The man from Sudan

Img_4014 Posted by David Gough on Mon, 22 Sep 2008 | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook

Recently I was introduced to speak at a mid week service as – “…you’ve heard about the man from Del Monte, well today we welcome the man from Sudan.” As I got up to speak I thanked the Rector for his warm welcome and retorted – “at least you didn’t introduce me as Mongo man! I had been invited to speak about a new school at Mongo in Southern Sudan.

On Monday 22nd September the man from Sudan departs again to visit Sudan as well as CMS Ireland’s Global Partners and Mission Partners in Ethiopia, Uganda and Zambia, and yes I will be visiting Mongo Primary School.

The first of my 15 flights takes me from Belfast to Heathrow and then onward to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where, thanks to 75% funding recently received from Irish Aid, CMS Ireland is supporting the church build a new Centre for Mission. The 3 year programme will focus on education and reconciliation in Gambella, west of Addis Ababa and close to the Sudan border.

In the last 5 years the church has experienced incredible growth – the biggest in the Diocese of Egypt, with over 40 churches now established. However, this region is also plagued with ethnic unrest and tribal conflict – an opportunity for the church to bring healing. In Addis I’ll meet Bishop Andrew Proud and his wife Janice, as well as a number of his Development team, including an ex Concern colleague, Gary Campbell. I worked with Gary in Pakistan after the Afghan war in 2001 and 2002.

I then fly from Addis Ababa, via Entebbe in Uganda, to Yei in Sudan. I’ll be meeting John Spens, Bishop Hilary of Yei, Bishop Peter of Lainya and hopefully Bishop Francis of Rokon Dioceses. I visited John and Poppy at their home last week; to meet specifically with Poppy about the health projects in Yei and Lainya. She is recovering well from a hysterectomy operation so will not be able to travel with John to Yei. The Spens officially complete their mission service with CMS Ireland at the end of September, but will remain connected to CMS Ireland and continue to be involved in Yei Diocese. Poppy hopes to be fit to return to Yei in November.

CMS Ireland was also successful in obtaining 75% funding from Irish Aid for the next phase of Health Line Sudan in Lainya, some 35 miles from the Yei Primary Health Care Centre. I’ll be meeting Bishop Peter in Lainya to make plans for the start of the construction work and health training.

I’ll then be traveling by road from Yei the 6 hour journey to Arua in Northwest Uganda to visit the Den Breejen family, CMS Ireland’s newest Mission Partners from Holland. I also look forward to fellowshiping again with Bishop Joel of Madi West Nile Diocese and the Management Committee of West Nile Ecumenical Vocational Training Centre, where Aart den Breejen is the co-ordinator. From Arua I’ll meet with the contractors of the Lainya Clinic in Kampala, to confirm the work plans and start date for the new clinic.

From Uganda I fly via Nairobi to Lusaka in Zambia and then onward to Ndola and Kitwe, where I’ll be spending some time with CMS Ireland Mission Partners, the Scott family, Bishop Chama and retired Bishop Osmoro the Principle of St John’s Seminary, where Keith Scott lectures. The Scott’s complete their mission service in December so I’ll be discussing CMS Ireland’s future involvement in the Diocese of North Zambia.

I then make the long track home arriving in Belfast on 13th October – 15 flights, 4 countries, visiting 6 Global Partner locations and 3 sets of Mission Partners in 3 weeks. Please pray for the man from Sudan, that I catch all the flights, for safe travels, for safety, for building relationships with our Global Partners and for a refreshing, enlivening time.