Jack Fruit and Dodgy Dancing

Ibba_2016_logo Posted by Ibba 2016 on Sat, 16 Jan 2016 | 5 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

Two more days have raced past since I last updated you – somehow as we approach the end of our time here in Ibba the time seems to be passing quicker and quicker!

Wednesday 13th
On Wednesday, Dianne, Joan and Carol continued with the Days for Girls programme. The way the kits and teaching have been received is far beyond the expectation of the team. The conversations that this project has provoked have been particularly relevant and meaningful to the girls and women in Ibba. Everyone involved in these kits at home, in Moira and beyond, should be encouraged by the impact that your work is having in a very real way here in Ibba. The practical skill learning offers the opportunity to discuss many difficult issues faced by women here, issues where faith and culture collide.

Joanne spent the morning with the evangelists who were holding prayer healing ministries in nearby churches. This was a very powerful experience and one that Joanne will I am sure speak to us all on further in the weeks ahead. God is certainly at work through His people here bringing hope, faith, healing and freedom.

David and Nigel met with officials from the Department of Agriculture who work to support farmers in the local area.

I spent some time with those responsible for keeping the financial records within the church here. I was greatly encouraged by what was explained to me and by the records that were shown to me. I hope to meet further with the Treasurer and the Diocesan Secretary to understand how these individual records are brought together.

Linda and Jenny were involved in administration and communications.

Joan, David and I were privileged to be taken to have lunch with the Commissioner in his compound. There, we also met with the local chief and the Commissioner’s secretary. We were served a wonderful meal and shared in a discussion that included local and central government. There is a clear desire by people here to understand models of governance, so that when peace is established, they are able to have a good and effective way of fair administration, built on principles of justice. As Bishop Wilson said…

For the church the foundation is Jesus, for good government it is justice.

On Wednesday afternoon, one of the ladies who has been looking after us so kindly, Elizabeth, invited the whole team to meet with her family. Her father is Pastor Richard and she is one of 11 children, most of whom live, with their families, in Tukuls alongside their father. Richard has been blessed with many grandchildren.

We sat under a jack fruit tree and were introduced to all of the family who were present. All of the children and grandchildren have been or are being schooled. This has been supported by the local co-operative, whose mission is to provide good quality food to its members and thereafter to use any surplus to support education, which is not free in Ibba. Last year the co-operative supported 28 children at primary and secondary level!

I hope we can share a photo of a jack fruit with you. As we sat under the canopy of the tree, the story of the man who was sitting in the shade of such a tree, only to have a jack fruit fall on him and kill him in an instant, caused many of us to look up and shuffle our chairs somewhat!

Thursday 14th
On Thursday,y Jenny, Linda, Joanne, Carol and I met with the youth leaders. This was an interesting session and involved the study of verses from Jerimiah and Hebrews. A seed was sown in our discussions about the hope for an annual diocesan wide youth conference here in Ibba. We pray that such a conference may happen in accordance with God’s timing.

David and Nigel spent time receiving presentations from five different co-operatives, most of which aim to support education, others which support traumatised people: orphans, internally displaced people and women who were raped and made pregnant by fighters from the LRA. There is much need in Ibba Diocese but there is much generosity amongst the people to share resources and care for the vulnerable.

Lunchtime provided all of us with the privilege of sharing with a local family. We went in twos and threes and were hosted by local families in their homes – giving us an insight into daily life. The hospitality, generosity and care we’ve experienced everywhere we have gone has been quite overwhelming. Joanne and I spent some time with the church warden and his family, learning to play a local game, Abanga. There was much laughter as we struggled with the rules of the game. This was a blessed time to have with these families in their homes.

Diane and Joan continued to work with the Days for Girls programme. Each day, more girls come – their enthusiasm and determination to learn is wonderful to see. Diane and Joan returned after lunch with local families to find an incredible amount of progress had been made with the material that was available. This is a real encouragement and an indication that this work will continue in earnest when we have to leave on Monday.

Before dinner on Thursday evening, Elizabeth tried to teach us a song and a dance that we might be able to each to the children in St John’s. The song we were able to catch quite quickly, but the dancing… It is fair to say that rhythm does not come so easily to us as it does to Elizabeth. The sounds of laughter from the bishop’s house must have carried a long way into the night. We will need much more practice if we are to be able to teach anything to the children at all! Dinner this evening was finished with jack fruit – a gift from Pastor Richard and Elizabeth’s family. A most unusual fruit with a flavour which I cannot describe…

As we are now approaching the end of our time here in Ibba – we leave early on Monday – we would ask that you continue to pray for us as we seek to do all that we have been called to do here before we leave. Pray too for the people of Ibba who we are sharing together with. On Sunday we will be sent to village churches in twos, and this will be the first time for some of us to preach. Your prayers are valued! Know that we are also praying for all of you at home.


Olwen Laird is a member of the CMSI Mission Experience Team Abroad from St John’s, Moira visiting Ibba Diocese in South Sudan. You can read her other blogs here.


Kathryn McMurray said Sun, 17 Jan 2016 09:13AM
Thank you for taking the time to update us on what you have all been experiencing in Ibba. I am sure you are all exhausted but it makes our prayers at this end so much more real when we hear how it is all going. Many more tales for you to tell us when you get back no doubt!
Ian Laird said Sun, 17 Jan 2016 09:40AM
Truly inspiring. I am so humbled by the work that you all have/are doing and look forward to hearing the stories if not the dancing !!! May the grace of God be with those of you are speaking this morning.
Nina Coffey said Sun, 17 Jan 2016 09:54PM
Olwen it's brilliant to read all your updates and hear what you are all getting up to. There is no doubt that you will all be leaving a much encouraged Ibba. Praying for you all as you leave tomorrow.
Charisse McChristie Brown said Mon, 18 Jan 2016 09:22AM
Dearest Olwen & the Team, It's so great reading about the work that is being done in IBBA.....I would love to be able to teach our children here in Northern Ireland the dance and song you are writing about. The people in Africa have a rhythm that is unique. Diane and Joan is wonderful to see the work with regard to the Days of girls programme is going strong. You are all encouraged with our prayers and strength. Look forward to your return XCharisse
Lenore Blean said Mon, 18 Jan 2016 09:26AM
Olwen! Your updates have been so so inspiring and informative.....next best thing to being there . Praying for safe and comfortable journey home. XXXOOO

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