Forging a New Connection in Education
 

Bishop Moses with the Principal of BBUCWau Diocese is working hard on developing the educational facilities that it manages within it's diocese. All education facilities benefit not just the Wau diocese area but all the locality and the cluster of dioceses in the whole Bahr el Ghazel area, a vast area. In the picture is the Principal of Bishop Barham University College (BBUC) and Bishop Moses at the College during his visit to the college. BBUC is a constituent college of the Uganda Christian University. BBUC is where the current Principal of St John's College, Rev Abraham Ngor, is studying Bishop Moses and all of Wau diocese wants to develop a partnership between St John's and BBUC.

The aim of the partnership is to build the capacity of St John's College to the same level as BBUC by training those who will become Tutors and Administrators of St John's at BBUC. The plans are as follows;

1) St John's College will send four students for Bachelors Degrees and one for Masters Degree at BBUC every year.

2) BBUC will send Tutors to St John's College for one Semester a every year.

3) The Diocese of Wau will look for partners to support those students studying at BBUC.

4) Bishop Moses requested the Bishop of Kigezi to give those who will be traveling to St John's a flat form in their Churches so that they can ask for transport while St John's will provide food, accommodation and small incentives to the Tutors during their time in Wau. 

These requests were made to BBUC and the Bishop of Kigezi Diocese, all there were very excited about the opportunity for Mission at St John's College and in Wau Diocese.

Instrumental in forging this link was the efforts of a German Missionary called Rev Matthias who came to Wau Diocese and spent some time there. Here is the story that he has from his visit:


 

The Church exists by mission as fire exists by burning, Without mission there is realy no Church.
Emil Brunner (1889-1966), The Word and the World, London: SCM Press, 1931, p.11

Our travelling to South Sudan was a real experience. On 7th September, our Student Rev. Abraham and I travelled to Kampala. There, we met Daniel Irankunda and Ceasar Alenya who joined us to teach at St. John's College theology for one semester. After 30 years of war, there is an urgent need in the country to train people - but qualified teachers are lacking.

So we went as a team with the night bus from Kampala to Juba. Before the journey started, Rev. Abraham investigated that I can get a visa at the border. However, as we reached there, the officers told us to go back to the South Sudanese Embassy in Kampala.

So, Rev. Abraham and I went back, as the rest of the team continued to Juba. As we reached the embassy, they just closed their doors and told us to come tomorrow. Unfortunately, Rev. Abraham lost his phone in the bus with all the contacts for the journey. So we set down in silence, dusty, tired and exhausted after two days in busses, no visa, no contacts, no open doors. Then we contacted Rev. Manuel Muranga. He offered us accommodation and his encouragement gave us new strength. On the following day we got the visa within 1.5 hours in a miraculous way and Rev. Abraham's phone was found.

On this evening, we went back to the bus for Juba - full of motivation ... until people told us in the bus that the airport in Juba is closed from Friday to Sunday because of urgent repair. We passed the border to South Sudan and contacted friends from Rev. Abraham in Juba to help us with flights. They found out, there is a last private plane going on Friday morning and we can still book two seats - if we hurry. So we went to book - but the people refused to give us any receipt or accountability for the money to pay... and that was really difficult for me, since we didn't know these people at all. As we were discussing, the owner of the plane came in and instructed the staff that the plane must fly now. Everyone who has paid should get his money back tomorrow and in case anyone is present - they can join the flight. Since we were discussing - we were the only passengers present. But there was a great hurry - no security check, not even time for paying at the airport... (We paid in the plane and got a receipt :-)... and 5 min later we were three people in a small plane moving through the clouds upwards. Two hours later we arrived in Wau. We really felt that God succeeded in bringing as safely to the destiny.

Wau is the second largest town in South Sudan with a good airport. Since the town is in the North West of the country, it is not directly affected by the conflicts in the east and the south. 

But after 30 years of war, the education system has not reached many parts of the country and most young men are left with two options. Either they look after cows or they join the army to get some salary. This situation prompts about 70 % of the young men to join either the army or rebel groups - and as long as there are no other alternatives - peace in South Sudan might remain a challenge.

There are a few shops and companies - but about 95% of them seem to be run by foreigners while the local people are starving.

As we visited villages, we saw many people with sicknesses but medicine is hardly available there. People request in these desperate situations often their ancestors for help. On the picture is a shrine and the two traditional priests of the village on the right side - however, we were not sure how convinced these priests are of their job done, since they requested us to build a nice church and a health centre in their village. 

The Diocese in Wau welcomed us very warmly and cared for us as good as possible... and we really felt Christ in our midst. 

The Diocese has a bold plan to register their College at the Ministry of Higher Education and to start with Diploma courses in Education, Theology, Business and other courses in January 2016. Since there are only about 4 operating Universities with about 10.000 Students in the whole country, a College will open young people a perspective for their lives to empower their communities.

Rev Matthias with his family and Bishop MosesOn the way back to Kabale, the Bishop of Wau travelled with me to meet the Bible translators in Juba. The Diocese has about the size of England in UK - but the Old Testament in not available in any of the vernacular languages - which denies people [and even priests from the villages] the access to grow in faith through reading the Old Testament. The meeting was very encouraging and we pray that the translation project of the OT gets organised, accepted and starts soon. 

We further went on to Bishop Barham University College. We had an encouraging meeting with the leaders of BBUC in which we were thinking of creating a partnership. This might help St. John's College in South Sudan in creating courses and identifying qualified teachers - for a better future of our neighbours in South Sudan.

On one photo, you see Daniel Irankunda, Rev. Abraham and Ceasar Alenya at a church in South Sudan. On the other photo, you see our family (the children have grown :-) together with Bishop Moses of Wau Diocese in Kabale.  

Prayer Items

  •   We thank God for his protection on the way and for opening doors for mission to South Sudan;
  •   We pray for registering St. John's College and for missionaries from Uganda who are willing to go and teach         Diploma courses, especially in Education, at St John's College; 
  •   We pray for the translation project of the OT in Dinka Rek;
  •   We pray for peace in South Sudan.

Yours in Christ,  Rev. Matthias