After the pandemic, refuse to be unchanged
Eventually this pandemic will end. We’ll mourn our losses and…
Blogging live from Juba, Sudan
Actually, it seems like that dateline should be “Juba, South Sudan.” In July, this war-torn land officially becomes its own nation.
That date just seems like a formality around here. There’s a banner at the Juba International Airport welcoming travelers to the world’s 193rd country. (I would have taken a picture of it, but I’ve done this job long enough to know not to take photos at an African airport.)
Incidentally, picture a strip mall with three stores to get an idea of the size of the Juba airport.
But what this city lacks in airport terminals and paved roads, it makes up for in enthusiasm. Government of South Sudan offices are everywhere, flying the soon-to-be country’s new flag. The streets are filled with four-wheel-drive vehicles bearing the logos of the United Nations, UNICEF and various non-governmental organizations.
During Sudan’s long civil war between the predominantly Muslim north and Christian and animist south, thousands of Sudanese fled to refugee camps in neighboring countries — Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya. African evangelists established Churches of Christ in the camps, and now their converts are coming home.
This morning I had the pleasure of meeting Isaac Adotey, a missionary working among the returning refugees. Isaac grew up near Accra, Ghana, and is a graduate of Ghana Bible College. He did mission work in the northern Ghanaian city of Yendi and also ministered to a group of refugee’s near Sudan’s Darfur region a few years ago. Now he lives in Juba, with support from a Church of Christ in Arkansas. The Nsawam Road Church of Christ in Accra oversees his work.
Finding a Ghanaian in Sudan hardly was a surprise. Believers from the West African nation travel around the world planting churches. (See reports on Ghanaian Churches of Christ in Europe and the United States in our ongoing “Global South” series.) Isaac worships with a group of about 10 church members here. His wife, Janet, is trying to learn enough Arabic to compose some hymns for the group to sing.
“My motivation is not money — it is the love of Christ,” Isaac told me.
South Sudan is less developed than parts of Ghana, and poses some health risks, he said.
“But some people have to take the risk,” he added. “It’s good we are here.”
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