Rebuilding Hope in South Sudan - March 2018 Update

A Report of a Visit to Refugee Camps in Ethiopia

The project, “Rebuilding Hope in South Sudan,” has a number of on-the-ground partners. This project update comes from  Mr. John Jock Gatwech, Coordinator for the Education Ministries of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan in the refugee camps in Ethiopia. Thank you, brother John Jock, for this report and for all the work you do.
Jeff Ritchie, Mission Advocate, The Outreach Foundation

From November 22-24 of last year, I accompanied Dr. Frank Dimmock, The Outreach Foundation’s Mission Specialist for Africa, the Rev. Stephen Pal Kun, Coordinator of Ministries for the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan (PCOSS) in the refugee camps in Ethiopia, and the Rev. James Gatdet Tang, President of the Western Gambella Bethel Synod of the  Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, on a visit to PCOSS Schools in the refugee camps in the Gambella Region of Ethiopia. Over a three-day period we covered the six camps – Kule, Tierkidi, Nguenyiel, Jewi, Pugnido One and Pugnido Two. In each place we were received with great joy and enthusiastic singing by the children of the preschools we visited.

My role as Coordinator for Education within the camps was to introduce the visiting team. We were especially glad that Dr. Frank(as we call him) was able to see the goodness of the education program. In each place he expressed the great concern of The Outreach Foundation and its U.S. partners, South Sudanese American Presbyterians, for the education of the children in the camps, and he pledged to continue supporting the work.

Let me mention two of the camps we visited. In Kule camp we visited Dhorkortni Parish which hosts one of the first church-based schools supported by The Outreach Foundation. We had an amazing, touching visit with the children and their teachers. Even though they lack many things, they are well-organized and have great hope for the future. Dr. Frank was really full of joy when he saw the children in their school uniforms and how these schools are rebuilding hope in the lives of the children in the camps.

From my perspective I see the future of these children: they will be doctors, teachers, pastors, engineers, pilots, and so forth. I bless God for the volunteer teachers in the camps who are working to teach children and adults and so bringing them hope.

The other place I want to mention is the Nguenyiel Refugee Camp, the newest and largest of the refugee camps. When we got there the youth and the children of the camp received us, marching on the streets by our side. They were so happy to welcome Dr. Frank and thank The Outreach Foundation and the Sudanese Presbyterians from the U.S. In addition to supporting schools, they also have donated musical instruments for the youth ministries in each camp. This November the youth of Nguenyiel received a set of instruments with joy.

Altogether we visited fifteen preschools and four adult literacy programs during our three-day tour of the six camps. Dr. Frank and the visiting team saw first-hand that Christian-based education is developing among the South Sudanese refugees in the camps in Gambella, Ethiopia. All those in the refugee communities are witnessing the goodness of God at work through his loving people. Glory be to him in the Highest Heaven.
“He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor.”

Thank you very much Dr. Frank. May God bless you and your family!

Yours in Christ,

John Jock Gatwech, Pastoral Trainee    
PCOSS Education Project Coordinator, Gambella Refugee Camps

Read more about Rebuilding Hope in South Sudan HERE.

The Outreach Foundation is seeking gifts totaling $100,000 to address needs requested by the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan: Bibles, hymnals, education, trauma healing, and emergency relief.