A letter from Ingrid Reneau in Ghana, on leave from South Sudan
During 2012 it seems my life unfolded in response to my reading of The God of Surprises in 2011, a book recommended by my friend, Father Michael Schultheis, the Vice Chancellor of Catholic University, Juba. I soon discovered how much Yahweh, our Almighty, Merciful God and Saviour, delights in surprises. Below is a brief update of two main surprises this year:
(1). I did not renew my contract with Across, serving in South Sudan. Thus, while my immediate on-the-ground service in South Sudan came to an end, my commitment to serve the people of South Sudan continues. Subsequently I’ve been re-assigned as a PC(USA) mission co-worker, to serve as a Research Fellow at the Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission and Culture (ACI), in Akropong, Ghana. ACI was founded by one of Africa’s leading theologians, the late Kwame Bediako, who was also a pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana.
As a Research Fellow at the Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission and Culture (ACI) in Ghana, I’ll combine my Ph.D. skills and training with those of my five years experience in South Sudan with Across in Education and Donor Relations to pursue research and teaching that permits me to (1) Contribute to the development of Christianity and Christians in the fundamentally primal cultures of South Sudan’s cattle-keeping communities; (2) Participate in and strengthen the research and training activities of ACI on Christian mission with a view to foster more South-to-South relationships between ACI and the Church in South Sudan as well as more South-to-West relationships between ACI and the Church in the West. I begin this assignment in July 2013 because I will take an unpaid leave of absence until then. But thanks to your continued support, I will be able to maintain my medical coverage.
(2). This leave is related to the second surprise or adventure: In July 2012 Professor Andrew F. Walls, of Aberdeen, Scotland, and I were married; Professor Walls, as many of you already know, is a distinguished historian of Christian mission and theologian. Clearly this was THE surprise of my life! In keeping with this new status and the former mentioned above, I was reassigned with a view, among other things, of enabling me to live with my husband in the same country for most of the year (since our marriage, we’ve spent only five weeks living together! And it was all on-the-road, so to speak; hence the need for the leave, that we may begin to live a “normal” Christian mission married life, let’s say). As he’s been serving most of the year at ACI in Ghana, ACI became the likely place of service for me as well, especially also because this new location affords continuity with the work I’d begun while serving the South Sudanese people via Across.
For these surprises, I’m eternally grateful. With great joy I anticipate the additional surprises our Father has prepared for me in mission. I’m grateful also for your continued prayerful, financial partnership and support of me in PC(USA) mission. As ever, I bless our dear Lord Jesus for his wondrous goodness to us as Immanuel at all times. May his Holy Spirit ever empower us to continue being and doing that which will nourish and hunger our hearts for our Father’s mission in the world, in South Sudan and Ghana especially, that all may taste how good our Lord Jesus is, amen.
In His Great Love,
The 2013 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 103
Read more about Ingrid Reneau's ministry in South Sudan