supervision of a very effective Indian minister and earlier trip partner. RMNI is co-sponsoring this opportunity with SIM (Serving in Missions) and Searchlight Global Ministries. Two Team leaders have worked several times in India. We plan to offer seminars for Christian workers and their wives, youth ministry, and medical services, as personnel join the Team. The trip fee is $2,100. Other costs include airfare, visa (about $75.00), outfitting and immunizations. We provide in-country travel, food, lodging and ministry opportunities. Also provided is heavily discounted airfare on quality airlines, through our agent. Ask the Lord if this is your time, and this is your opportunity. The cutoff date to join us is June 11, 2011 and the Team minimum is 15 members. For more information on the india mission trip, visit www.rmni.org/global-and-short-term-missions/india.html
2010-2011 Ministry Overview
Highlights of 2010 include helping to lay the foundations of four (struggling) new churches in South Sudan, with a team of four last March, and helping Ellen Fox establish her 2‐year ministry. We worked in the most remote African locations I've experienced and saw 42 professions of faith. Following Sudan I taught an intensive course in ethics at All Nations Theological School in Kampala, Uganda (these presentations are on our website). The African American missionary census/survey now includes 108 missionaries, with research ongoing. The inner city ministry continued (57 ministry occasions) with a great team of four ladies. We've seen about five professions of faith, and are deepening relationships, particularly with young men. God gives favor and opportunities to teach and learn. Approximately 27,500 unique visitors found www.RMNI.org, with a total of 41,600 visits to our site. Reconciliation Ministries Network is now on Facebook. I counseled on 14 occasions, including 8 for personal finances.
Looking forward, we plan to return to S. Sudan in April with a team to teach and to help work with church planters, as well as to evangelize. We're also eager to bring a team back to central and southern India, July 16‐29, partnering with SIM (Serving in Mission) and Searchlight Global Ministries. We continue to assist in African American missions mobilization, with a presentation in Montgomery, Al. on January 28th, and wherever we can. We continue to pray and work for a simple church at the Westside housing project and to find ways to provide the unemployed there with job opportunities. We have a fine Board of Directors, and we're grateful for every ministry opportunity, every dollar contributed, and every prayer prayed on our behalf. Thank you so very much, as we launch into a new year as hopeful as are the goodness and grace of God.