Potholes, praise and generosity

Ibba_2016_logo Posted by Ibba 2016 on Mon, 11 Jan 2016 | 3 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

On Saturday we continued with our various roles – Diane and Joan with the Days for Girls programme, Linda and Carol with the health clinic, David and Nigel with the beekeepers and Joanne and I with pastor training.

This time our sessions were brief as we had a planned trip to Manikakara – 10 miles away on the main A44 road, that runs across the country the whole way to Juba. 10 miles from Moira would take 10 minutes on any of our roads – the trip to Manikakara took considerably longer. This is the dry season and as such the roads are more easily passable – however it became very clear to all of the team why a landcruiser type vehicle is required – we have some photos of the potholes in the road – their scale is hard to comprehend.

Manikakara is a beautiful village – and we were again greeted with a wonderful welcome, following which we met with the leaders of the church to talk together, gain a better understanding of each other and the challenges faced and then visit the church building and school.

In preparation for our visit, one of the young men from the village had gone into the bush to hunt an antelope for our lunch – this was a real sign honouring our visit. One of the memories that will live long in our hearts was the impromptu praise in the church – accompanied by local instruments with much dancing – we may even give you a demonstration of our moves when we come home!

Manikakara was a challenging place to visit – there was much joy – with people praising God spontaneously – but also there were signs of real deprivation and malnutrition.

When we returned to Ibba, we were privileged to receive an impromptu visit from the Commissioner – it was a brief meeting but again the message that a friend that comes when times are difficult and meets with people in their difficulty is a true friend indeed. It is really humbling how much just our being here means.

Saturday was a long day – many of our evening showers were with only the light of the stars (well, our head torches!)

On Sunday, we only had a church service to attend. For those of us who haven’t been to Ibba before, this was like no service we’ve attended before. We started our service at 11am – that’s 8am at home when some of you may have been thinking about waking. Our service was still continuing at 1pm when your service in Moira started – we were still praising God at 2.30pm when your service would have ended and we continued until 3.30pm – 4 ½ hours! Truly we did not feel time passing – much more of this and Joanne might be planning much longer services in Moira too!!

The service included a sermon by Joanne on forgiveness. The bishop also spoke to the people on difficult issue of alcoholism and how bereaved women should be treated. It was clear to all of us there how important of the voice of the church is to the people in South Sudan. The service included a fundraiser for clothes for pastors – all of whom are non-stipendiary. Bishop Wilson explained that the congregations need to care for their pastors and provide some support for them.

We had witnessed this in Manikakara, where the youth work together to mend their pastor’s roof. Bishop Wilson encouraged folks to give enough for two shirts, one pair of trousers and a pair of shoes for each of the five pastors linked to the cathedral. He explained that he would personally sleep in the cathedral until enough was raised, which would prove problematic as then he would need to be fed as well!

Through the ensuing laughter, people came forward giving what they could afford…some came with shirts, trousers and even a shiny new pair of shoes – along with gifts of money, and enough was raised for the target to be met! We all felt challenged that from a situation of economic hardship, Christians are practicing tithing in a way that would shame many of us.

We have been able to speak briefly to family at home and that has been a blessing. We would ask that you continue to uphold us all in your prayers – that we can continue to do that which God is asking of us in this place. That we will bring the gifts of the people of God here back with us to share.

Olwen and the team

Comments

Jenny Christie said Mon, 11 Jan 2016 10:25AM
Excellent words there Olwen - it's a "yes" to longer services in Moira for me! May God continue to reveal Himself to you all as you journey together. You are being upheld xoxoxo
Gillian Maganda said Mon, 11 Jan 2016 12:09PM
Jeepers! That's the biggest pothole I've ever seen - continuing to uphold you all in prayer - God is faithful xo
Kathryn McMurray said Wed, 13 Jan 2016 07:45AM
Looking forward to you all demonstrating those moves when you get back and upstaging Simon! It's great to be able to read your updates and share with what God is using you for out there. It's wonderful to hear about both the happy and sad parts that you are witnessing. Romans 12:15

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