A letter from Jacob George in Sudan
December 7, 2010
“This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”
After long periods of planning, praying and preparation we reached Juba in southern Sudan on Saturday, November 23. The Rev. Michael Weller, regional liaison for the Horn of Africa, was at the airport with colleagues from the Presbyterian Relief and Development Agency, who welcomed us warmly. We stayed at a guesthouse in Juba until our flight to Malakal on Saturday, Nov. 27.
Michael, Aliamma and I were warmly welcomed by the Rev. Peter McCuach, moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Sudan (PCOS), Gideon Tai, PCOS general secretary, and the Rev. John Chany, PCOS education director. We attended church on Sunday and the service was attended by about 1,000 people; it lasted for three hours and was very lively. People welcomed us warmly and with love. Michael Weller helped us to get settled here in Malakal; he had to leave on Monday. He was very helpful in getting us oriented here.
The Rev. John Chany is our language trainer; he meets with us every day and we are slowly learning the culture, customs and language. We went to the Giffen Institute of Theology (GIT) and met with the dean, the Rev. Peter Ret Riek. The Rev. Mike Cole, general presbyter of New Covenant Presbytery, has offered to give his library to GIT and is making arrangements for the books to be shipped to Sudan from Houston.
On Sunday, Dec. 5, our second Sunday in Sudan, we worshipped at the Arabic-English Presbyterian Church of Malakal. It was a lively, three-hour service and about 250 people attended. I gave a 30-minute message, which was translated into Arabic. It was a Presbyterian service that included singing, praising and dancing; again, the people welcomed us warmly. The Sunday school classes were held in the open due to the lack of buildings. Church buildings are unfinished and the church is overflowing.
Electricity and clean water are two luxuries here. We live near a market and the basics are available. The roads are very dusty and you can see lots of donkeys and horses pulling carts. Cows, sheep and dogs walk in the market along with the people. People are friendly and appear very relaxed.
The PCOS made arrangements for us to visit the local government hospital; we had our picture taken with the director in front of the hospital. They have many departments, but very few staff members. There is a small pharmacy with a limited number of medicines near the hospital.
We will stop here for now, wishing you the blessing of Advent Peace.
Jacob and Aliamma George
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 54