Slowly, slowly as God provides

Img_4014 Posted by David Gough on Sat, 11 Aug 2012 | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

Simon and Diane have been extremely busy driving miles to rural Parishes each day. Simon has been entertaining hundred’s of Youth and children daily while Diane has been engaging dozens of Mothers’ Union ladies as well as assisting in the Church Health Clinic.

Billy and Dennis have been working on the Bishop’s house, his vehicle, fixing a solar panel and training vocational students. Each morning Dennis has been speaking at the morning devotions and we have been all been involved in the evening worship and team times.

I’m delighted that so far everyone is healthy, well-fed, mastering the latrines and showers and humbled by the fabulous Ibba hospitality.

I have been visiting the Archdeaconries with Bishop Wilson, as well as a few Primary schools, one was an impressive new 8-classroom government school which had no teachers and no pupils and a Church-run school a few miles away built by the local community, it had 5 classrooms but only 3 teachers. The children from the government school now attend the Church school which struggles to operate. Another Community-built school I visited had 3 classrooms and only one teacher who was not present, but the children still attend the school and sit around or play until the end of the day before returning home. They had no desks, chairs or books and pencils and sat on stone, branches and half bricks.

Even many of the children passing through the compound we’re staying in, carry their own chairs. There is a huge need to train qualified teachers in Ibba and in many parts of Sudan and it’s one of Bishop Wilson’s main priorities.

Like in most parts of Sudan, the Church in Ibba has insufficient funds to pay its Clergy so it continues to work towards sustainability, praying for the opportunity to open a Diocesan Farm. The staple crops of casava, maize millet and sorghum could be supplemented by growing onions and cabbage which are in high demand and grown by few.

But as the Bishop says, “We will continue to pray and develop slowly, slowly as God provides”. Healthcare and clean drinking water are other issues that have risen as a result of our various visits to the Deaneries. Sufficient medicines, medical equipment, maternity and post-natal care are some of the pressing issues. Diane said “The three staff are great and with the few supplies they have, they’re doing miracles on a daily basis”.

Since we arrived it has been quite overcast so there had been only glimpses of sunshine (it is after all the Rainy Season) and little sight of the African night sky and the billions of stars. Over the last few days it has rained part of the day before clearing up to the expected Sudan sunshine. On Thursday evening we were treated to a spectacular display of bolts of sheet lightening and thunder claps like I’ve never heard.

It was extremely encouraging to also see the progress on the Haddow Primary School 2-block, 8-classroom extension during my short visit to Maridi.

The 2 new blocks have mushroomed and are already constructed to ring-beam level. I met with the Bursar and School Officer who informed me that 428 boys and 354 girls, a total of 782 are currently attending the school. The government now pay salaries for 7 of the 18 teachers in what is the most successful Primary School in Maridi County. Christ Town Primary School, completed last year and which only 2 years ago operated out of a disused grass-roofed church building, today it has a new 8-classroom building with 970 pupils attending classes. I also saw the new Mothers’ Union hall and shop supported by Movilla Abbey, the shop is opens 13th August.

We’re now over half-way through our time in Ibba and while some of us have struggled emotionally with what we’ve experienced, we all feel welcomed, humbled and inspired by the visit. I’m glad to report that the Church in Ibba is alive and well!

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