|South Sudan Mission Update 3|
After an epic 8000Km overland journey across eight countries, we were warmly welcomed to Kajo Keji by the very friendly and down-to-earth Bishop Anthony and his staff. We had a very effective and appreciated time of ministry in Kajo Keji Diocese.
We had a week of Evangelism Workshops everyday from 08h30 to 16h30 from Tuesday to Saturday focusing on Evangelism and Discipleship. Some of the topics that we dealt with were: A Biblical Vision of Victory, Abiding in Christ, The Greatness of the Great Commission, Principles for Soul Winning, The Greatest Book, The Ten Commandments, Evangelism Explosion, The Way of the Master, The Challenge of Islam, Comparing the Bible with the Quran, Gold Nuggets for Evangelizing Muslims, The Uniqueness of Jesus in the Quran, The Lordship of Christ in All Areas of Life, Missions 9 Ways, The Power of Prayer, Understanding Humanism and The Heart of the Gospel.
Libraries for Pastors
Each day we distributed specific books to the participants according to the topic we were dealing with. The book, Faith Under Fire in Sudan was particularly well received with expressions of honour and gratitude.
Every evening we showed a film for the participants. Some of the films we showed included: True and False Conversions, The Biggest Question, More than Dreams, Sudan: The Hidden Holocaust, 3 Days in Sudan, and The Way of the Master: London. It was truly a great experience to watch the participants watch the DVD, Sudan: The Hidden Holocaust. There was a constant hum of excited chatter and comments throughout the film as participants were recognizing faces and places, and at times in horror remembering the suffering of the past. This was undoubtedly the most appreciated film.
On Sunday each of our team members had an opportunity to minister at a different congregation for Sunday morning Worship services.
During the week, after each day of lectures, the participants had the opportunity to go into the local area amongst the villages and do personal evangelism. They returned with joyous reports of villagers who had trusted in Christ.
During the week we had opportunities to minister at the local prison and police station where we had the opportunity to share the Gospel with the prisoners and saw many trust in Christ.
We also ministered at the local Primary and Secondary School where all the students took refuge from the blazing heat of the sun under the shade of a large tree and we had the opportunity to clearly share the Gospel with these enthusiastic kids.
We had the privilege ministering to students of a Bible College. We shared with them about Evangelizing Muslims.
We had the privilege of going to the SPLA barracks to share the Gospel with the soldiers. After seeing the taking down of the flag by a military officer, I was able to show the soldiers, and their wives and children, how their flag has the Gospel in it. The black on top speaks of how our hearts were dark with sin; the red in the middle shows how the Blood of Christ cleanses us and purifies us of sin; the white lines speak of how our hearts can be white as snow; the green shows us that we must grow in Grace, reading our Bibles, fellowshipping with other believers and praying; the royal blue shows us that we are now sons of the King; and the gold star shows us that we will be in Heaven one day forever.
As we left Kajo Keji many participants reported how they had been extremely blessed by our coming and that they had learned much from the lectures and pleaded with us to come again. They thanked Frontline Fellowship deeply for the literature and books that we had distributed among them.
In Lui we were warmly welcomed by the friendly and down-to-earth Bishop Stephen and his pastors. We were hosted at the old Samaritans Purse doctors’ compound.
We had an effective and appreciated week of ministry at the Lui Diocese beginning with taking the morning devotions at the Lui Hospital for the staff and patients. We held an Evangelism Workshop in the Frazer Cathedral having 22 pastors, leaders, and evangelists attend the workshops. Some of the topics we dealt with included The Greatness of the Great Commission, The Heart of the Gospel, The Greatest Book, The Way of the Master, Evangelism Explosion, The Ten Commandments, The Lordship of Christ in All Areas, Patterns for Soul Winning, Principles of Soul Winning, One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven, Missions in the Bible, The Power of Prayer, Africa’s Greatest Need: Discipleship, The Challenge of Islam, and Comparing the Bible with the Quran.
Market Place Evangelism
We also gave the participants the opportunity to put into practice what they had been learning by going out into the market place to do personal evangelism.
We were able to help the Diocese practically by driving to a remote village to collect food items that were a donation for the Synod meeting in Juba. The Diocese does not have a working vehicle. The Land Rover is dilapidated and irrestorable and the truck is heading for a similar condition, but there is still hope for it. They are struggling to get spares for their vehicles. Although the vehicle may have been parked off for a minor problem, because of the delay in repairing it, other deterioration sets in and eventually it is a total wreck.
