Friday, December 14, 2012

Bringing 2012 to a close

I love Christmas!  I love the traditional activities that go into making this time of year feel like Christmas.

I also love the chance to quiet my heart and contemplate Jesus’ gift to me each year.  Even here in Kenya it's sometimes it's hard to filter out all the glitter of the season.

The Mango Ministry team has much to be grateful for in 2012.  Our team grew from 4 to 6 full-time missionaries.  One of the Mango Ministries team kids (Elsie Jane Coppedge, age 4) drew this portrait when our team was together in September.  

Top row: Joanna, Billy, Tim, Whitney, Elsie Jane, and Lucy
Bottom row:  CT, Chloe, Sophie, Joy, and Adhanom

We also sent 32 volunteers to South Sudan who facilitated activities and provided care taking us closer towards our goal of seeing communities, churches, and families transformed in their spiritual and physical lives.  A big Mango Thank You to all those who volunteered with Mango Ministries during 2012!

Dr. Dan Gradin, Dr. Ben and Jenny Roberts and kids and 
Tenwek Eye Team members arrive in Tonj in November for a cataract clinic.  

The youngest Mango Ministries visitor to South Sudan this year was Zoe Macleod (9 months) 
who sought some shade while her Mom and Dad were seeing patients at the clinic in Tonj. 

Transformation is sometimes hard to measure but here are a few glimpses of physical transformations as well as spiritual growth. 

I’ve also included several financial giving opportunities.  Any of these would make a perfect gift for that someone who has everything.  Or an End-of-Year financial gift is always welcome to help us start off 2013. 

Church Leader Empowerment
Eight South Sudanese pastors are being intentionally mentored to use Biblical Storytelling as well as train others.  Recently they helped teach a group of 70 pastors. 

Can you help get our WGM Storytelling Team from northern Uganda to South Sudan?  The road network within South Sudan is destroyed each year during the rainy season necessitating air travel.  

Typical road scene during the rainy season in South Sudan

Commercial flights do not go where we go so chartering a small 206 Cessna airplane is the best option.

6 seater Cessna 206 

One round trip flight costs approximately $2,000 or $3.33 per nautical mile.  How far can you take Billy Coppedge and the Storytelling Training team?  Click here to help fly the Storytelling Team to South Sudan. 

In 2013 we expect the leaders we are mentoring to tell at least 1,000 Bible Stories ~ pray that those who hear these stories will deepen their spiritual walk with the Lord!

Community Empowerment
Adhanom Hidug, originally from Eritrea (a small African nation in the Horn of Africa), has been with our team for 16 months and is a valuable team member.  

His responsibilities include training in Community Health Evangelism (CHE) and facilitating Biblical Storytelling. Most of his time is spent in a community in South Sudan where he models a transformed life.  He directly oversees 13 CHE trainers and their 6 communities. 

He’s always looking for an opportunity to tell people about Jesus.  When he rides motorcycle taxi's he sings to the drivers in their local Dinka language. That opens up opportunities for him to tell Bible stories.

Adhanom helps a CHE team present a song with a health message at a training session

Will you help support Adhanom financially and/or through prayer?   

In 2013 Mango Ministries is targeting 1,000 homes with messages integrating spiritual and physical health.  

Health Care Empowerment
WGM continued to have opportunities to send volunteers from America, Kenya, and New Zealand to South Sudan to provide care, mentor, and teach at several mission health care facilities. 

Surgery Team headed by Dr. Russ White at Memorial Christian Hospital in Werkok

In 2012 342 people were blessed to receive cataract surgery.  Some patients come from remote villages and had the opportunity to hear about Jesus for the very first time in their lives. 
Dr. Ben Roberts doing cataract surgery in Tonj

WGM has been blessed by a foundation that will help sponsor these trips in 2013 lowering WGM’s costs to $50 per person.  Will you help a blind man or woman see

I’m thankful for God’s many gifts to me this Christmas and for the opportunity I have to invest in His Kingdom in South Sudan.   Thank you for investing in the journey towards transformed communities in South Sudan!  We have a busy 2013 planned.  Please continue praying for the Mango Ministries team, our many volunteers, and that our activities and relationships we invest in will result in changed hearts and lives.  

Praying peace to you and yours,


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Refugees, seed projects, tea, sacrificial love, coffee, and turkey!

Kakuma Refugee Camp.  Home to over 100,000 men, women, and children who had to leave home.  Homeless because of war and persecution.   

