We have arrived on 9th January 2011 and voting is taking place in the referendum on the future of southern Sudan. This is a great day, one that many people wondered whether would even happen only a few months ago.
The NCP (National Congress Party - President Al Bashir's party) has honoured the CPA (Comprehensive Peace Agreement) on this question, and the vote is happening six years to the day following its signing. The people of Juba are in festive mood. Things seem to be going their way after so very many years. The people here are quiet and peace-loving. They have had more than enough of war. Although there are still disputes over the border, and things to be worked out concerning the oil that is so very vital to the economy of both north and south, neither side, it seems, is prepared to fight another war over it - a war, of course, that could never be won outright. Everyone knows that compromises and agreements have to be made.
The people who will suffer the most are the southerners living in the north. Many have come south but others remain. We are very concerned for the church in the north. Although the country is going to divide, the province of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan will not. We need to pray for these people. The churches have been growing there for some years. They now face a very difficult time.
We had a good time in the UK over Christmas and the New Year. Staying in Bath we saw lots of our new family in Bristol. We were joined by our others from London and China. In Cornwall we had a quiet time with Trevor's parents now in their mid to late 80s.
The college recommences this week. Trevor will be teaching philosophy and Tina continues with her English. We have been granted money from a trust in Wales to move the library to the new site so that will be a major task that lies ahead of us.