We spent a long time discussing with one of the doctors at the Lui Hospital about some of the challenges they are facing. The hospital is desperately short of staff. Since Samaritan’s Purse left in 2007 the hospital has taken a serious turn for the worse. The nursing school which Samaritan’s Purse left behind is vacant and ‘crying out’ for someone to use it. The hospital is ‘crying out’ for nurses and doctors. The patients are unable to be sufficiently assisted due to a shortage of nurses. Some critical operations have to be postponed because there are no nurses to assist the doctor in theatre. The X-ray machine is in a steel shipping container which is unsafe. The list goes on. Lui Hospital is in desperate need of help.
We also had the opportunity to show certain films at night in the Frazer Cathedral which included Sudan: The Hidden Holocaust, The Biggest Question, and The Jesus Film in Arabic. Each night hundreds gathered to watch these films.
We arrived in Mundri on a bumpy and muddy road. It had been raining the whole day so the road was very slippery and somewhat difficult to navigate around the huge potholes especially with the trailer which is still quite full of books and literature. I had to drive extra carefully with the trailer because the suspension needed repair having broken last week on our way to Lui. The folk at Lui assured us that we will be able to find a welding machine in Mundri.
We have invitations to minister at the Bishop Gwynne Bible College. On Saturday we will have a Workshop with the pastors of the Diocese. I need to do some repair to the trailer as one of the spring brackets have broken again. There is a welding machine at the Bishop’s compound which I can use. We have plans to lecture at the Teacher’s Training Centre for the next week.
We were well-received by Bishop Bismark and by the Director of the Teacher Training College. We were hosted at the Bishop’s compound. The following morning we met a very bright, happy, and intelligent man, Canon Kenneth Baringwa. He had spent much time with Dr. Peter Hammond during the war. He fondly recounted many stories of how Frontline Fellowship had helped the Moru people. He also took us to the ECS guesthouse where we have been hosted in traditional African style 'tukuls' (grass huts).
Training at the Bible College
We have been able to do an intensive Evangelism Training Workshop at the Bishop Ngalama Bible College (which is in the same premises that Frontline renovated for the Christian Liberty High School). The topics that we were able to cover included The Greatness of the Great Commission, Patterns for Soul Winning, Principles of Soul Winning, Evangelism Explosion Gospel presentation, Missions in the Bible, The Way of the Master, The Ten Commandments, Excuses for not Witnessing, The Lordship of Christ in all Areas of Life, The Power of Prayer, Rediscovering the Christian Work Ethic. Both Hunter and Daniel have certainly been carrying a fair share of the ministry responsibilities.
We have also been able to visit the Kotobi Institute for Teachers' Education (KITE). The principal at KITE is a very ambitious and well organized man. I believe the College is in good hands. We had a lengthy and profitable conversation with him. We were given an in-depth overview of the history, objectives, and challenges of KITE which included how Dr. Peter Hammond had visited them during the war years under the shade of mango trees bringing Training, textbooks and other materials for their teachers and encouraging them. We were also taken on a tour of the College and were shown the newly built KITE Community Library which is well taken care of and in desperate need of more books. We were able to add to their shelves.
We had a great opportunity to share the Gospel clearly and effectively with 91 teachers and education officials from the South Sudan Department of Education who were at a closing Ceremony of a Teachers Seminar that the state department had been running at KITE. I was given about 30 minutes to address them and the message of the Gospel was cheerfully and well received. We also gave each one TheDoctor Comes to Lui book which they received with much gladness and many of them went immediately to the shade of a nearby mango tree to start reading their new book. We were also able to donate 70 copies of Christian Teachers’ Training Manuel and many useful and helpful DVD’s and MP3 discs which were received with much gratitude and appreciation.
Books for Libraries
We have had the privilege of stocking three community libraries and also enriching many personal libraries with many valuable Gospel books and Christian literature. We have donated more than 150 books to Mundri Community Library which is in the town Centre, we have also donated many books to Canon Ezra Lawairi Library at Bishop Ngalama Bible College, and also the KITE Community Library. Some 44 book titles that have been able to be donated include Faith Under Fire in Sudan, Practical Discipleship, Discipleship Handbook, Biblical Principles for Africa, The Ten Commandments, Slavery, Terrorism and Islam, The Doctor Comes to Lui, Putting Feet to Your Faith, The Battle for Truth, and many more.
