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  • Jenny Smyth

Back In Yei

Jenny and Billy Smyth are currently in South Sudan, where they previously served as CMSI Mission Partners. Here's Jenny's first update - with highlights from the first few days of their visit.


Saturday 22nd January

‘The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies neve come to an end’

Here we are again. Yei. Much has changed but much remains the same. We have received a warm and generous welcome from Bishop Levi, Morris the manager and the staff of the YVTC, and from many familiar faces as we walk around the Hai Mission area. We are staying in the ECSS guest house – in a delux room no less – green and shady. It has been raining recently, unusual for January, so its not so dusty or overbearingly hot.

On arrival at Juba we were sprayed by the health department, temperature checked and presented our PCR test certificates. We were delighted to see the four heavy suitcases come trundling along the luggage belt. Archbishop Justin’s PA, Kate, met us at the airport and was very helpful in navigating the mayhem of baggage reclaim and customs, boldly declaring that the primate was waiting for us as so we should not be delayed!

Kate took us directly to meet Archbishop Justin in the Provincial office. We received a very warm welcome and spent some precious time in conversation, discussing the partnerships that CMS Ireland supports between the Church of Ireland and the ECSS. We also discussed how the CMS network can relate most helpfully to the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans and the new mission track.

We stayed one night at the church guest house, which is being redeveloped, and is convenient and comfortable, before catching the City Link flight to Yei.

Morris met us at the airstrip with Mandela, Bishop Levi’s driver. Mandela learnt his driving and mechanics at the YVTC! It was a pleasure to meet Bishop Levi in person for the first time. He laid aside his programme to prioritise our visit, and we are thankful. The remainder of the day was spent visiting the government offices to check in with internal security and to register as aliens.

Friday was a full day – starting with YVTC devotions focusing on the body of Christ, each called to do their part in cooperation. Billy then began his mending and fixing working with Baraka, who trained at YVTC when we lived here, and now tutors and is in charge of the tractor. I spent 2 hours with the bishop discussing the diocesan vision, CMSI and the upcoming visit to Ireland for Kingdom Voices. Particularly interested in the diocesan coffee project, we visited Moses Muggo to see what is involved in growing and processing the coffee. Moses home is like a mini demonstration farm with chickens, pigs, and lots of fruit trees and crops.

The YVTC was a hive of activity with 80 students all busy doing practicals in their various disciplines – Homecrafts, Hairdressing, Building, Mechanics, Electrics, Tailoring and Catering. It was so encouraging to see so much productive learning and the enthusiasm of the students.

Saturday – who knows what will unfold? Billy will be at the YVTC to continue with the Great Repairs ably assisted by Baraka. Ongoing preparations for the ‘YVTC 5 year Strategic Plan’ meeting. Three delegates arrive from Juba today… and hopefully a visit to town to see the market and find some wifi. In the evening we hope to visit with Emeritus Bishop Hilary and Mama Joyce. It will be good to see them.

Jenny will fly back to Juba on Wednesday, then join the charter to Maridi on Thursday. Billy will remain in Yei until 1st February. We will meet up in Juba to fly home on 2nd DV.



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