WGM and Kenya's Africa Gospel Church teamed up to present a Samaritan Strategy Vision Conference.  Phil Renfroe writes, "Many of the participants expressed surprise and gratitude for what they learned about transformational community development.  They asked us when we would return to teach them more!  I marvel at the potential of what God can to do both in the Kakuma camp and in many nations across Africa when these refugee church leaders are given the opportunity to return to their home countries! "

Church leaders from seven different African nations attended the 4 day conference.  Attendees represented the nations of Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Kenya, Congo, and Rwanda.  Each group made a plan to implement a seed project - using what they have to meet a need in their immediate community.  Pray for each group as they implement their plan and as they see Kingdom math in play.  2 + 2 in God's economy equals much more than 4!

Community Health Evangelism training continued with the Akot and Tonj communities - 20 change-agents preparing for community transformation!

Sometimes class is outside - where it's easier to catch a breeze.

And sometimes it's inside.  Despite the heat these students did a great job of focusing on the lessons presented.  CHE is taught in a very interactive way which makes learning fun and memorable.

In one session CHE teams made presentations about the seed projects they accomplished since their training last July.  Pr. David's group from Aduel talked about showing the teachers at the primary school where he teaches about tippy taps.  By using a cooking oil container and some rope there is a way to easily wash your hands after using the toilet, before cooking or eating, or whenever your hands are dirty.  Pretty nifty, eh?!

And there's always time for a quick walk to Tonj town for a cup of kerkede (red hibiscus tea) at the end of the day! 

Whitney is making friends with the tea makers.  Pray she'll have opportunities to speak truth into these girls lives.  

Cataract Clinic ~ Tonj
218 surgeries performed in 4 days!
Teams from Tenwek Hospital, In Deed and Truth Clinic, and several visiting volunteers worked tirelessly throughout.

The story about this couple touched everyone's heart.  It was almost time to pack up on the last day and the team prayed for just one more patient.  In walked two.  This man could see with one eye and for four days he walked with his totally blind wife to Tonj, hearing there was help for blindness there.  They carried a stick (to fight off wild animals), a mosquito net, and a little bit of grain.  That's it.  They slept on the road.  Both were operated on as you can see from the post-op picture below.

They had never heard about Jesus before.  I can't even imagine - never, ever?  The local chaplains had opportunity to tell them about Jesus!  They listened with interest.  

When the bandages came off the following day the man could see in his previously blind eye.  His wife however could not see as she had a more complicated disease process going on.  What impressed the team is the way the husband lovingly cared for his wife.  Since she was totally blind she relied on him for everything. The Kenyan men on the team told me on their arrival back in Kenya, "He even helped her wash her face.  He really loved her!"  

As this couple walks back to their home where there are no Christians or Church pray with us that the seeds of the Gospel will take root in their hearts and minds.  And pray that a follower of Jesus will come to their village to share more.  The team was impressed by the sacrificial love of the husband as he meticulously cared for his wife.  Our desire is to see this couple, and many more like them, experience the overwhelming and sacrificial love of their heavenly Father.

Team Time
As I've mentioned before it's rare that our Mango Ministry team is in the same place but a few weeks ago we were and that's always a treat.  We visited Adhanom and his family as they had just been through a difficult time.  We were treated to good Eritrean food and a coffee ceremony.  

Here, Adhanom's sister-in-law, Martha, begins the ceremony by roasting the coffee beans over charcoal. Billy Coppedge and I can't wait and eagerly watch. 

After roasting, grinding, and boiling the coffee, the first round of coffee is poured.

Adhanom, Billy, and Tim enjoy their first of several cups of great Eritrean coffee! 

Thanksgiving Time

Teammates:  Whitney, Helen and Adhanom and their girls Shamna and Fasika, Terry and Karen Duncan, Tim, and Joy (and Robyn - taking the picture!)

People sometimes ask how holidays are celebrated in Africa.  Taking holiday traditions overseas is a fairly simple thing to do.  Since there is no Thanksgiving holiday in Kenya we celebrated last Saturday but with all the American fixings and family recipes.  We sang a rousing rendition of "We Gather Together" and gave thanks for God's goodness in our lives this past year.   I'm thankful for you!  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Kakuma ~ northern Kenya
Home to over 100,000 refugees from Africa 

As I sat in church this morning I began to reflect on the quote I included in my blog post yesterday describing what it is like in a refugee camp . . .  equating it with prison, exile, and a hostage situation.

That's exactly why Mango Ministries is at Kakuma Refugee camp right now.  It might feel like being in prison but we have hope!

"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasng glory which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."  2 Corinthians 3:17-18

Thanks for praying for the facilitation team and the men and women attending the Samaritan Strategy Vision Conference.  May each one there experience freedom like never before!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

One down, three to go

October and November are extremely busy months for Mango Ministries with 4 big events. 