Meeting the Leaders
Canon Kenneth Baringwa took us to meet the Commissioner of Mundri at his office. We were warmly welcomed and he insisted that Dr. Peter Hammond and any Frontline Fellowship Mission team is always welcome in Mundri. When we met the ex-commissioner who is now the Chairperson of the SPLM, he said “Peter Hammond is our blood brother; he was here with us while our blood was flowing”, another person said, “Peter Hammond is a true friend; someone who is a friend during the hard times is truly a friend.” I had a great opportunity to talk to these leaders of Mundri and to encourage them to build this new country on Biblical principles. Praise God these leaders already have a strong desire to see this county established and founded on the Bible through prayer and action. I was able to pray for the Commissioner in his office, committing his leadership to the Lord and asking for God’s wisdom to lead this office and it’s staff.
Sunday Worship Services
Our team split up for worship on Sunday. I preached at the Cathedral at the English service, Daniel preached at a very rural church which was accessed by some serious bundu-bashing, and Hunter preached at Milakalaga Parish.
We have been amazed at the turnout of people to the film shows each night. Some nights there are as many as 1000 people gathered to watch. We have shown the Jesus film in some locations and also the Sudan: The Hidden Holocaust. I'm not sure which was most favourite of the two, but there has been such excitement about both films and our team has diligently taken advantage of the opportunity to share the Gospel message to the many who gather around our film equipment.
I have been encouraged by the way the Moru people have responded to the Jesus film. They shout with joy and the ladies jubilate in the traditional African way when the see the Risen Lord Jesus appear to His disciples for the first time after His death and burial. Each time we've shown this film at different locations, we get the same shout of praise and spontaneous applause when it comes to this point in the film. Tonight we are showing the film Pilgrim's Progress for the first time. The people seem to be watching in an excited sense of intrigue at this classic presentation of the adventure of discipleship.
The team morale is still good and we are now working together as awell-oiled, fine-tuned machine. Our overall health is still relatively good. Daniel, however, is showing the first signs and symptoms of malaria. I have started him on a course of Coartem, so please pray for his recovery.
Through Sickness and Health
We are drawing near to the end of our very effective time of ministry in South Sudan. We have been pushing on through sickness and fatigue and have seen many faces beaming with appreciation for the valuable training and vital materials received. This is more than enough reward and motivation to keep pushing on.
More than half of our team has been weakened by sickness. Two of our team members, Daniel and Hunter have had malaria and I have been down with a bad case of flu. Fortunately, we were able to diagnose and treat both cases of malaria before it got out of hand. The men have recovered well and continued to minister and carry out their responsibilities despite the discomfort of illness.
Our Field Director, John, returned from South Africa after burying his father, just in time to give vital assistance to our team with his 'fresh legs'. The day I picked him up at the airport in Juba is the day we all went down with some fevers and illnesses. Praise God for his timing!
Kotobi Institute for Teacher Training
We were able to have a weekend Biblical Worldview Seminar and an Evangelism Training Workshop at Kotobi Institute for Teacher Education (KITE) which was attended by more than 70 teachers including some members of the community. This was a vital opportunity to train and equip these teachers who are going to have such an important influence on the future of this country. Some of the topics which we were able to cover included: Vision and Unity, Why is a Biblical Worldview Necessary?, The Lordship of Christ in All Areas of Life, The Ten Commandments, Africa's Greatest Need - Discipleship, and The Way of the Master. We had a worship service on Sunday as part of our program. During the times of Q&A there were many questions asked and it was our joy and privilege to be able to offer them some answers for their burning questions.
The screening of the film Sudan: The Hidden Holocaust, was undoubtedly a great encouragement to many of the folk here. Many of the people in the film were recognized by some of the teachers, many of whom had even experienced in real life some of the scenes that they witnessed in the film. I heard one man say as he watched: “That is where I lost my uncle!” and another man said “That is the conflict that destroyed our village!”
Textbooks for Teachers
We were able to distribute many valuable books and resources into the hands of the teachers. Some of the books that we were able to distribute included: Faith Under Fire in Sudan, Slavery Terrorism and Islam, Discipleship Handbook, Practical Discipleship, Biblical Principles for Africa, Putting Feet to Your Faith, and The Doctor Comes to Lui, amongst other vital materials.
Bahr Olo Leadership Training
We also had the opportunity to minister among the Avokaya people of the Bahr Olo Diocese, which is a sub-Diocese of Maridi. Some pastors and church leaders travelled more than 20 miles by foot or bicycle to attend the training. The furthest parish of this Diocese is 48 miles from the cathedral where we held the training. We had a very fruitful time of ministry and were able to distribute many valuable books and resources to the pastors and church leaders who attended the workshop.
