Saturday, December 18, 2010


8 Shirley at Lanyi Parish

Our mission group has returned from Lui with a great sense of wonder and gratitude for the marvelous work that the church leaders and members are doing there.  Our group included people with skills and experience in ministry, education, healthcare, building, economics and administration.  We spent 9 days in Lui; the remainder of our two weeks taken up with travel.  We were able to accomplish most of the training that our hosts had asked us to conduct, and in the process we learned a great deal about the challenges faced by church and society in Southern Sudan. We also learned a great deal about steadfast faith, great joy and commitment to community and the future.  The future for Southern Sudan is perilous, with a referendum due on 9 January that will almost certainly result in the division of Sudan into two nations, and a serious possibility that civil war will break out again.  The church in Lui is planning how it will try to cope with housing, education and welfare for an influx of refugees from the North.  At the same time it is working on developments in ministry, education, health and agriculture for the community as a whole.  Our life is so easy compared to theirs! What can we do to help?

Here are some photographs from our visit.

Anne Powell

1 The Mission Team – Rev Emily Bloemker (Missouri), Rev Göran Rossman (Lund), Jeannie Stevens (Blackmore Vale), Rev Marie Körner (Lund) Debra Morris Smith (Missouri), Rick Kuhn (Missouri), Rev Shirley Smith (Blackmore Vale), Anne Powell (Blackmore Vale)

2 Jeannie and Emily discussing with Mothers Union Leaders

3 Children at Lunjini School

4 Jeannie was invited to stay and train teachers


5 Shirley and Anne with participants at the Pastors’ Conference

6 The Ministry Team of Doroh Parish

7 Sunday worship at Doroh Parish Church

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hello. I  am sorry that you haven't had any news from us in Lui.  The new Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) satellite terminal and internet that was installed recently with five computers has been playing up, so it was impossible to get on the internet more than once or twice for a few minutes, and most of the computers were not working at all. The company that installed them needs to come back and sort it out.

We left Lui at 9 this morning and arrived at MAF about 2 hours ago.  Sheila of MAF made us cheese sandwiches for lunch - our first dairy products since leaving here.  The Americans fly home later tonight, whilst the British and Swedes in our group are going on a sightseeing trip to the Source of the Nile tomorrow, returning via MAF to shower and change, then to the airport.

We have done our work in Lui - conferences (what we would call workshops) for Sunday School teachers and Youth Leaders last Friday and Saturday, then for Pastors and Mothers Union on Monday and Tuesday.  I did some computer training but not as much as I wanted due to the computer problems.  Meanwhile Jeannie visited Lunjiini School, Shirley visited the hospital and they both went to the Mothers' Union Sewing Room and Shop.

Bishop Bullen has been ill and had to have an operation whilst we were there.  We were able to visit him in hospital on our final day and found him very frail.  He sends his warm greetings to everyone in Blackmore Vale.  We also had tea with his wife and family at his compound, though he was not present.

The news in Sudan is not good. The referendum will be on 9 January.  There are 800,000 Southern Sudanese living in the north, plus the Christian populations who are actually northerners. The Northern government has already said that if the South secedes they will remove citizenship from Southerners in the North, confiscate their property and sack them from their jobs.  Yesterday the Northern government announced that they will stop all flights from Khartoum to the South from 1 December.  This means Southerners won't be able to escape the North by air.  Some in Lui are saying those people should have moved South already,  but of course when they do they will have no homes, no jobs, nothing.  Lui Diocese is preparing some plans to house what they call IDPs (Internally Displaced People) and may ask 'partners' such as us for funds to help if it happens.  The Headteacher of Lunjini School is talking of dividing the half-built chapel that a Missouri lady is funding in memory of her husband into four classrooms with temporary partitions, to provide education for those arriving children.  The Southern Sudanes are expecting war and are saying that if it happens they are going 'to take it to the North' rather than letting it all be fought on Southern territory as last time.

So it was sadness and some tears that we left them to face all this trouble in the time before any of us may be able to visit them again.

The good news is that the internet will get sorted out and more of the people we met have email, so we can have some contact with them even when we can't to to Lui.

Looking forward to seeing you all soon.   Regards. Anne

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hello from Lui

First of all many apologies that we have not been able to give you updates of what has been happening here. The internet/ computers have been giving some problems so that has interfered with Anne's computer training but she is working very hard to catch up with it. This morning we visited the Bishop who looked very poorly but sends his love to everyone and thanked us for coming.

I have been to the hospital and to the midwifery section and the labour ward!. We also had a good time with the Italian surgeon here Dr Fabio and his wife. There are no trained nurses.

