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Tiring Rejuvenation

A letter from Lynn and Sharon Kandel, Regional Liaisons for the Horn of Africa, based in South Sudan

October 2018

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Interpretation Assignment. What is it and how is it done?

It is lots of travel, eating good food, meeting new friends and speaking about the places we have been living. For mission co-workers (MCWs), it is pleasure and work, tiring and rejuvenating, time to see family and time to make new friends.

You know, most MCWs are stubborn and strong-willed, but also shy and, yes, introverted. This makes interpretation assignment both a struggle and a pleasure. Let me tell you how it is all of these things for the Kandels.

We love to tell people about the places we work — Sudan, Ethiopia and South Sudan — so speaking is never a chore (except when one of us has laryngitis!). In fact, it is probably harder for our hosts to get us to stop talking! Sometimes it is a struggle to figure out exactly what a congregation wants to hear about or to narrow it down to just one thing. There are so many things to share, like what we have learned about ourselves and about the greatness of God, the strength of our partners around the world and the struggles that they face.

It is tiring and rejuvenating. Wow, how can it be both of those things? Well, it is tiring driving all over from Nebraska to Pennsylvania, Michigan to Ohio. True, that gives us plenty of time to talk, sleep (the one NOT driving!) catch up on emails, sort of, and see lots of the country. That is where the rejuvenating part comes in — seeing so much beautiful country! It is also rejuvenating to hear how interested and invested so many people are in places and people they have never met. It is wonderful to get new ideas about how people want to be involved and to get affirmation for what we are doing. There is affirmation in hearing people interested in our work and talking with them about specific people and places where we live. It is sometimes easy to think that no one cares, but SO good to be reminded that MANY people care and are praying.

I know many people think that MCWs must all be great extroverts, and while some are, there are many of us who are more on the introvert side. Interpretation assignment forces us to stretch ourselves and to find joy in talking with so many people. While this does cause tiredness, it also causes growth and the realization that it really is not so hard talking to people when you are talking about something that is so important to you. The stubborn part is there, don’t get me wrong, but it is that stubborn part that makes us do things that we would not always choose to do, like talking to a group of pastors or addressing a youth group. We thank God for the stubbornness then, because we are just too stubborn not to do it.

We do get to get reacquainted with family, learn what the new grandchildren are like, be amazed at how our children have become such wonderful adults, and visit with aging parents and relatives and glean wisdom from them. We also get to make new friends and find how much so many of us have in common. We also learn that it is okay to agree to disagree on things and still be good friends. It always amazes me how when you get to talking with new friends you find you know people in common from different parts of the world.

It is true that we go back to Juba tired from all that we have done while in the States, but we also go back knowing that we have shared (interpreted) about the Church in the Horn of Africa, made new friends, strengthened old relationships, and had time with family that is so very precious.

We thank God for the strength to do all of this, and we thank all of YOU for inviting us into your churches, homes and lives. We thank you for the financial support that we continue to need, so that we can do what we know God has called us to do. We thank you for your emails, notes, questions, advice and concern for us. Most of all, we thank you for your prayers, not just the prayers for us, but also for the wonderful people we work with in the Horn of Africa. We want you to know that we are praying for you, too, and the churches in the Horn of Africa are also praying for the United States and the Church.

Please keep South Sudan in your prayers as we hope and pray that the new Peace Agreement will hold. Pray for Ethiopia as it is going through some growing pains with a new prime minister who is trying to make good changes. Pray for the Church in Sudan as it is going through a very difficult time — pray for reconciliation.

Thank you for a wonderful interpretation assignment!

Sharon and Lynn Kandel

Please read this important message from José Luis Casal, Director, Presbyterian World Mission

Dear partners in God’s mission,

We near the close of 2018 inspired by the hope of Christ. God is transforming the world, and you are helping to make it happen.

Thank you very much for your support of our mission co-workers. The prayers and financial gifts of people like you enable them to work alongside global partners to address poverty, hopelessness, violence and other pressing problems in the name of Jesus Christ.

Every day, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission co-workers are blessed to be able to walk alongside their brothers and sisters across the globe. Listening to each other in faith and in friendship, they learn from each other how to work towards a world in which everyone flourishes. Acting upon what they discover together, PC(USA) mission co-workers and our global partners strengthen the body of Christ.

Because you are an integral part of God’s mission, I invite you to become more deeply committed to Presbyterian World Mission. First, would you make a year-end gift for the sending and support of our mission co-workers? The needs in the world are great, and World Mission is poised to answer God’s call to serve others.

I also invite you to ask your session to add our mission co-workers to your congregation’s prayer list and mission budget for 2019 and beyond. Your multi-year commitment will make a great difference in our involvement with our partners. The majority of our mission co-workers’ funding comes from the special gifts of individuals and congregations like yours, for God’s mission is a responsibility of the whole church, not a particular area of the church. Now more than ever, we need your financial support!

In faith, our mission co-workers accept a call to mission service. In faith, World Mission, representing the whole church and you, sends them to work with our global partners. In faith, will you also commit to support this work with your prayers and financial gifts? With hope and faith, I await your positive response!

At God’s service and at your service!

José Luis Casal

P.S. Your gift will help meet critical needs of our global partners. Thank you!

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