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February/March 2018 Update
UPDATE ON JANUARY TRIP TO SOUTH SUDAN
In addition to my work with South Sudan African Mission, I am partnering with John Hendee of Team Expansion and Hope International University to train African leaders in relational evangelism. We are using a gospel presentation that John developed many years ago called “It’s All About Relationships” (formerly A Peace Treaty With God). One stop on a recent three-week trip to Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria was in Nairobi. We brought Dr. John down from Aweil for a few days to accomplish some important tasks.
We met with David Tonui, Principal of Great Commission Bible College and his staff. Most of our key leaders in South Sudan African Mission received their training at Great Commission. David and his team gave us refreshed copies of the entire curriculum and permission to use it, as well as agreeing to send two of their staff up to Malek to certify our teachers so that our certificates of completion can be endorsed by Great Commission Bible College and ABC can operate as a satellite campus. This will give our graduates more credibility in the eyes of their countrymen and the rest of the African community of nations.
We met with a Kenyan bank to try to make it possible to pay our medicine suppliers from a Kenyan account because of the high costs involved with South Sudanese Banks and the currency exchange. We are still working on this one! Please pray that we find a workable solution. Funds going into South Sudan are on a U.S. government watch list and are heavily monitored. Because of this and other factors, the banks impose fees and give a very low exchange rate. Our suppliers prefer to be paid in U.S. dollars.
I was also able to take Dr. John to visit a medical clinic on the outskirts of Nairobi built by a group from Boise, Idaho. He was able to tour the clinic and meet for an extended time with the clinic staff and get some leads on reduced medicine costs, as well as “best practices”.
One errand was pretty simple but should have a profound effect on the students at Aweil Bible College. We were able to purchase 30 identical NIV Bibles so that all the students are using the same translation in classes. When I visited in November I found a variety of paraphrases and translations, many in very poor condition. Differences in translation led to confusion on the part of both teachers and students! Some of the students had to share Bibles. Now everyone has his or her own copy- all with the same translation and matching page numbers.
It was a joy to introduce Dr. John to John Hendee and other colleagues and see their respect for him, and listen with pride and gratitude as he shared his life story and testimony. We are blessed to have such a humble, dedicated, godly servant in the SSAM ministry! We are discussing the possibility of doing relational evangelism training in South Sudan.
Dr. John stopped in Juba on his way home and met with Santino, Peter Gatdet and Paulino to witness the good work that is being done at Juba Church of Christ. While he was in Juba he arranged for the purchase, delivery and installation of solar panels and electrical and internet equipment for the offices in Aweil. All together, it made a profitable trip!
APADA CHURCH OF CHRIST
We have proposed that we get a larger parcel of land at Apada which is on the outskirts of Aweil Town. We will support them with local materials to put up their shelter for worship. Angelo and Joseph will meet with them soon.
We have applied to the Ministry of Land of Aweil town to allocate a plot for the Apada church so that we can secure it with a local shelter in the near future. The majority of the the people living in the Apada area are refugees from Khartoum.
A mother with her recently born twins who are part of the Apada church.
(Photo taken in January 2017)
PRAYERS REQUESTS & PRAISES
- Paulino’s wife has been ill and in the hospital in Uganda.
- Wisdom for Dr. John and the team as they lead the mission in South
- Yournew, as he governs Aweil State.
- Without going into detail, banking issues to be resolved for funds
going into South Sudan.
- SSAM Board of Directors traveling to Gresham for a board meeting,
WELLS ARE BEING DRILLED!
SSAM has received funds to drill two wells in the Aweil area. The well drilling companies have been reluctant to travel into South Sudan in the past because of the ongoing war and treacherous road conditions. However, the well drilling rigs are currently drilling in the Aweil area! Thank you to our faithful donors for the additional funds. The funds for one well came from a Mother and Daughter in California and the other was combined funds from Faith Christian Community in Anchcorage and the Christian Church in St. Helens, OR.
One is proposed to be drilled is in a very far away village where Jody and Steve went. The place is called Mangartong Adhan village where the church of Christ is led by Ezra and his team. The other one is far from Malek in the village where Joseph was born. They have established a new church there where the area is very populated. The lack of clean water can be seen on the faces of elderly and the children. We are extending compassion to these people in these two locations.
“NO CONDITION IS PERMANENT”
Deanna Holsinger shared with Dr. John a video clip “No Condition is Permanent” and this is his response back to her:
You can google TED talks “No Condition is Permanent” and watch it if you care to do so.
So far, I believe in "No Condition is Permanent".
When I was watching him narrate story of "Musu" it is as if it was my story. After high school in 2005, I won a sponsorship to be trained by Taarfund Organisation (a disaster management organization founded in UK). The training was for 9 months within Sudan at Upper Nile Region.
I graduated as a community health worker and immediately became in charge at a primary healthcare facility called Panthou PHCC. Together with my team, we served an area with one million people.
That's when my title of being a doctor began.
Lack of hope from the dying and low level of my skills to save more lives from disease complications made me dream to further my studies at the University in Uganda.
Indeed, I can say that "No Conditions are Permanent”. Mind you that two to five of more than hundreds of boys have not reached the level of community health worker or college. This makes me one of the blessed among people of my path.
I have just like any other child in a war-torn country like South Sudan experienced pains from hunger, illness, loss of love ones to an enemy, slept on the road side or inside dark bushes and so on and so forth, and at times permanently displaced by Janjaweed Nomad Arabs soldiers who used to raid kids and cattle around Aweil area.
This video just brought into my mind all those memories of my way up to day.
"No conditions are permanent". At times, I was hopeless with no dreams to connect with the other side of the world.
I have concurred with Steve his wish to train, support and connect with anyone anywhere around the world because that brings changes to lives. Because “No Condition is Permanent.”
