Trevor and Robin on the new garden siteAfter what seems like an age travelling England we are now back in Juba. Things have changed a bit even in six weeks. New buildings, noticeably more traffic, cleaner streets but also reports of youth crime on the increase. Sadly a young man offered to help an older pastor across a full flowing stream with his motor bike. As they got it up the farther bank the young man mounted it and rode off with it! This sort of thing was unheard of in the time of war. Peace and increasing prosperity has its downside!
On the peace question, things seem, on the one hand, to be more positive today with our President of Southern Sudan, Salva Kiir, reported as 'ruling out any return to war despite disagreement with the (Islamist) National Congress Party over the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.' Both sides had "tasted the bitterness" of war and there should be no return to it. On the other hand the problems surrounding the dispute over Abyei are mounting. We need your prayers.
As for prosperity, however, things are not so great. Many government workers have not been paid, and this is directly affecting the church too. For example, anticipated rent income of several thousand dollars for the college has not been forthcoming. This will severely affect our ability to pay staff in the future if things are not resolved. In another case a bank has gone down with a lot of money, some it belonging to the church.
On a brighter note the wet season in Juba has meant things are growing well. Robin Denney, the agriculturalist, has prepared a garden behind the guest houses here as a demonstration garden. We gave her £100 towards the labour to clear the land and build the fence against 'marauding goats' from the fund given us at our leaving do in Bridport. See the before and after pictures - and Robin above.
Our visit to England was well timed as we made the most of the good weather there. We slept in 12 different beds (mostly together)! Our travels took us through Cornwall to see parents, Bristol, London, Salisbury, Wiltshire and Dorset, concluding with Derbyshire and Yorkshire. Many thanks to all of you for looking after us so well and giving us a chance to talk about the Sudan. We have now about recovered!
The latest news here is that the Archbishop has at last moved and we are to take over his house and share it with Robin (pictured above). At the moment it needs a good clean and then we have to find some furniture from somewhere! The guest house manager is allowing us to take the same bed with us but we don't have anything else there at all at the moment. So we are going to have to find a few sticks. In the meantime we shall remain where we are. The new house is only a few yards away from where we are.
We shall update our prayer requests next week. In the meantime thank you all for your continued prayer. We would just ask those of you who know Bishop Peter Amidi to keep him especially in your prayers. He has been transferred to Nairobi with a heart problem.