Billy Smyth has spent his first few days in South Sudan. He sent us some brief reflections on how he has found his return to Yei Diocese.
On the way to Yei, I spent a day in Entebbe and met with a former colleague from Yei VTC, who later held an important position in government. He is now a refugee in a camp struggling to make ends meet for his family. It was lovely to catch up with him but distressing to see the impact of civil war on my friend.
Arriving in Yei on Saturday I was met by the Bishop’s Chaplain, Rev Gaga. It was wonderful to see him. The town seems quiet, few cars on the road, we passed two petrol stations on our way in from the airstrip, both seemed closed up.
We were greeted at the diocesan guest house by Bishop Hilary and a welcome breakfast. The guest house is busy with emergency NGO workers, there is water from the borehole and electricity from a generator for a few hours each evening. It is great to have wifi.
On Sunday I attended the early 7.30 service, the cathedral was full with 2 services to follow. I was introduced and received a warm welcome. Bishop Hilary seems in good form but Mama Joyce is still having health problems and needs your prayers.
The planned diocesan peace conference has been delayed so I hope that it will still take place while I am here.
I had a look around the VTC compound. It is very run down and I doubt if any of the vehicles are worth salvaging. The electrics are a nightmare and will require a lot of work. The bunk beds from the dormitories have all disappeared. Several families are living on the compound. One young man is living in the kitchen, like so many others he has been displaced. Our old house has been tidied up for me to use as an office in the day time.
Immanuel Model Secondary School starts back this week on the same compound so that will be interesting to see...
Please do pray for wisdom as I meet with the diocesan staff and local management committee that we may discern the Lord’s way forward. The problems are many!