A letter from Lynn and Sharon Kandel, Regional Liaisons for the Horn of Africa, based in South Sudan
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New Year, New Job and a New Apartment! Pretty good way to start the year and we are excited about it.
We have become the PC(USA)’s Regional Liaisons for the Horn of Africa (Sudan, Ethiopia and South Sudan), taking over the position from Michael Weller who served in this position for 10 years. What does this job entail? We are the liaisons between the PC(USA) and our partners in these African countries. We will help make sure communications are passed along and understood by both parties, help with financial transfers, walk alongside these partners to aid them in any way we can as they build the kingdom of Christ, and tell the folks back in the States about the things that are happening and any needs that there are. We will be traveling a lot more, which is both exciting and tiring. There will be trips to Ethiopia and, hopefully, Sudan, but we will continue to live in Juba, South Sudan. There will be occasional trips to the U.S.A. and during that time I am hopeful that we will be able to speak at a church or two to tell of the things we are seeing happening in these countries.
Sharon will also continue to work with the South Sudan Education and Peace Building Project (SSEPP) in South Sudan. Since she has been doing this for the past two years it will not be hard for her to keep it up and she is glad to keep involved with the people she has built relationships with.
The best part of the trip was going down country to Gambella, where Sharon’s father worked with the Nuer people. She had the opportunity to meet some of the senior pastors who studied with her father and met one man who was ordained by her father. It was an emotional but good time to see that in all those days and weeks away from home the work had grown into such a large church. Robb would be most happy that the Nuers had spread the Word of God among so many people and that the church is growing.
We look forward to new relationships with the people in Ethiopia and Sudan and to continuing our relationships in South Sudan in a different role. It is difficult but exciting to be a part of the church in so many places and humbling to think that God feels we are the right people for this role. It has been interesting to hear from these brothers and sisters that it is good to remember the first missionaries who brought God to them but that it is also important to look to the future and find the way that is right for each of them in their own countries—we couldn’t agree more!
Now for a bit about the continuing work with the SSEPP. While some things have been put on hold, like the students going to the teacher training college, because of insecurity in that town, other things are going forward. There was a one-month Mobile Teacher Training done in Pochalla that was attended by about 45-50 people. We are excited about this training because it was able to bring two different groups of people together that have been having disputes about different things. To know that they came together for the good of the future of all of their children is really wonderful! There are workshops going on for teacher training and the training of the new Presbyterian Church of South Sudan (PCOSS) Education Board. Mentoring the students who have not been able to return to the college and encouraging them to keep studying have kept our co-worker Leisa Wagstaff and Rev. Stephen Nyang, the Education Department director, very busy.
We thank you for your prayers!! You all prayed with and for us about this new job and we are thankful for those prayers. Thank you, too, for the emails; we love hearing from all of you, and while we might not answer right away, we will answer. Again, thank you for your financial support that allows us to answer God’s call.
We continue to trust in Him,
Lynn and Sharon Kandel
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