Reconciliation Report
March-April Issue #62

S. Sudan & Uganda 2010
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Martin, our Torit church planter, teaches in Bible schools.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE

The main objective of the S. Sudan ministry was to assist in laying the foundation of four Sudanese churches. Lookout Mtn. Pres. Ch. had funded training of seven church planters. We also escorted Ellen Fox to her teaching assignment in the village for a term of about three years. She had served in our previous three team ministries to S. Sudan and the Lord called her to transfer from our Team to the Sudanese Team. The Holy Spirit "micromanaged” our movements, as one Team member observed. Unknown to us, the only day available to obtain S. Sudan visas was an official bank holiday, and the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) offices were closed. The visa process included depositing money in a bank on the day of issuance. We went to the embassy anyway and I talked with a guard, who had sympathy, and called an embassy staffer. The official could offer no assistance due to the banks being closed, and seemed unfazed by my appeals. Then he strangely reversed himself and told me to meet him around 11 AM to process the applications. He was a brother in Christ and came in on a holiday to help.

Once in the first village in Sudan, our schedule changed sometimes hourly. Communication with our coordinator was possible only when he could get to Torit, about three hours of bad road away from his village. Apparently poor communication was responsible for being one day late to all our events even as we began. Nevertheless, we were able to teach about 35 men (Genesis 1-3 and principles of Christian growth) and 10 women (also Genesis) for an afternoon, and to witness door-to-door. Due to a two-year drought and crop failure, areas we saw in rural Eastern Equatoria province are dry, cracked and hungry. Almost in sympathy, a couple of us lost seven pounds during our nine days in Sudan.

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Ellen observing a "tree school" class. She is now teaching at this girl's school.
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Team arrival in S. Sudan, from left, Naomi Gibson, Ellen Fox, Joe Huebscher, Andrew Kyabasinga

Next we penetrated the scarcely traveled path to Hidonge, a village so remote that I couldn't believe people could be found at the end of the apparently unused road, winding miles deeper into the bush. Suddenly we came out into a grassy area about the size of three soccer fields. Slowly the logs seats set in "Y" posts began filling with people of all ages, at least a hundred. We taught for nearly four hours. It was apparent that not one of my presentations was suitable, so I quickly prepared teaching on the Gadarene demoniac(s) of Mark 5:1-20. It turned out that all but one of the men offered sacrifices to the river god to prevent sickness, and sacrificing to spirits can, it would seem, easily evolve into demon influence (1 Cor. 10:19-21).

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The ethics class of second and third year students.

The next day we traveled to Lalanga, a village of about 600 and prepared for open-air preaching in the village commons. The van didn't return for over a day due to a breakdown, so we slept outside, allowing us to conduct their first church service under a tree. About 20 adults and 14 children attended. I interviewed the two church planters in this village as well and they seemed very solid. At dark a surplus German military fire truck came to our rescue. We returned to our home village for a supper about 10:30 PM.

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Students who stepped out to receive Christ at Tsertenya.

Local missionaries extended the loan of the fire truck to our next village, Tsertenya, about 6 hours away. After sleeping in little mud huts overnight, we headed to the local primary school, where a room had been promised in which to teach local villagers, who didn't show up. However, the inebriated administrator herded all the students into one room and asked us to talk to them--perhaps 175 sitting on the concrete floor. While trying to occupy the official, several of us team-taught an impromptu Gospel presentation, again starting with Genesis. As we closed, eleven students decided to follow Christ and were counseled in a separate room.

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The first church service at Lalanga, Andrew preaching

That afternoon we taught about 20 ladies and 10 men on the basics of the Gospel. Toward evening, Chief Peter, head over 5 local villages and mature beyond his years, took Patrick, our coordinator, and others of us to see land the community was donating to the church. It was enough for a soccer field and several buildings. Then he took us to a second spot with a commanding view and gave it for a church building, with the offer of more land if we could use it. The local Roman Catholic church was inactive and another church planter did not seem to be making much headway and Peter wanted to attend a church more often than every three months. Being a border town near Uganda, there was much drunkenness. Two or three packets of "Empire," an imported 40% alcoholic drink, can send a man staggering.