I was amazed watching this. I repeated the video three more times before I wrote this because I couldn't believe that I share the exact path of pains and changes with millions other people around the world.
God bless you. In Christ, John.
WHERE WILL SSAM BE?
February 25 a.m. – Scottdale, PA Church of Christ
March 4 – a.m. Harvest Christian Church Mission Board, Troutdale, OR
March 5 – SSAM Board of Directors Meeting
AS WE BEGIN OUR 30th YEAR….
I was reminded recently of the value not only of what we do and why we do it, but how and with whom we do it. I contacted a charitable organization with the stated goal of eradicating malaria. I told them about South Sudan African Mission and the hospital and mobile medical clinic. I was told, “We don’t work in nations that have active conflict going on. It is too dangerous for our personnel.” Having just returned from South Sudan, I can understand that, but millions of people in South Sudan don’t have the ability to leave until the conflict is over, and their need for medicine and food doesn’t wait either!
SSAM wisely decided years ago that we would not have Americans live in South Sudan, not so much because of danger, but because we do not want to create an unhealthy dependency on Americans or plant the subtle idea that we know better and can do ministry better than they. We don’t and we can’t! Spiritually and economically, it makes much more sense to rely completely on indigenous workers. It would cost more than our entire budget for all of our personnel in South Sudan to send and support one American family! It also would plant the idea that we somehow are better or smarter than they.
We have local pastors and teachers teaching the Bible College classes. We have local folks trained to work in the hospital. All of our preachers and leaders are Sudanese. While foreign workers and their organizations pack up and go home, our partners in ministry are “doubling down” opening new churches and planning for the future.
With Yournew serving as governor, we asked Dr. John, a young man from Aweil to lead the mission with the advice and counsel of a local board of directors. Their task is to pray, listen to the Lord and each other and arrive at consensus through the leading of the Holy Spirit regarding decisions for the mission. Ezra, Joseph, Angelo and John recently spent several days together discussing the future and preparing a budget for the first third of 2018. I am greatly impressed and encouraged with their proposals.
Please pray for these men and all the others who work together
to spread the gospel in South Sudan. Thank you for your generous support of this ministry. As we link arms across the oceans, may God be glorified!
Steve Holsinger, Director, South Sudan African Mission
Luca, Jody, Dr. John, Yournew, Steve and Daniel outside the Aweil office
IN–COUNTRY BOARD MEETING ON NEW YEAR PLAN
Dear Steve, Bev and SSAM Board in USA,
May the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ be upon you and your families.
We give thanks to the Almighty God that we are doing well in Christ and that we are just about to see the New Year.
May the New Year come with peace and prosperity to all of us.
As a fruit of having Steve and Jody’s visitation to the team in Aweil the early days of November, the team in Aweil feel encouraged, blessed and confident to take the mission to another level.
With an aim to expand the body of Christ in South Sudan, the leadership in Aweil in particular and that of South Sudan has agreed to form a body to further the gospel of Christ nationwide. To do this, we realized we need to be united and have trust and love of our Lord Jesus Christ. We formed a trustworthy body that prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide throughout the journey to expand the gospel to South Sudanese people and beyond the borders.
In-Country South Sudan African Mission Board will include: Dr. John Diing – Lead person on mission affairs, Angelo Atak - Advisor on ABC operations, Joseph Wel - Advisor on Church Planting, Ezra Lual – Advisor on Church Operations.
The In-Country Board held its first meeting Dec. 4-7 at the Malek Mission Compound to decide on plans for the year 2018 with a strong focus on church growth and development in South Sudan.
- Financial capability of the SSAM team in Aweil.
- Projects that support churches and church planting in Aweil area (to include churches in Upper Nile if peace return to Bentiu and Fangak where Peter and Santino stay).
- Decide on ABC development and sustainability.
- Decide on Malek Christian Hospital development and sustainability.
- Decide on Aweil office development and sustainability.
- Decide on mass preaching site (gospel crusading site in Aweil) development and sustainability.
- Decide on when and how a site may be secured in Juba for mission activities and fellowship.
- Decide on leadership development and sustainability amongst pastors, hospital workers and evangelists across our local churches.
Dr. John took the board members through the budget and fund allocations. With a desire to transform the team (church) and aspire to be transparent while serving Christ through mission activities, we discussed issues to do with mission financial capability and things to do with integrity to build trust and competencies among the newly formed In-Country Board Members. Meetings will be held at the Aweil SSAM Coordination Office or elsewhere within South Sudan on regular or an emergency basis. We will decide and propose projects, resolve solutions to activities that promote or hinder church growth or development locally.
After discussion for four days of discussion, the Board made conclusions regarding funds, priorities, leadership roles and the annual budget for 2018.
PRAYERS REQUESTS & PRAISES
(from Dr. John)
- Prayers from the Christians in USA and within South Sudan so that the
formation of the Board will bring trustworthiness and transparency.
- The faithful Christians in the USA to continue to raise financial support for
the team to function and embrace salvation of Jesus Christ.
- The SSAM Coordination Office in Aweil be registered and legalized to
operate as a faith-based national organization which shall carry under its
wings the Malek Christian Hospital, Aweil Bible College and the churches.
- Prayers that Yournew be with wisdom govern the people of Aweil
State and to show biblical leadership to the people of South Sudan.
The church in Malek wishing everyone in the USA Merry Christmas on Christmas Eve.
|If you contributed to the South Sudan African Mission in 2017, your statement will be mailed by January 20, 2018. Thank you for your confidence and continued support!
WHERE WILL SSAM BE?
January 14 a.m. Cedar Ridge Church of Christ, Kent, WA
February 25 a.m. – Scottdale, PA Church of Christ