Libraries for Pastors
Some of the books we were able to distribute included: Faith Under Fire in Sudan, Discipleship Handbook, Practical Discipleship, Biblical Principles for Africa, The Greatest Century of Reformation, Slavery Terrorism and Islam, The Doctor Comes to Lui, Putting Feet to Your Faith and One Heartbeat Away.
The Evangelism Coordinator of this Diocese expressed a desperate need for Evangelism Training for the Diocese. They were very grateful for our coming and wished that we could stay longer and have more training. They look forward to our Mission’s return early next year.
The road to Yambio is most beautiful at this time of year; the lush rain forests are busting with multiple shades of bright green. We overnighted next to a stream amongst the vines and bushes of the lush vegetation of a rain forest setting up our tents just before sunset. We enjoyed a tranquil evening in the operational area ‘back yard’ of the LRA rebels.
We had an opportunity to meet some of the church leaders of the Yambio Diocese and discuss their challenges and seek for opportunities of how we can help them in the future. There is a deep desire for Evangelism and Discipleship training. We were able to donate books for the Bishop Jeremiah College students and for the community library.
We were also told of the fact that LRA rebels still continue to terrorize the people of Yambio especially those who live close to the border. Please pray for the safety of the Christians in this area specifically now that the rains are coming to an end and the activity of the LRA rebels increases.
The Diocese of Maridi arranged a Let your Light Shine Conference for the weekend and we had some good opportunities to minister to about 2,000 who had gathered for the conference. Some of the topics that we were able to cover included: Salt and Light, Hearing and Doing, The Way of the Master, Vision and Unity, and The Greatness of the Great Commission. We were also able to show the Sudan: The Hidden Holocaust and Jesus film on the three nights we were there.
We were able to meet with the bishop and some of the church leaders at the cathedral in Yei and we were also able to leave the Diocese with some valuable literature for their church leaders.
On our return, about 120 km before reaching Kampala in Uganda, the vehicle’s rear right wheel bearing perished, bringing our rig to a grinding halt on the side of the road. There was no way that we could continue without replacing the damaged bearing. It was just after midday. After assessing the situation and removing the damaged parts, John and I set off for Kampala to see if we could get some spares. We had to take the entire wheel hub and drive shaft with us because it needed some professional engineering to repair the damage and have the bearing replaced.
So with our day packs on our backs and the driveshaft on my lap, we set off to the nearest village on a ‘bola-bola’ (a small motorcycle) – both John and I on the same ‘bola-bola’ and the driver – three of us on one small motorcycle!
Ordeal by Taxi
From the village we got into a crammed mini-bus taxi which was licensed to carry 14 passengers but was packed like a tin of sardines with 20 people. This treacherous taxi ride took us about 2 excruciating hours before we arrived in Kampala.
Chaotic Traffic in Kampala
Once we were in Kampala, we needed to get to the Toyota dealer in order to get the repairs done to the wheel shaft, and this entailed another treacherous, hair-raising ride on a ‘bola-bola’ through the chaotic traffic of the streets of Kampala. At least we each were on a separate ‘bola-bola’, but this was no consolation in the busy, bustling, unorganized, chaos of vehicles weaving in and out of gaps in the traffic.
Repairs and Spares
Having finally arrived at Toyota, we were able to arrange for the necessary spares and repairs, but it would only be ready the following morning. We therefore had to overnight in Kampala before being able to return on a similar hair-raising trip back to our injured vehicle on the side of the road on the outskirts of town where we had left it.
Further Mechanical Breakdown
After putting all the pieces back together, we were able to continue our journey towards Kampala. As we arrived in Kampala in the evening, we heard a grinding noise coming from underneath the vehicle and upon inspection we found the universal joint of the prop-shaft in disrepair. This would need to be replaced, but at least we were able to ‘limp’ to our overnight destination.
Answers to Prayer
In South Sudan we presented more than 140 lectures, sermons, meetings, outreaches and devotions. We travelled more than 1,500 km within South Sudan on unpaved, gravel, bumpy roads. We screened films on 25 different occasions. These included: the Jesus film, Sudan: The Hidden Holocaust, The Biggest Question, True and False Conversions, More than Dreams, The Way of the Master and Hell’s Best Kept Secret.
We worked with 7 different Diocese and had good opportunities to discuss challenges and needs and future opportunities for ministry in these areas. We donated selected books to the shelves of 8 community libraries and enriched the personal libraries of more than 220 pastors, leaders, teachers, and community leaders.
Thank you for all your support and prayers. It is your support and prayers that have made our ministry in South Sudan possible. May God richly reward you for helping us serve this recovering war-torn country.
Yours in His service