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A Different Future

A Letter from Lynn and Sharon Kandel, regional liaisons for the Horn of Africa, based in South Sudan

September 2020

Write to Lynn Kandel
Write to Sharon Kandel

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Churches are asked to send donations through your congregation’s normal receiving site (this is usually your presbytery)

 


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Dear friends,

What a year this has been for all of us! As you know, we are still in the USA due to COVID-19. I wish this meant that we were coming around to visit all of you, but PC(USA) still has the work travel ban in place. This does not mean we are not available to you by phone, Zoom, Facebook, WhatsApp, and any other way you can think of!

Our big news to share with you is that Lynn has retired! As of September 17, he stepped down from his role as regional liaison for the Horn of Africa and his involvement in the South Sudan Education and Peace Building Project. This does not mean we are completely out of the picture. I, Sharon, have taken on the role of regional liaison by myself. As you know, we were doing this job together, but now I will be trying to keep up with everything on my own. This means that my involvement with the South Sudan Education and Peace Building Project will be less, but I will still be involved. We will continue to live in the USA, which will make the work a little harder but doable. I will travel to the Horn of Africa three times a year (that is if travel becomes possible for short visits without two week quarantines upon entering each country), and I really look forward to those visits.

Lynn’s last Africa airport coffee – if he had only known it would have been a large!

We are settling in Millersburg, Ohio, where our children and grandchildren are. It is actually a really good location for visiting many of you, and I look forward to the day when I can come and see you face to face.

South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Sudan are all fighting COVID-19, as well as internal political unrest. Each of these countries needs peace. I guess you could say the same for the USA at this time. I think it is important for you to know that each of these countries is praying for the USA. They are praying for social justice, COVID-19, and racial issues both here in the USA and their own countries.

One of the things that I think this time has brought out around the world is how alike we all are in the issues faced within our countries and our churches. This time of reduced travel has forced us to use different means of communication, and we are finding that it is far more possible than we realized. This has meant more up to date sharing and prayer, more intentional conversations, and realizing that we are far more connected than we realized. We have also learned how important it is to have face-to-face, in-person time. Looking at each other on a computer is good for when there is no other way but, in person, is the best. For me, this shows that partnership is about more than just funds or high-level meetings but is more about getting to know each other, laughing together, teasing each other, crying together, and just living together.

Just one more prayer request. There has been a lot of flooding in South Sudan, and the latest numbers say that 625,000 people have been affected by this. That is a lot of people who were barely getting by before but have now lost everything.

This year has not been easy for any of us. I thank you for your continued prayers for us and ask that you continue to pray for me as I take on this role on my own. I am excited and nervous. Excited to still be a part of the Horn of Africa and nervous about the workload. Lucky for me, Lynn is right here to help me.

Sharon


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