Tag Archives: South Sudan

staff meetings are universal

Some things are too universal to need explanation. Staff meetings fall in that category.

This morning our team was privileged to set in on the weekly United Methodist Staff meeting. And although there were many of the same reports and updates there were also a fair amount of differences. After the meeting was opened with devotions the first order of business was a security report. That is different.

Every department reported successes and challenges, as would be expected, but at the end of the meeting the staff took up their weekly collection for their Agape Alms Fund. Every week the staff donates to the fund in order to provide aid to those in the community they select in need of help. That is also different.

After a delicious lunch (cabbage, kale, pumpkin, fried okra, rice and beans) several of us walked to the UMCOR (United Committee on Relief) compound where we spend several hours with Dr. Lynn and Dr Sharon Fogleman, a medical missionary couple who have been here in South Sudan for over 3 years. This is where I began gathering the information necessary for the potential food security project that brought me here to South Sudan.

South Sudan has the highest maternal mortality rate of any nation in the world. There are several factors that contribute to this statistic but malnutrition plays a large role. And malnutrition here in this area is rising.

Even though this is safest area in entire country the impact of the war is felt here. Food prices have almost tripled since March. And the outlook for the immediate future in not good.

Stop Hunger Now allowed me to come because we want to make a difference in South Sudan. We want to do the right thing in the right way. Hopefully, by the time I return to the States we will have a better idea how to make that happen in a significant and sustainable manner.

Stay tuned. There’s more to come

a prayer for peace in South Sudan

Most merciful and loving God, how precious is your Name. This morning I pray for all those in distress from war and violence in every land. I especially lift up the people of South Sudan where peace is so desperately needed.

Let your grace abound and let the power of of your Holy Spirit minister comfort to all those most in need. Fill your people with the hunger to minister to the needs of the poor and hungry providing food for both body and soul.

And for all of us, we pray that your perfect will be done. Guide us and direct us in thought word and deed so that we continue to move our world toward a place of peace and justice. AMEN

hurray! we’re now in Yei!

We left our hotel in Entebbe at 0630 and drove to the airport where we had an easy time checking in and going through security. Our flight to South Sudan was mostly uneventful with the exception of a violent thunderstorm that bounced us around more than usual.

By 1230 we had landed in Yei and were on our way to the “Captain’s House,” our quarters for the next 10 days. We were welcomed and had a nice lunch before going through an introductory briefing on what to expect during our time here.

After a little downtime to rest and unpack the entire team drove to Grace House, a small orphanage started by the United Methodists less than 3 years ago, but already a model for child care in this area. Grace is an acronym for God Receives All Children Equally. and is home to about 30 beautiful, happy children.

It was a delightful visit and was a great introduction to our time here. Tomorrow we will worship with a local congregation and take it easy. Then on Monday we all split up to our assigned tasks. It’s going to be fun.

Again, more to come.

Greetings from Entebbe

Greetings from the beautiful Imperial Golf View Hotel in Entebbe, Uganda, in sight of Lake Victoria. It is one of the nicest hotels I have experienced in Uganda.

We have a cool, cloudless morning and are looking forward to a sunny day full of wonderful opportunities for ministry.

The team gathered at RDU at 11am Wednesday morning. We first flew to Atlanta where we had a short hour and a half layover and met Nancy, the last member of our 9 member team, a hospital CEO from near Macon. This is her first VIM trip so she is thrilled to be heading to Yei with us.

We left Atlanta later than scheduled amid lightning and thunder, and headed to Amsterdam where we arrived a little more than 8 hours after leaving Atlanta. We were an hour late getting into Amsterdam due to the storm delay in Atlanta, but still had a 4 hour layover before board our next flight.

The KLM flight from Amsterdam to Entebbe was a little under 9 hours, but was mostly smooth and uneventful. We arrive here around 2130, ( which is about 1430 east Coast time). After going through immigration and customs and getting all our bags organized and loaded into the vehicles, we finally got to our hotel around 2230.

Needless to say, no one had any difficulty getting to sleep after over 20 hours of travel.  We all met for breakfast at 0800 this morning and it was a much more relaxed group than when we arrived last night. A hot shower and 6-7 hours sleep makes a big difference.

We are here for only two nights. We leave tomorrow morning on Eagle Air for a short direct flight to Yei.

This is a really solid team. We have a good cross-section of skills and expertise, and all of us seem to fit together well. There is already a lot of laughter and good-natured kidding on top of an understood deep commitment to the work we are her to do.

Please keep the team in your prayers that we might accomplish all that we have the opportunity to do while in South Sudan.

More to come. Stay tuned.

worth the journey

In less than 4 hours I am supposed to meet the rest of the VIM team at RDU. We will repack all the team gear and make sure all of us are squared away before we check in for the flights that will ultimately take us to Yei, South Sudan.

The rest of the team have been traveling  by church bus since 0530, coming from Kingsport, Tennessee. I arrived here in Raleigh yesterday afternoon to take care of some Stop Hunger Now office work and to pick up a couple of items for the trip I couldn’t find in Lynchburg.

Those who have traveled overseas extensively know that the next couple of days can not be cataloged under “fun.” But the destination is definitely worth the journey.

Once we arrive in Yei we will be immersed in the work of making a difference in the lives of those whose need is real and immediate. We will be blessed in countless ways every day.

And when we finally have to face the long journey back home we will be exhausted before we begin, but full of a special joy that comes from doing the right thing in the right way for the right reasons. Yes.  The destination is definitely worth the journey.

Hoorah! heading to Yei!

This is the day that the Lord has made, therefore I will rejoice in it and be glad.

In about a half hour I will be heading to Raleigh, beginning my two-week trip to South Sudan. And I will happily admit that I am excited and ready to get started. I am not looking forward to the somewhat brutal amount of travel to get to that part of the world. But I am truly looking forward to being in Uganda and South Sudan.

I have been in South Sudan numerous times. I love the country. I love the people. And I love the opportunities there to really make a difference in the lives of so many.

Please pray for al of us on this United Methodist VIM (Volunteers In Mission) Team. We have an audacious schedule for our time in Yei, but the potential for good demands it.

I will try to be faithful with trip updates.  Please stay tuned.

on the road to South Sudan

Tomorrow I will drive down to Raleigh on the first leg of my trip to South Sudan. The afternoon will be spent at the Stop Hunger Now office and gathering last minute supplies for my time in South Sudan.

Then on Wednesday I will meet the rest of the VIM team at RDU to begin our flights. We fly from Raleigh to Atlanta where we will meet the final person on our team. From Atlanta we will fly to Amsterdam where will have about a 4 hour layover before our flight to Entebbe, Uganda.

We will spend one night in Entebbe before catching our flight into Yei, South Sudan. If all goes accord to plan we will arrive in Yei on Friday.

Then the fun begins. Every day the team is in South Sudan has been planned so that we might have the maximum impact. It’s going to be an exciting trip, with the potential to accomplish an amazing amount of solid work that will have huge long-term results.

More to follow so stay tuned.

South Sudan’s hunger crisis

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Even though South Sudan’s hunger crisis isn’t making the headlines it is terribly real. Today I am at Lake Junaluska in the mountains of North Carolina having meetings  with United Methodist leaders from the Holston Conference about our common ministry in this embattled country.

Our hope is to partner in our efforts to increase our impact. We all realize that working together accomplishes far more than working alone. In today’s meetings we will explore ways to connect and serve even more of those in need.