I Will Build a Sure House*
As a result of the generous support of the Albany Diocese and the Diocese of Down and Dromore, the first of twenty planned clergy houses has been built for Ebenezer parish, Mamenze. Ebenezer parish is in the western Archdeaconry of the Diocese of Maridi, about two and a half miles away from the Cathedral. The house is 8 meters (26 1/4 ft) by 4 meters (13 1/8 ft), has two rooms, and took two and a half weeks to complete. Pastor Tito John and his family, which includes his wife, his three sons, his two granddaughters and his grandson, will live in the house. The Diocese of Down and Dromore has given funds to build two more houses, and the Diocese of Albany has received another $3,000 which will be sent to the Diocese of Maridi and used to build another house there.
*1 Samuel 2:35
Pedals for Pastors
On the 2012 mission trip (see below), 7 bicycles were presented to the Diocese of Maridi, purchased from the generous donations of the Dioceses of Albany and Down and Dromore. Four of these bicycles were sent to the Kozi Archdeaconry, which is 50 to 75 miles north of Kozi. Three of the bicycles were given to pastors there, and one bicycle was given to the Mother’s Union office in Kozi. The remaining three bicycles were given to pastors in the Eddi Archdeaconry, which was visited during the 2012 mission trip (see below).
2012 Mission Trip
Bishop Bill, Kevin Steckline and Deacon Donna Steckline were in South Sudan from October 22nd – 31st, 2012, along with Bishop Harold Miller of the Diocese of Down and Dromore. This brought the Bishops from the three way partnership of Albany, Down and Dromore, and Maridi – Bishop Bill, Bishop Harold, and Bishop Justin, respectively – together in South Sudan for the first time. The relationship between these three dioceses has been likened to the “three-fold cord…not easily broken” from Ecclesiastes 4:12. The mission team, composed of members of the Albany Diocese and missionaries from the Church Mission Society – Ireland, focused on work with youth and worship as well as health and medical issues. The team included a dermatologist, a registered nurse, an ophthalmologist and a physicians assistant. The team was led by David Gough, Partnership Coordinator for Sudan, Egypt, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia for the Church Mission Society – Ireland.
The trip was a humbling one for the team as they were warmly and enthusiastically greeted by the people of Maridi wherever they went. They traveled “off-road” to visit some of the parishes in the Diocese of Maridi, gaining an appreciation for the challenges Bishop Justin faces when visiting the churches in his diocese. They visited schools, clinics, and hospitals as well. They were touched and saddened by the stories they heard of the atrocities committed against the people of the Diocese by the Lord’s Resistance Army. They were encouraged, strengthened, and humbled by the faith of the people of Maridi in the face of all the suffering and hardships they endure. They were overjoyed to participate in the Youth Conference with over 200 youth workers and to pariticpate in an evangelistic service by offering healing for those youth workers and any who came by, drawn by the music. Through it all, the team was aware of the comforting and empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, and was continually open to following the Spirit’s schedule, rather than their own.
2011 Mission Trip
In October of 2011, Kevin Steckline and Deacon Patti Johnson went to Maridi, South Sudan and presented workshops on water safety and disease education. Children and adults were given information on water safety and various kinds of bacteria (e.g. campylobacter and leptosporosis) and a group of women attended HIV/AIDS awareness, STD prevention, and pre-natal care workshops. Kevin also saw some of the local people in the clinic with Rev. Tito, the local Health Officer, while Patti worked in the pharmacy preparing injections and other medications, where they saw many patients suffering from malaria. There is a very high rate of malaria among children under 5 in Sudan, and while there are programs to provide mosquito nets to pregnant women and families with very young children, not every family has a mosquito net.
The Diocese of Albany has had an ongoing relationship with the Rt. Rev. Justin Badi Arama and his wife Joyce and the diocese of Maridi, South Sudan for over 10 years. Our mission work in the Sudan is in partnership with our companion Diocese of Down & Dromore and through the Church Mission Society – Ireland.
Pray that our efforts in Sudan will bring physical healing and health and show the love of Jesus to our brothers and sisters there.