A letter from Lynn and Sharon Kandel, Regional Liaisons for the Horn of Africa, based in South Sudan
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Traveling is fun, right? Traveling is for all ages, right? Traveling is easy, right?
Travel. We have been doing a lot of traveling lately. Some for vacation (that is the fun part), but mostly for work. Sometimes that is fun, but it is not always easy. And we are wondering about the “for all ages” part.
In August, we had the fun of traveling with our children to Tanzania, where we all lived for six years. What a wonderful trip down memory lane and a reconnection with friends from years ago. A warm welcome filled our hearts, and stories told, laughs shared and even some tears cried all helped fill us with a renewed sense of purpose in our current roles and countries. It was a time for Lynn and me to see what kind of impact we had made in the past and then have a chance to change how we do things now—hopefully for the better.
In September, both Lynn and I traveled, but to different locations. I once again went to Ethiopia (fun!) to meet with the partners there. These are partners with a long history with the PC(USA) and many either knew my parents or knew other missionaries I knew growing up. Again, many memories shared and also a time to reflect on how mission was done those many years ago and how to do things better now. I have found it interesting how easily people open up to me when they learn of my history with Ethiopia. I was born there and grew up there, and I also have a history with Sudan/South Sudan, as I lived there for the first four years of my life.
I was able to go to the towns of Gambella and Jimma: one is hot (Gambella), and the other is cool. The people are the same, though. Both have a strong desire to grow the church, to reach marginalized people groups and to continue the work of their fathers in the Church. They both face challenges of different languages among the groups of people in their areas, financial burdens and, in this new technological age, the troubles of internet and phone service, both of which are so necessary in today’s world. This brings us back to travel. I went by plane to these places, which is quick and easy but is not an option for everyone. If I had used local transport, I would have spent a whole day on a bus, arrived very tired and then would have had trouble concentrating while in day-long meetings. I really do not understand how my Ethiopian brothers and sisters are able to handle that—I use the excuse that they are younger than me, but, really, many are my age. I guess I need to toughen up a little.
Lynn went to Khartoum, Sudan for a short visit of about five days. He did not get to travel around as much as I did in Ethiopia; he just stayed in Khartoum. That is okay, since that is where the people he needed to see are. One neat thing that happened the day he arrived was that one of our partners in South Sudan was also in Khartoum, and he made the effort to travel to Khartoum to welcome Lynn and to make sure he had arrived and everything was okay. This meant a lot to Lynn, since the man did have to travel and take time away from his family, whom he only sees about three times a year. What a blessing to Lynn.
While in Khartoum, Lynn was able to visit with the Nile Theological College and Gereif School. These are two institutions that the PC(USA) has been supporting for some time; it was good to talk to those running the schools and get a feel for how things are moving along. Lynn also “traveled” in Khartoum, getting a tour of the interesting places and seeing a Dervish dance. Maybe that does not count as travel, but when in Africa, every time you get in a vehicle it is an adventure, especially in the city!
As I write this letter, we are in the States. We are here for two weeks, and are spending part of our time in meetings in Kentucky. This is where age comes into play in travel. We are looking forward to the people we will see but are wondering about staying awake during meetings. We are very thankful that God has kept us safe on our travels so far and pray for safety as we return to Juba, South Sudan.
Travel really is for all ages! Even those of us who are advancing in years still find it fun and tiring. Sometimes it is easy, sometimes it is not, sometimes it is for work, but it is always rewarding. Life is always about travel, whether physically, emotionally or spiritually. It is the same as growth. I never want to stop traveling, seeing new places, meeting new people, being challenged in my Faith and supported by people from all around the world.
Thank you for your support in our travels. We love knowing that we have your prayers with us in all that we do. Thank you for your letters and emails of support and interest in what we are doing. Thank you for the financial support that makes it possible for us to do what we do.
Lynn and Sharon Kandel
Please read this important message from Jose Luis Casal, Director, Presbyterian World Mission
Dear Friend of Presbyterian Mission,
What a joy to send this letter! As Presbyterian World Mission’s new director, I thank God for your faithful support of our mission co-workers. The enclosed newsletter celebrates the work you made possible by your prayers, engagement, and generous financial gifts. We can’t thank you enough.
After I began in April, I met with mission co-workers and global partners and was blessed to see firsthand the mighty ways God is working through them! Our global partners are asking us to help them move forward with life-changing ministries. Because of your support, we can say “yes” to these creative and exciting initiatives.
I write to invite you to make an even deeper commitment to this work. First, would you make a year-end gift for the sending and support of our mission co-workers? We need your gifts to end the year strong. With your help, we filled two new mission co-worker positions and plan to recruit for others. The needs in the world are great, and World Mission is poised to answer the call to serve.
Second, would you ask your session to add our mission co-workers to your congregation’s mission budget for 2018 and beyond? Our mission co-workers serve three-year or four-year terms. Your multi-year commitment will encourage them greatly.
Our mission co-workers are funded entirely from the special gifts of individuals and congregations like yours. Now more than ever, we need your financial support.
In faith, our mission co-workers accepted a call to mission service. In faith, World Mission sent them to work with our global partners. In faith, will you also commit to support this work with your prayers and financial gifts?
Jose Luis Casal
P.S. Your gift will help meet critical needs of our global partners. Thank you!
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