Archive for February, 2006

Company has Arrived

Saturday, February 25th, 2006

The group from the Diocese of Missouri has arrived in Lui and Deb is busy with them, traveling and enjoying their presence. The group consists of Archdeacon Robert Franken from the Diocese office, Rev. Bob Towner from Cape Girardeau, Lisa Fox from Jefferson City, and Rick Kuhn and Sandy Coburn from the St. Louis area. Sandy had been there before and the rest are first time visitors to Southern Sudan.

Deb called this report in on Friday evening (Saturday at dawn her time) as they were about to depart for La Kamadi, 30-35 miles away on the worst road in the region, and were unlikely to be back by the time of our usual call. The previous day they had been to Minga, about 50 miles away but on a better road.

She was eating better than usual as the group brought some fresh supplies from Nairobi, including a crate of potatoes. They also brought a small gas-powered generator for use at the cathedral in Lui, which Deb had requested. Deb had also asked if there were some funds to allow them to buy two more sewing machines for use by the Mother’s Union. These cost $75 each and these funds were also provided. This will allow them to have five machines available. The group also brought a supply of thread and fabric.

Of course there is the usual situation with a piece of luggage that got astray, but it has been found and is in the custody of Anthony in Nairobi. It will get to Lui on the next flight. This is the bag with most of Deb’s personal items, as well as a supply of needles for the sewing machines and some school supplies. It seems no trip to Lui is complete without a contribution to the saga of lost luggage.

Company is Expected

Saturday, February 18th, 2006

Deb wants the group coming from the Diocese of Missouri to know that preparations for their arrival are nearly complete. The huts are newly covered in red on the upper sides and black below. The black is made by mixing mud with charcoal and casave flour, and the red by powder made by breaking up bricks.

There has been some news of two local pastors. Reverend Margaret lost a dwelling at her compound when a boy who was alone discovered some matches on a table and lit one. It burned his fingers, so he dropped it and the whole place burned down. He was the only one injured, not seriously, when a falling bit of debris hit him in the shoulder. The occupants who lost their home were two nieces of the reverend. Rebuilding it will take time and take about 50-100 bundles of grass for the roof thatch, which will cost about $1.00 a bundle. The reverend knows this will be difficult to come by but she has faith that God will provide.

There was better news from Reverend Mama Janifa, where a new great-grandchild was born to her grandson’s wife last Sunday. The new baby girl is well and will be named for Margaret, who led the prayers that day. Deb preached the sermon, with only five minutes notice, she added.

The Theological Education by Extension or TEE classes will resume on February 19, according to the Venerable Morris, the program coordinator. They will start with the Old Testament and the faculty is Morris and Deb.

Some of the students may have some trouble as the water shortage continues and people spend much of their time just getting water, some having to travel quite far to get it. Some students have asked for help to get kerosene for lanterns so they can study at night as there is no time left to them in daylight. Some bore hole wells have collapsed and may have to be redrilled once the rainy season comes, which will be mid-March at the very earliest. The water shortage has far reaching consequences, and we have seen reports that it has killed herds of cattle in Kenya, as well as causing suffering in adjacent areas of Uganda and the Congo.

Deb was asked about school fees, and if it would be a good reason for youth groups to hold fundraisers to help some people attend school. She thinks that would be a wonderful idea. The money can go direct to the person or to the school, and she is sure something could be arranged through the Diocese of Lui to control these funds. They amount to a tuition charge which covers just about everything for the student. The reason that it is a high hurdle is that most of the people in the region live outside the cash economy and being able to pay for something in currency is nearly impossible.

Last for this week is news that there will be a two week workshop for Transitional Deacons in Lui. This will prepare them to become pastors, with sessions on subjects such as pastoral counseling, marriage, and management. The last will be Deb’s area of instruction. The discussions will reflect the nature of the local churches, many of which meet under a tree. The challenges are many, but their faith is strong.

News from Lui

Saturday, February 11th, 2006

Deb is well and thanked everyone for their prayers for the dedication of the Lui parish church. This was done last Sunday, with 750 – 1000 people attending. They came from all seven archdeaconates of the diocese, some walking long distances to be there. The site for the church and living compound has been cleared and a temporary building with mud walls and a grass roof put up already. Work on the permanent brick building will start soon and is expected to be completed in April. During the service the chancel was covered with woven mats and strands of flowers were dangling from the roof beams. Over 250 people took communion. After the service the youths performed traditional songs and dances as the honored guests dined on lenya, which is a bread-like food made from sorghum, chicken, eggs, and rice. This was followed by kedakedai, the local tea made from hibiscus flowers.

Preparations for the visitors from St. Louis continue to be made. The huts in the cathedral living compound are being resurfaced, red on the upper part and black at the bottom. The red is made by crushing bricks and mixing the red powder with mud, which is applied to the walls. Women in the village are making crafts they hope to sell, baskets and mats in intricate patterns, along with wrap skirts. The two sewing machines they have are not enough with ten people using them regularly, and ten more occasionally.

Everyone in Lui’s greatest desire is education. School fees are a nearly insurmountable hurdle as only the folks who work at the Samaritan’s Purse clinic earn any cash. Primary school can cost as little as $1 per term. Secondary school is $230 a year and university $350 a year (all in US $). Ugandan shillings are the local currency. $20 US is worth about 37,000 Ugandan shillings.

Changes in Lui

Saturday, February 4th, 2006

Deb had a quiet week since our last installment. The weather has been windy and dusty, with sustained winds of 30 mph or more carrying the dust into everything.

But there are changes coming in Lui she wanted to share. First and most important is that CARE is opening a new school there for adults who did not finish or even get any primary education due to the wars. It will be an accelerated program where one year will teach what normally takes two. And best of all there will be no school fees to prevent people from coming to it.

Deb also asked for prayers for the dedication of the new Lui parish church this Sunday. This is being built three miles north of Lui on the Mundri road. It will be a brick church with a compound for the pastor, archdeacon and the Mother’s Union. At this point brush is being cleared and the parish will meet under a locust tree until the building is completed, expected to be in April.

At the cathedral where she is there will be a new dining hall in the compound. This will be near the present one but be bigger, five meters by six, and have more windows, which will make it lighter and cooler. The present one will be converted to a meeting room. Another addition there is a new kitchen. The old one will be torn down and a smaller one with two rooms built in its place. It will have two rooms, one for the kitchen and the other as a shop for the Mother’s Union.

Otherwise the water shortage is getting worse. The Samaritan’s Purse clinic has a borehole well that has gotten low enough that they no longer can share its water with the locals, only having enough for patient use. This is not a good sign.

The folks who went to the synod at Juba have not returned as most are waiting for new documents from the government now that there is peace. These will include identity documents and passports.