A letter from Lynn and Sharon Kandel serving in South Sudan
Individuals: Give to 200524 for Lynn and Sharon Kandel’s sending and support
Congregations: Give to D507585 for Lynn and Sharon Kandel’s sending and support
Churches are asked to send donations through your congregation’s normal receiving site (this is usually your presbytery).
Greetings from warm Juba!
We finished our packing in a snowstorm and got off the plane in hot Juba! Now we are not complaining at all, but maybe, just maybe, we are rubbing it in that we are not dealing with snow, ice and bitter cold temperatures.
We have gotten settled into our new home. This is a first for us to live in an apartment building and has taken some getting used to, but we have found everyone to be helpful.
Having arrived Dec. 5, we were not sure what to expect for Christmas. We were invited to a church service in one of the camps here in Juba, and it was a wonderful experience. The ladies singing and dancing, all the different choirs, the different languages being spoken all around, and the joy that everyone was expressing that THIS Christmas was not like last Christmas. I am humbled by the joy and love of people who have been through, and lost, so much.
For me (Sharon) the first week was an emotional one as I met people who knew my father or
younger men who said they have heard of him. To hear Nuer being spoken around me and having the sights and smells of my growing up years around me again has been healing.
Because we arrived just before everyone left for a month, we did not get a language teacher for four weeks. We used that time to get to know Juba and how to get around the city. It was a good time for us to just settle in and start to feel comfortable. Then we were able to find someone to teach us and, wouldn’t you know, he is a Deputy Director in the Ministry of Education! Do you think God had a hand in this? We meet with him for 1 to 1½ hours Monday thru Friday. God gave us a teacher with a sense of humor for which we are very thankful.
In January Lynn was able to go with a group to Pochalla. This is one of the locations that is ready for a school building. Lynn said when the plane landed the people all came out to greet them, singing and clapping—what a wonderful welcome. I was lucky he came back, because he said it would be a nice place to live, right on the river. While he was there he was able to see a building that Leisa Wagstaff, a mission co-worker, will use for her teacher training time and see what needs to be done to it so that it will be usable. He was also able to see the area where they want to build and talk with them about what their plans are.
The people of South Sudan are welcoming and kind. That sounds so easy to do but when you think of what their lives have been like and continue to be like, it is kind of amazing. Even with things still so unsettled, they are choosing to move forward with their lives as best they can, and they are focusing on education as a way to move forward.
Please continue to pray for peace in this troubled land. That is all the people want. Pray for the leaders of this country and for those advising them.
Pray for Lynn and me as we try to learn a language that is really about three languages in one! We are learning, but it sure is slow. Pray that our teacher remains patient and that we find others to practice our language skills with.
We thank you for the prayers that you have already been sending our way—we feel them and know that they are keeping us going. We also thank you for the emails and messages sent our way; we love hearing from people and do try to respond to each one. We thank you for the financial support we have received—without you we could not be here doing what we feel God has called us to do.
Continuing to use our gifts for God,
Lynn and Sharon Kandel
The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 139
You may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.