While in South Sudan last year, I (Bear) attended one of only 2 Jum Jum churches. Traditionally the Jum Jum live in small villages about 50 miles North of Doro. SIM started reaching these people in the 1950s but was forced to leave due to insecurity at that time. Up until now, the Jum Jum have remained largely unreached. However, due to the bombing and fighting in that area they fled in 2011. Now they live just down the road from our Doro base!
The number of believers is small, between 200 and 300. But we rejoice as one of our colleagues recently attended a baptism of 20 new believers!
The preacher of the day was an elder in the community and one of the very first believers. There is no Bible in the Jum Jum language. Therefore, he reads from his English Bible, then translates and expounds on the word in the Jum Jum language. Our team partners with other literacy experts who start Bible translation into the Jum Jum language this month.
Pray with us for the efforts of our teammate, the translation process and the growth of these 2 small churches.
While many workers have partnered with them, for the past six years, one SIM Ethiopian couple has remained constant, pouring into people in Doro through evangelistic efforts. They have shared Jesus and discipled new believers, yet with the influx of refugees the needs and challenges have grown immensely. They continue to lead Bible studies with groups in the refugee camp and show evangelistic films, like the Jesus Film. However, more workers are needed.
Showing the Jesus Film
Earlier this year SIM organized an Ethiopian team scheduling them to come for six weeks. On November 12 they arrived in Doro! The team leader, Sebsibe, came early to finalize plans and meet the Sudanese translators. As he approached Pastor Abraham, the leader in charge of the Uduk refugee churches, warm greetings broke out between the two. Thirteen years earlier, Sebsibe was Pastor Abraham’s mentor in the faith at a refugee camp in Ethiopia! Both were overjoyed to meet again and to work together among many desperate for the Truth.
The Lord is doing a mighty work. Even now, some have already committed their lives to Christ. We look forward to hearing more from our teammates in the coming weeks as they recount salvation stories and witness the Lord working and moving in many hearts at this time. We are also lifting the team in prayer as this is a spiritual battle. Prayer is powerful, effective support that we can lend from afar. Join with us!
Education opens doors, widens a person’s world view, gives the opportunity for a better life, and most importantly unlocks Scripture. Education is also one of the largest needs in South Sudan. The literacy rate in South Sudan is 27% and women’s literacy is only 16% (CIA Factbook). Only one in four South Sudanese over the age of 15 can read and write and only one in six women can read and write. While there are a few primary schools in the area, there isn’t a high school in Mabaan County. Nevertheless the need is huge, especially with the recent influx of refugees.
Singing lessons from an SIM missionary.
Last year, SIM closed the only high school in the Yabus area (now part of Sudan) because of insecurity. This school is reopening in Doro. Many former Yabus students are among the incoming refugees. These students easily obtained jobs for Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) in the area, reinforcing the value of education. They have seen firsthand the opportunities that education can afford.
Students help rebuild their school.
An SIM couple from India serves as project manager for the school. Their team includes a builder and head teacher from Kenya as well as teachers from Australia and India. Recently authorities finalized the necessary paperwork registering the school with the South Sudanese government. The first stage of construction should be finished in the next couple months. The students are excited to continue their studies when the school reopens in February 2013. SIM is excited to play a part in training and educating future leaders of this country.
How did Jesus make disciples? He taught the twelve while He ate with them, worshipped with them. Walked, talked, and lived with them.
The purpose of the Gospel is to transform lives, to be personal rather than institutional. Discipleship is the key; training people of the church, formally and informally, to have a deep, meaningful, life-changing relationship with God.
- Mabaan Village Women ©Briggs
Our co-worker is doing just that among women of the church in South Sudan. As the Lord opens doors she walks through them, gradually learning more about culture, language, and relationships. As she puts it, “Jesus needs to ‘get into their lives,’ not in a dress-up-go-to-church sort of way but in a moment by moment basis.”
So after three years of language learning and cultural immersion, she is starting to see small seeds of change. One woman asked if they could read their Bibles together. Another wants to learn how to pray. As she invests in relationship building through literacy, she is making inroads toward discipleship opportunities!
Ready to travel
The Community Health Project brings medical relief to outlying villages where health facilities are not readily available. Missionaries run health clinics teaching about disease prevention and proper hygiene, focusing primarily on preventative care for children under 5 years old. Malnutrition, malaria, dehydration from diarrhea and pneumonia are all major causes of death in young children and are all preventable diseases.
The volunteers travel by bicycle, or by foot and sometimes by boat to remote areas bringing medical help and spiritual hope.
A rural village clinic
Work among villagers with leprosy started 2 years ago. Leprosy is curable but the disabilities can only be reversed if treatment begins in time. Those already suffering from permanent effects need to be taught how to care for themselves. Because of the stigma attached to this disease, much love and mercy are needed.
CHO workers weighing a baby
A branch focusing on Tuberculosis treatment is coming soon. Samaritan’s Purse (SP) just started a program in the area and SIM will partner with them in the work. SP will take charge of diagnosis and leave the follow-up care to SIM. This tackles a huge need in the community and especially in the refugee camps as tuberculosis is a major problem.
Other critical areas addressed by the project are:
- Clean water needs
- Sanitation education
- Nutritional screening
- Mosquito net distribution
At the Nutrition Village SIM and Sudanese staff treat moderate to severely malnourished children, most of who begin as patients at the nearby SIM clinic and are referred for extra help. Most are malnourished due to illness, not lack of food, although a few are deficient in protein because of high carb diets. The two most common illnesses are malaria, which curbs appetite, and diarrhea, which causes loss of nutrients. Only the most severe cases are admitted for inpatient treatment and the numbers are limited to 10-14 children at a time, whereas in outpatient care there are upwards of 60. In the last 4 years Nutrition Village ministry has saved the lives of 1200 toddlers who were staring death in the face.
Nyajima sipping on her Plumpy Nut
Plumpy Nut is a staple at the Village and is given to all children, whether during inpatient care or to take home. This 500 calorie concoction is a peanut base with milk powder, oil, sugar, vitamins and iron, giving kids additional nutrition and much needed protein once physically able to ingest it. A blend of corn and soy flour with sugar and oil is given to malnourished pregnant or nursing mothers, ensuring their babies get enough nutrients and milk.
Staff members educate mothers on essential health issues. Lessons include important topics such as:
- Getting medical help early on
- Overall cleanliness to keep germs from spreading
- Breast feeding until age 2 boosting immune systems against disease
- Small, frequent meals rather than big meals common to Sudanese culture
- Good nutrition and eating a balanced diet, although it is more expensive to buy meat or beans