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Patrick Oting, (left) our Sudanese partner, is receiving land from Chief Peter at Tsertenya for church ministries and a church building. This community is wide open to an evangelical church. If you or your church would like to support one of the four church plants, contact us.

Early the next day we headed for Torit, arriving in time for another Arabic meal and door-to-door witnessing. Amazingly another drunken man rounded up about a dozen people to hear the gospel. After Joe gave his testimony, people began raising their hands and asking, "Can I do that?" About 14 people ended up doing that--asking Christ to be their savior, within about an hour's time. This came just after Joe asked the Lord if all the expenditures of time and money were worth it. This was his answer. We flew out the next morning as Salva Kiir, President of Southern Sudan, flew in to win voters in the April 13-14 elections. We discovered that Andrew's flight had been cancelled on a second airline, but the Lord enabled us to arrange (while our plane flew to get us from Uganda) for him to fly out with us, instead of waiting at least four more days.

With the Team safely on their various ways, I prepared for the four 6-hour lectures in ethics at All Nations Theological School (find the presentations at www.RMNI.org). After three days, the closing bell rang precisely as the last slide was shown for that day. The Korean faculty and staff kept the Kimchi coming, replacing one of the lost pounds. After the exam for the 37 upper-class students on Friday morning, I'd been invited out for lunch, but since rains made the road impassible, even with 4 wheel drive, I was able to complete grading just in time to get to the airport for the flight home that evening, completing the second dissimilar part of a challenging trip. Thanks for any prayers!



Jim Sutherland


Serving Under-served People in Uganda
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RMNI is sponsoring its tenth ministry trip to Uganda, Oct. 2-16, 2010. We plan to serve underserved areas--one atop Mt. Elgon, rising 10,000' in the southeast, working with seven churches. RMNI has served twice previously on this mount. Then we travel to Karamojo to serve the Karamojong people. By one account, eighty percent of them live on less than $1.00 per day. In 2003 Okiru Ezekiel, who works among them, specifcally asked African Americans to come over to help him reach the Karamojong. Gulu is our third venue, an area devastated by the LRA rebels for almost 20 years. We have a reliable network of Ugandan coworkers. Here is a trip overview, and here is a flyer that can be posted at church.

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This is a ministry, rather than a vision trip. If your gifting is teaching (any grouping), evangelism, preaching, or service, among many others, we'll arrange your ministry. Do you have skills in micro-economic development? We welcome medical personnel and can set up medical clinics according to your specialty and interests. Ask the Lord if this is the time, and this is your trip.

Prayer
Jim Sutherland, Ph.D.
Director

POB 2537
Chattanooga, TN
37409-0537

Phone: 423.822.1091

Mobilizing the African
American Church
for Global Mission

Prayer & Praise
  • Your prayers for the March S. Sudan/Uganda ministry are deeply appreciated. The Lord showed his power in our weakness.
  • With last year's crop failure, S. Sudan needs rain. People are in great need. Please pray for a good harvest and for many to turn to Christ, instead of to "rainmakers," to meet all their needs.
  • Seven church planters at four locations in S. Sudan need prayer to plant enduring churches. They need wisdom in witnessing, converts, Bibles, a basic structure, protection, and to abide in the Lord.
  • Ellen Fox needs prayer as she begins village life and teaching at a "tree school" in S. Sudan. Please pray for good health and language acquisition. Also pray for the nation, that S. Sudan will be protected as a succession referendum is promised for 2011.
  • Ask the Lord of the Harvest to raise up His choice of workers for the October Uganda ministry.
  • Pray for the missionary census to rapidly move forward.
  • For new visitors to our website and increased usefulness.
  • Our main contacts at the Westside have moved to Texas. Pray that God will prepare others to carry on ministry there, particularly a man perhaps resisting a call to ministry.