News from the Church Mission Society
It has been an amazing six months, first being accepted by CMS as a Mission Partner, then 3 months training with them in Oxford, an amazing education and time of encouragement. I want to thank everybody for your loving hospitality.
The news from Maridi and South Sudan is…peace is holding. This can only be a miracle and I believe an answer to our faithful prayers from our loving Father in heaven.
I will arrive in Maridi at the end of June. I want to say thank you for partnership with us in this mission Thank you for your prayers, your financial support and all your encouragement. We are working to transform lives in Jesus and really make a difference.
With love in our King and Saviour,
Your sister Lynn
The latest news from South Sudan is mixed. The new Transitional Government of National Unity is very slowly moving into action on a few fronts. But opposition members are complaining that international donors have not so far offered financial support to the country, because of the lack of progress in implementing the peace agreement. The economy is still in a dire state and security is not much better. The government has resolved to release all prisoners of war; but, despite the official peace, fighting continues among multiple militias who pay no heed either to President Kiir or Vice-President Machar.
We are asked to pray for:
- lasting peace in South Sudan.
- all refugees, that they may one day be able to go back to their homes in peace.
- the situation of food security so that people may have enough to eat.
- the many South Sudanese recovering from fighting and violence at this time.
Pray for Lynn regularly as she returns to old friends and faces new challenges; for her work encouraging the many members of the Mothers Union; for her improving ability to learn and use the local language; and as she puts her complete trust in Jesus her Lord that she will know that Jesus will use our prayers to support her.
Liza and I deeply appreciated our time with you all at All Saints’ in May, when we reported some of our activities during our time in Kenya, which you so kindly supported in prayer and finance.
But you can blame John de Wit for asking me to expand on some of our comments made during Holy Communion!
We share ‘The Peace” in that service, and for some of us, it’s not at all comfortable. Even the act of shaking hands and greeting someone, whether a stranger or an irksome fellow church member, can be something of a trial rather than a blessing! And God forbid that we move out of the safety of our seat! But “The Peace” is not only an expression of our union, it is also a crucial interplay that mirrors and reinforces the reality that peace-making involves us in movement – in moving out of our comfort zones.
Our job in Kenya included peace-building which is not the same as conflict resolution, although one flows often enough into the other. And the key approach is to strengthen Connectors and weaken Separators. Strengthening connections outside of family, clan, tribe region, or nation. Enabling people to find the humanity in others, to identify common ground, to break down the separators that maintain unjust enrichment, oppression and cruelty.
The story is told that one lady left a suicide note on a safety railing on the Golden Gate Bridge in California, stating that, “If just one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.” It’s 220’/67m from the Bridge to the sea, and sadly, she was not one of the very few who have survived the fall. Whether apocryphal or not the story illustrates that small actions can have major repercussions. Sometimes all it takes is to smile at someone. Sometimes all it takes is to walk across the room. Sometimes that first step leads to amazing positive outcomes. We all know the proverb ascribed to Lao Tzu, “ The Journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”
The Nazis called non-Aryans, “Untermenschen” – meaning subhuman. White supremacists argued for years that non-whites were inferior; ethnocentrism and tribalism dictates policy in many parts of the world, and we must not overlook the way many men perpetuate misogyny.
Yet we all have faces. We are all made in the image of God.
We all have two ears and one mouth, yet we speak far more than we listen.
I ask myself the following questions:
- Is it my fear and selfishness that gives me permission to ignore or mistreat other human beings?
- Is it my greed to make money, my ambition?
- Can I accept difference without loss of the other’s dignity?
- Is it my pride that demands their recognition of my high status, and thus their lower position?
- Where is the Peace in that?
- And how can we have peace in the big picture, at corporate and trans-national levels, if we do not even do Peace and be Peace within ourselves and with our neighbours?
Peace is a seed – and big Oak trees from little acorns grow.
And remember, He is our Peace – and we are His followers.