Last week the Orality Training was held.  Here are a few testimonials from Pastors who are learning how to teach from the Bible using the strategy of Biblical Orality.  What do you think?  Are these men and women 'getting it?'

"When I shared the story from Genesis 3:1-13 to the pastors and mothers’ union a lot of debate started. They started to blame the woman, others the man, and some even blamed God for the problem. Many participated in the debate. From this I realized that our people are very wise to be able to ask those types of questions.  Storytelling is powerful. It can change people from bad to good. I like it!"

Adhanom tells the story of the widow's oil from 2 Kings 4 at the training in early October '12

"People are excited & happy to hear the stories from me. I had been preaching to them before, but they are not used to hear me teach them in such a way. They are amazed. Because I am using a new and different way of teaching the bible."

Group work during the Orality Training in East Rumbek County

"When I was evangelizing a woman whose husband had died and had a sick son she heard the storm story (Luke 8) and identified herself as living in a storm similar to the story. Then she called Jesus."

Mango Ministry's Billy Coppedge prepares with Pastor Joseph who will present a lesson

Thanks for praying for the Orality training that occured from October 9 - 11.  The Mango Ministry team joined with WGM Uganda and spent 3 days teaching Bible Stories and how to apply them to our lives.  Continue praying with us that God's Word will change lives.  To learn more about Biblical Story telling - or what it isn't - check out this article.  

          • Kakuma Refugee Camp, northern Kenya

Deng Jongkuch from Memorial Christian Hospital visiting Kakuma in 2011 where he spent his teen years

September statistics from the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) reports that Kakuma Refugee camp has surpassed it's original capacity of 100,000 and it currently houses 102,147 refugees.  Because of the conflict in Somalia, 48% of the residents are of Somalian origin.  Sudanese and South Sudanese comprise 37% of the residents.  We have invited 100 church leaders from many different nations in Africa to join us for a Samaritan Strategy Vision Conference (SSVC) that begins tomorrow afternoon, October 21st through Wednesday.  We're thrilled about this opportunity!

Mango Ministries and Africa Gospel Church Kenya are joining together to facilitate this conference in the hope that the lives of the men and women of Kakuma Refugee Camp will see God at work in their lives.  There is an added challenge in working with people who have been in situations where they have needed to depend on outsiders to provide 'relief,' such as food, clothing, & housing.  Although living in a refugee camp has a distinct set of challenges we believe God wants the residents to see that God wants His Kingdom to come to Kakuma Refugee Camp.  

WGM's Dr. Philip Renfroe and AGC's Rev. Walter Rutto - SSVC facilitators

Life in a refugee camp is not easy.  Here is how one source describes life in the camp.  
"The camp is a “small city” of thatched roof huts, tents, and mud abodes. Living inside the camp is equally prison and exile. Once admitted, refugees do not have freedom to move about the country but are required to obtain Movement Passes from the UNHCR and Kenyan Government. Inside this small city at the edge of the desert, children age into adulthood and hope fades to resignation. To be quite frank, it’s more or less a kind of hostage life for many refugees."

Will you trust God with us for the men and women of Kakuma Refugee Camp to gain a deeper understanding of God's plan for their lives and their communities and ultimately their nations?  

Here's a taste of one of the lessons entitled "The Transforming Story."  Main ideas of the lesson include:
  1. The Bible, when taken as a whole, presents a total view of reality and these truths have the power to transform individuals, communities and nations.
  2. The church is not telling the whole transforming story. The gospel of salvation is not God’s whole story. We must tell the whole breadth and depth of God’s story.
  3. The Great Commission is nothing less than the discipling of nations - bringing the depth and the breadth of the Bible to the whole person in all sectors of every society.
  4. “If the Church does not disciple the nation, the nation will disciple the Church.” If the Church is not intentionally bringing the entire biblical story to people and nations, then the prominent view of the culture (the culture’s worldview) will influence and shape the Church.
Please join us in praying for this transformational event!  Pray for each one who has been invited, that hearts and minds will be open to learning new ideas - that the stories, diagrams, and small group exercises will be instrumental in helping participants gain a Biblical Worldview.  Pray for the facilitation team to be healthy and focused and wise in facilitating discussion, and for smooth flowing of  the logistics - Tim is with the team and doing a great job.  Check back for a report of how the conference went.  

More upcoming events:  
  • Community Health Evanglism training in Tonj October 27th through November 1st.  
  • Cataract Clinic in Tonj November 2nd - 6th - support sight giving surgery
The Mango Ministry team appreciates your interest, prayers, and financial support that allows us to walk alongside our South Sudanese brothers and sisters and share the truths and gifts that have transformed our lives.