Lynn and Sharon Kandel

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Mission Co-Workers in South Sudan since 2014
Serving at the invitation of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan (PCOSS)

Contact: Lynn Kandel (lynn.kandel@pcusa.org)
Contact: Sharon Kandel (sharon.kandel@pcusa.org)

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Lynn and Sharon periodically visit the US and are able to visit congregations as their schedule allows. Email them to extend an invitation to speak with your congregation or organization.

About Lynn and Sharon’s Ministry

Lynn and Sharon Kandel will fill separate but related positions working with Presbyterian partners in South Sudan. Lynn will work in logistical support, helping to provide comfortable accommodations, water, and electricity for mission co-workers serving in extremely challenging conditions of South Sudan and for Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) delegations visiting South Sudan. Lynn will also assist the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan in the construction and repair of its schools. In addition, he will be responsible for receiving project plans and financial reports from PC(USA) partners as he facilitates disbursements to them. Sharon will work hand in hand with the PCOSS’s Education and Finance departments as they implement a major PC(USA)- sponsored project. The project seeks to increase access to a basic, effective Christian education for children in the targeted areas of Jonglei and Upper Nile States. Her role will include helping the PCOSS Education Department establish and implement systems for logistics, management, and financial reporting that will strengthen the department’s capacity to provide quality education. Sharon will also work in efforts to facilitate reconciliation in South Sudan.

Country Context

In early 2011, the people in southern Sudan voted to separate from the Khartoum-based government of Sudan and form an independent country. The referendum was part of a 2005 peace accord that ended decades of civil war between rebels in the South and government forces from the North. Most people in the South are Christians or adherents of traditional African religions, while most in the North are Muslim. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been involved in Sudan and the region now known as South Sudan for more than a century and has longstanding relationships with the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church and the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan. The years of civil war left South Sudan’s infrastructure in ruins, but the region is home to abundant natural resources and many faithful Christians.  While there was great hope after independence for an improvement of the plight of the Southern Sudanese, continual conflict has made for increased suffering in this new nation. The PC(USA) is working with South Sudanese partners to help the country achieve the promise of independence, improve the plight of the people, and grow Christ’s church. South Sudan is among the world’s most impoverished nations.

About Lynn and Sharon Kandel

In some ways, Lynn and Sharon’s call to South Sudan is a path back to the future.

They met in Juba, the city that now serves as South Sudan’s capital. Lynn was on a short-term mission assignment when he met Sharon, the daughter of former PC(USA) mission co-workers Robb and Megs McLaughlin.

“We had both lived in the area before and when this possibility (for service in South Sudan) came up, it felt like God was leading us back,” Sharon says.

While they have past experience in South Sudan, Lynn and Sharon’s focus will be on helping the South Sudanese build a better future. The poor state of roadways and other infrastructure pose many hurdles in the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan’s efforts to expand education, health care and other ministries. The Kandels’ logistics and administrative work will help the church be more effective in the face of these challenges.

South Sudan has multiple and diverse needs so a variety of skills are required to help rebuild it. Sharon and Lynn look forward to working with people in South Sudan who have an assortment of talents and abilities.  They say 1 Peter 4:10 helps them appreciate the gifts of every person. The verse says: “Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.”

“This means a lot to us because we all come with different gifts, abilities and education, and we all are needed,” Lynn says. “We pray that this helps us to not judge others because of their differences but rather to welcome them.”

Early in their marriage, Lynn and Sharon sensed a call to mission. They served in Tanzania from 1988 to 1994 with Eastern Mennonite Missions.  Lynn was a construction supervisor and Sharon served in women’s ministry. “It wasn’t until the summer of 2013 that we felt God leading us back into some kind of mission work,” Lynn says.

Immediately prior to her current mission appointment, Sharon worked in food services with East Holmes Local Schools in Berlin, Ohio, for 17 years.  She is a graduate of Hesston College in Hesston, Kansas.

Lynn spent nearly 18 years in the trucking industry. His experience includes 13 years as an independent contractor for Admiral Merchants Motor Freight in Minneapolis. He completed a course of study at the Standard Technical Institute of Motorcycle Technology in Kansas City, Kansas.

The Kandels are members of Martins Creek Mennonite Church in Millersburg, Ohio.

Birthdays:
Lynn – February 9
Sharon – April 27