 We are looking forward to coming home and sharing with you all we have seen and done.We will also have a few thoughts and recommendations. I hope we have been able to be of some help. We led a conference where our aim was to help Pastors encourage their churches to be self supporting.

It has been a good group and we have helped one another. The three of us have stayed well so far but two of our American Colleagues have been ill and I have done my best to care for them. They are recovering now Thank goodness.

Tomorrow we fly back to Kampala for debriefing and to say goodbye to Debbie and Rick and Emily our American friends. Then we fly back into Heathrow on Sunday morning.

Thank you for your prayers and love to you all.
Shirley, on behalf of Anne and Jeannie

Monday, November 8, 2010

We are online

hello Everyone,
At last we are on line! Problems with computers here. We are all well and working very hard in intense heat.Last Friday and Saturday we led workshops for Sunday School teachers and Youth Leaders. The Sunday School work was very interactive which our Sudanese friends are not used to. It was fun as we all got stuck into actions songs, and creating pictures using only materials that we found on the ground locally! The workshop for Youth Leaders ended up with us doing HIV and AIDS education.
On Sunday we each went to different parishes.  Anne went to Lui Cathedral, Jeannie to Doro Village and Shirley to Laniyi.  The van, which was taking both Shirley and Jeannie with their interpreters broke down on the way, but they survived, and a pastor walked several miles in the late morning heat to fetch water for them to drink whilst the driver fixed the vehicle.  The worship here is lively and lovely and people are so welcoming.
It is amazing what they do with so little.  We visited the hospital which was upsetting to see so many needs. 
Today we have been leading workshops for Mothers Union and for Pastors.  We asked how the Pastors from a number of villages had travelled to the conference.  Most had walked and in some cases amazing distances.  One pastor walked 39 miles the previous day to get to us. One of the major problems is transportation around the diocese.  The whole situation here puts our context into perspective!  We are very blessed and should do all we can to help and encourage them.
Prayer happens all the time and the Bible is very important to them.
Bishop Bullen has been unwell.  He has had an operation and we are told he looks very frail. We hope to visit him before we leave.
Please continue to pray for peace. The political situation for Sudan doesn't look optimistic and it's very worrying to think what the future for these lovely people could be.
With our love
Shirley, Jeannie and Anne

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hello to all in Lui

I don't know if this will reach you - blogging is new to me but we wonder ho it is all going? How have th conferences been and what has been achieved so far?

Any news will be put on the Benefice website

Saturday, November 6, 2010

All best laid plans etc

We at the Blackmore Vale Deanery have set this blog up so as to receive news from those out in Sudan.
Unfortunatly the satelite link is down and we are not getting any information through.  However we do know that all are well.

More information when availabe.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Preparations for the second trip to Lui 2nd-14th November 2010.

I write this as Anne Powell, Jeannie Stevens and myself Shirley Smith make final preparations for the Blackmore Vale Deanery visit to Lui in the Sudan. Firstly I want to say a huge thank you for all your support financially and also by your prayers and good wishes. I asked Anne and Warren to go last year on our behalf but they were going into the unknown. How helpful it is to have Anne with us to give us her experience from last year’s visit. I am so thankful too for the work that Warren Ingham Barrow has done in the background in terms of buying our air tickets and the general administration of our journey.
We leave Heathrow at approximately 10.45am on Tuesday 2nd November arriving in Entebbe, Kampala at 22.10. We then meet up with our American colleagues from Missouri and two Swedish Missioners. We will stay there for two days in the MAF
 (Mission Aviation Fellowship) guest house while we prepare to travel on to Lui.

During our stay in Lui we will be facilitating four conferences.
a)     Youth Conference.
We will try to explore together How Young people can help develop the local church?

b)     Sunday School Teachers Conference.
How can we be effective teachers? How to teach children of different ages.

c)     Pastor’s Conference.
How can a local church be self supporting and the role of the Pastor in this process. We will be looking at the gifts of the Spirit, the time people can offer and the money they might be able to give together with transparency of accounting of finances.

d)     Mother’s Union Conference.
We will be focusing on the role of women in the development of the family and of the local church. How can women improve the economy of the family and the local church?
 I feel very confident and privileged with my travelling companions Anne and Jeannie and also with the leader of the whole Mission, Debbie Morris Smith who many of you will have met at Deanery Synod when she was over here last year.

I do have responsibility for the Group’s health and there is no doctor at the moment in Lui hospital so I ask for your prayers for the Health of all the Missioners, for our meetings with the people of Lui. For Bishop Bullen Dolli who is ill at the present time and for God’s purposes and glory in all we do.
As and when we can we will update you on life in Lui so please keep an eye on the websites of your Parishes/Benefices. Thank you for sending us.

With Every Blessing
Shirley Smith