Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Sudan Trip

Here are some highlights from our recent trip to the worlds youngest country...more to come in our next newsletter.

After 6 years in Uganda it was about time I went on MAF flight, even if I don’t normally enjoy the ride!
So last week, we set off from Kajjansi on a beautiful cool and hazy morning to go and visit friends in Torit, S Sudan.
With nervous anticipation I boarded the plane as we headed up past the lush green of Uganda, over Lake Albert and on to our first stop, Arua. Here we passed through immigration and flew on up to Sudan.

The land was now dry and sparse with evidence of many bush fires below.As we approached Torit, I looked down on the town that would be my home for the next few days. It was dry and dusty, just the occasional green tree amidst the thatched tukals.
I was pleased to see the familiar faces of Russ & Lyn waiting for us as the plane came to a stop. The door of the plane opened and the intense midday heat hit me – on most days it was around 45 degrees in the sun (36 in the shade).

Russ & Lyn have worked with the people of South Sudan for over 30 years. They have been based in Torit for five years and are working with the Africa Inland Churches on Adult Literacy.
It is their desire to see people who are illiterate, reading & writing in their mother tongue. Russ & Lyn prepare materials such as Bible stories and books on basic health & hygiene in the local languages. They then train teachers who will then teach a small group of learners in one of the local AIC churches. Mark & I used our skills to assist them for a few days and witnessed the challenges of ministry in a rural location, with no fridge, running water and just a couple of solar lights. I have returned very thankful for my electricity and water even if they go off at some point most days!

The trip for me was also a real eye opener into the lives of our MAF pilots. They are landing at five or six locations each day, loading a plane in hot conditions without ever really having a break. It is gruelling work. Our two and half hours on the plane would have taken two days by road (and not be possible at all during the wet season).
Lyn & Russ have also flown with MAF many times, particularly during the war years. She told me how she has always felt “very humbled and grateful that God would call men (and women) with such specialist skills to serve overseas and fly me into/out of these remote places”.
What a privilege to each be playing our small part in Gods bigger plan.

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