Posts tagged South Sudan
Rebuilding Hope in South Sudan - April 2017 Update

South Sudan has been in crisis since December 2013 because of a civil war which has devastated the land, killed tens of thousands of people, and driven millions into Internally Displaced Person camps inside the country or into refugee camps outside the country. The Outreach Foundation has re-framed our mission with the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan (PCOSS) to rebuild hope among the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled to camps in Ethiopia.  

One of those refugees is John Jock Gatwech. I met him in 2013 when he was a teacher at the leading school of the PCOSS, Good Shepherd School in Malakal. John also worked in the Department of Education of the PCOSS. In addition to being trained as an educator, he has also studied theology.

The next time I met John Jock was in Gambella, Ethiopia in 2015. He had fled for his life when the civil war reached Malakal, headquarters of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan. Living in Gambella with an uncle, John had no income and had lost most of his belongings. But John wanted to make a difference through his calling as a teacher. 

After we met John Jock on our initial visit to the refugee camps, he sent us a proposal to establish preschools in three of the parishes of the PCOSS that had been established in the camps. The target group would be almost 400 children. Additionally, adult literacy classes would be started. All the classes would be taught by volunteer teachers. 

Bob and Kristi Rice - April 2017 Update

Just after Thanksgiving last year we got a text message from our leadership at Presbyterian World Mission: “Don’t buy your tickets back to Congo yet. We need to talk.” In the ensuing conversations with our leadership we learned that our church partner, the Congolese Presbyterian Community (CPC), had asked us and another mission co-worker not to return to Congo because of instability in the country and conflict within their denomination. There were discussions between Presbyterian World Mission and CPC through December and January to see if the door might still be open for us to return as planned. In February, it was concluded that the door has indeed closed, and we would not be able to return. If you receive the e-mail version of our newsletter you should already know this news, but we wanted to say it again for those who get only the print version.

God has given us peace and hope in the midst of uncertainty during these months of transition. Plenty of other emotions have also hit us. We grieve having to give up our Congo home and leaving friends we had grown to love. On the other hand, we also felt relief when the decision finally became clear. We are grateful for the prayers and words of encouragement and comfort received from so many of you who have heard this news. We worry and grieve for our friends in Congo living in the challenging reality of conflict. 

Rebuilding Hope in South Sudan - June 2016 Update

The Outreach Foundation has been involved in the ministry of Reconcile in South Sudan for about a decade. Their ministries of peace-building and trauma healing are essential components of our overall project, “Rebuilding Hope in South Sudan.” Listen to these compelling stories from Presbyterian Mission Co-Workers Nancy and Shelvis Smith-Mather. Then pray for peace in South Sudan and give as the Lord moves you.

Michael and Rachel Weller (PCUSA) - March 2016 Update

Fasting is a common practice in Ethiopian Christian communities. Many churches designate one day a week to gather at the church or someone’s house to focus on prayer. They go without eating or drinking all day. The Jabjabe congregation in Gambella practices this discipline every Friday. I was invited to participate with the members of the Jabjabe congregation, a new church with an active membership. At 7:30 a.m. my companion came to my door to escort me to the church. 

Michael and Rachel Weller - June 2013 Update

Friends,

Micah 6:8 is a verse I have been thinking about a lot over the past several years.

What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

There are a lot of things to say with that verse as a theme, but I won’t bore (or amuse) you with my amateur theology. This verse, however, has been a guide to much of what I have chosen to do. This week I was faced with a situation. It has not disappeared, of course. I am still in a dilemma