Posts in South Sudan Ethiopia 2016
Getting a Fuller Picture of God's Mission in South Sudan

by Jeff Ritchie

Life is not easy in South Sudan. Even when there is electricity, there are frequent outages. If the institution does not have a back-up generator, the night can be miserable. That was the case for us our first full night in Juba. But it was the third night for our new Egyptian friends. So we decided to move to a hotel which had air conditioning and a back-up generator. We were again grateful to the Rev. Peter Shabak for booking the Victoria Hotel amidst all the other duties of his office.

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Presbyterian Church of South Sudan

by Jeff Ritchie

Imagine fleeing for your life from war, being involuntarily separated from your family—then continuing to choose that separation for their safety. Imagine wanting to serve the people of your country through the ministries of the church, but not being able to do what you are called to do because the political rivals of your country cannot agree to a fair sharing of power and continue to kill the country with an indefensible war. Imagine, even closer to home, that your friends and your family have been among the victims of the conflict and that your soul has been deeply wounded in the process.

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Transition to South Sudan

by Jeff Ritchie

Our journey in Ethiopia is almost complete. We flew back to Addis Ababa today in preparation for our entry into South Sudan tomorrow. We begin the second phase of our trip in Juba, the capital city of South Sudan. Two new participants will be joining us. They are the Rev. Hani Jack and Mr. Hany Bareh, representatives of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Egypt. 

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Jewi Refugee Camp

by Jeff Ritchie

By now we have come to expect a joyous, singing welcome when we visit churches, and the visit to the churches in the Jewi Refugee Camp was no exception. The Women of the Church welcomed us in song at the entrance to our first stop in Jewi accompanied by clapping, drumming, and waving what few Bibles they had in the air. As we settled in at the meeting place, it was the turn of the youth. Their happy welcome must have lasted ten minutes with hardly a pause to take a breath! 

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A Day of Meetings

by Jeff Ritchie

Today we didn’t see anything. But we had long meetings. The leadership of the Presbytery of Eastern Upper Nile, our main partner since 2013, sat down with us and told us of the state of the church. The Moderator and Vice-Moderator rehearsed our partnership, shared some of their hopes for the future, and then were quite frank about some discontent in the presbytery. The Education Coordinator, John Jock, shared his hopes for the next stage in the development of the preschool project—uniforms for the 368 children in the three schools. 

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School Where There Are No Schools

by Jeff Ritchie

We started our week in great anticipation of what we would see at the camps today. Last year a young teacher named John Jock, who fled to Ethiopia along with other refugees from South Sudan, developed a project to meet the lack of non-formal education in the camps. Other NGOs are doing this as well, but the needs are overwhelming. 

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Arrival in Gambella

by Jeff Ritchie

Addis Ababa is located in the highlands of Ethiopia. The weather there is almost always pleasant. Gambella, by contrast, is in the lowlands of Ethiopia. Weather there is hot and dry or hot and humid. We arrived in Gambella as hot/dry was changing to hot/humid, just about like the weather in my U.S. city of Jacksonville is about this time of year.

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Journey to South Sudan and Ethiopia

Jeff Ritchie, Outreach’s Associate Director for Mission, departed for Africa on May 11 for a two week visit to Ethiopia and South Sudan. Civil war in South Sudan caused millions to flee to refugee camps in neighboring Ethiopia. Jeff and the team will meet South Sudanese in refugee camps in Ethiopia. It is very important for people to show up and encourage the refugees from the war in South Sudan so that they do not feel all alone.

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