Dear Prayer Partners
A communication from Juba is overdue. I have been enjoying myself so much I have not got round to updating you for your prayers!
In BGC things are progressing well. Most of the students have now returned and are pleased with their new dormitories that have been built on the site of the former workshop to replace the dormitory on the far east of the site which has been taken over by the development of a huge multi-storey hotel! (Next month when I have the software, I shall draw a site plan as you will no doubt be confused.) In exchange for the building we have lost, the developers of the hotel are going to build us a building of the same dimensions (only this will be two storeys) on the west side of the site, as well as pay us ground rent. The students report that their new dorms are more comfortable.
All the courses have now been covered by qualified teachers who are teaching their specialisms. We have part-time members of staff who have at least an MA in theology from East Africa, America and Europe. One man has a doctorate, another is studying for one in LSE and a third has an M Phil from Trinity College, Dublin. Our standards are increasing, and all members of the teaching staff, with the exception of myself and Daniela Rapisarda as guest lecturers this semester, are South Sudanese.
Joseph Taban is emailing us from Nairobi. He reports that he is feeling better. Following the operation he has regained his mobility and his speech and is now in the midst of radiotherapy treatment. Progress is as good as we can hope for at this stage, so we are encouraged. Tina and I plan to fly to Nairobi to see Joseph Taban on our way back to England in the middle of next week.
Samuel Galuak has taken over as acting principal and he is doing an excellent job. He has given up his government post and has committed himself wholly to the work here. This has been a huge sacrifice for him as the government job was much better paid, but his heart is in doing something really significant for God and this country – and at BGC we are making a big impact for the future (and even the present) for the work of the Church in this land.
Joseph Taban had kept a careful hand on the college use of resources, but, as always, we cannot work with a large cushion. If we wanted to take advantage of the building opportunities, then a minimum amount of building work had to be taken on. All would have been well, but Joseph did not (and could not, of course) budget for the cost implications of his illness. As well as contributing to his treatment costs, the staffing costs have risen and it was necessary to buy a small second-hand car for the acting principal to help him fulfil his job. This has left us with a short-term cash-flow problem. We will not be out of pocket at the end of the year, but we may find it hard to meet the expenses of May to August before the new term's finances arrive in September, and we going to make some applications for help in this. We are much indebted to you for your prayers.
PS. The computer with all the up-to-date contact information in it for the Prayer Partners remains in the UK. Please forgive me for inaccuracies in your addresses, and please pass this on to other people whom I might have missed. I shall be re-united with my regular computer in March. If you have any suggestions of people who might like to become a partner of BGC, please don't hesitate to pass on their email addresses. Thank you for your prayers and your patience. T.
We give thanks for the tremendous opportunity to take in new land and expand the college. We thank God that we have discovered some good foundations on which to build new dormitories and a student common room to improve on the original accommodation. We rejoice in the promise of a new two-storey building to be finished by the beginning of the new semester to be used for teaching and a new library.
We pray that we can make proper use of this opportunity. We pray for the students studying on a building site with all the noise and dust, and we thank God for their enormous patience.
We pray for all our members of staff. We thank God that we have been able to attract so many well qualified South Sudanese teachers.
Please pray for Joseph Taban and his family as his recovery continues. Pray for his doctors. Pray for his long-term prospects.
We give thanks for Samuel Galuak and pray for him as he establishes himself in the college. We rejoice in his commitment and his impressive ability to lead the college forward in the way that was begun in 2009, and continued under Joseph.
We give thanks for all those who support this college both within and outside South Sudan. We pray that the funds necessary to help us through the short-term cash-flow problem will be found.
The news from Sudan in the north and the border areas continues to be bad. The war in the Nuba Mountains has seen the SPLM-N rebels in control of the countryside with the SAF occupying the towns. Civilians continue to be bombed. No humanitarian aid is allowed in. Please pray for South Kordofan and the Blue Nile Provinces.
There has been a build up of forces along the border in Western Bahr el-Gazahl. This is a potential flash point between Sudan and South Sudan. Pray that these troops remain firmly on their own sides of the border.
The situation in Jonglei State is not good with local rebels armed by the Sudan fighting the SPLA. This is all overlaid with centuries old inter-tribal conflict. Pray for the safety of ordinary people caught up these conflicts - the women, children and old people.
Pray for our students who come from these areas and their families back home.
The Church of all denominations is the best hope we have for peace. Please pray for the ECS, especially our Archbishop as he travels around interceding, encouraging, listening and getting himself involved in some the most desperately dangerous parts of the country.
Please pray for the Bishops of the ECS in the each of the 31 dioceses including north of the border. Pray for the Sudan Council of Churches.
We give thanks that we have students for many corners of this land and we pray for them and the families that they have left behind.