A Letter from Lynn and Sharon Kandel, Regional Liaisons for the Horn of Africa, based in South Sudan
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Sometimes it is hard to think of what I should write about. There are so many ways to go with a letter — hopeful, funny, sad, encouraging, discouraging and just plain old boring.
What can I tell you?
I will tell you about Jane, the lady who cleans our apartment and washes our clothes. She is in her 40’s, has four children, speaks very good English and is just a very nice woman. Last week, she came to clean our room late in the day, which is unusual for her since she usually comes before lunch. She apologized for coming late and then told us why. Two years ago, Jane had applied for a scholarship for midwife classes at the local hospital. Having never heard anything, she figured she did not get the scholarship and so had gone on to other things. Then, out of the blue, she got a call informing her that she received a scholarship and asking why she wasn’t in class. Well, as you can imagine, she went to class. Now, she goes every day until 1 p.m. and then comes to clean in our building. Jane is so excited to be taking these classes and said it is good to keep learning, no matter how old you are! She lives a good 30-45 minutes away, leaves her children every day to come to work, and now takes classes. As a Christian who takes her faith seriously, she travels that same 30-45 minutes to and from church. I get tired just thinking about all Jane does in a day, and yet she always has a smile to give.
How about Isaac who works for our building? He is one of the guards, a car washer and an errand runner, and he does anything else that he is asked to do. This young man reads and writes English and is always asking for magazines to read. He really likes it when we can find him “how-to” books that help him repair things. Please pray for Isaac. He used to go to church and read his Bible all the time, but now he says he is not sure what he believes. He wants to be a lawyer and help the people of his country get the legal advice and defense that they deserve. It is so hard to get ahead in this country, but I do believe God has a great purpose for Isaac.
These are two people we interact with almost daily. How do we help them? This is always a dilemma here in South Sudan. How to help, how much to help and when to help. We try to find ways to help that do not hurt. We can pay our cleaning lady (Jane) a little extra. We can help show Isaac how to save money, and even help set up a bank account for him. We pray for them, encourage them and just try to be there for them. It often feels like not enough. We can’t help everyone, so how do we choose whom to help? I don’t have the answer to that.
We are doing well. We are in that time of year when there are many deadlines for the financial transfers that we facilitate for PC(USA) partners, so we seem to be sitting at our computers a lot. We look forward to December when things really slow down and we can catch our breath, and maybe, just maybe, get some Arabic lessons, plan for visitors next year, and spend some relaxing time with our partners here in South Sudan.
Knowing that you all are praying for us is so comforting. We had a shooting incident just outside our apartment building that directly affected us. A stray bullet came in through a window two floors below us and killed a young man who was looking out the window. Please pray for his family as they grieve his loss! That could have been any of us, as we were all looking out the windows to see what was happening across the street.
Thank you for your prayer support! Thank you also for the financial support you have given to us and continue to give. We know that without you, we could not be where God has called us to be.
We continue to Trust in Him,
Lynn and Sharon
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