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.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

here to there

Traffic jams in Nairobi, Kenya where I am based have become infamous according to this BBC article. It's becoming increasingly hard to get from one side of Nairobi to the other side!

Sitting in traffic jams is frustrating but Adhanom (center) has had some very different experiences in South Sudan as he makes follow-up visits necessitating a river-walk to a waiting motorcycle taxi.  

I'm so excited that Mango Ministries has two new volunteers.  They have successfully mobilized their support teams and in late August they moved from the US to Africa. 

Joining Adhanom, as a Field Facilitator in South Sudan, is Whitney Smith who comes from Fort Payne, Alabama.

And joining me in Nairobi, to help with the heavy load of logistics and travel planning, is Tim Conaway.

I was able to attend Tim's comissioning service at Trinity United Methodist Church in Mullica Hill, NJ, hours before I flew back to Kenya at the end of my Homeland Ministry Assignment.

Part of Tim and Whitney's orientation was spending time as a team in Arua, Uganda with the Coppedges and Adhanom.  They all learned about Biblical Orality - teaching Bible stories.  

Tim even got to tell a Bible story on the radio.  

Since the Mango Ministry team is spread here, there, and everywhere (actually just Uganda, 
Kenya, and South Sudan) the chance to have facetime was a big treat.  

On the orientation tour our next stop was Aduel, South Sudan. . . .

. . . where Adhanom, Whitney, and Tim met with the pastors who are learning Biblical Storytelling.  
Our next training is October 9 - 11th.  Please pray for Billy Coppedge as he leads this training.  We're excited when we get feedback that pastors are learning Bible stories and telling them within their circles of influence.  To financially help WGM train pastors click here.  


Then we were off to Tonj where we spent time with some of the 
Pastors and CHE participants Mango Ministries is working with and where Whitney will be based.  

We enjoyed taking afternoon walks to learn more about the community.  
Here Dr. Denny, volunteering at the In Deed and Truth Clinic,
is fascinated by the peanut butter grinding machine.    

Whitney practiced speaking Dinka with the girl who served us kerekede (hibiscus tea) in Tonj.  

We've got some exciting activities ahead of us in the next few weeks and many will be traveling here, there and . . . . you get the picture. 

Kakuma church roof shingles and cross made from cooking oil tins donated by the US

We're taking a team led by Dr. Philip Renfroe to the Kakuma Refugee Camp in northern Kenya to hold a Samaritan Strategy Vision Conference.  Some of the participants will be from South Sudan and Sudan, among other African nations!  What an opportunity.  

Congregation in Kakuma Refugee Camp from the Nuba Mountains of Sudan

Please pray with us that the church leaders who attend this conference from October 21 - 24th will have their eyes opened to amazing things that God wants to do in their lives, in the refugee camp, and in their home countries throughout Africa. 

And speaking of eyes opened, one of the most heart-wrenching things I see is when a blind person has arrived at a cataract clinic on the last afternoon when the equipment is being packed away.  During our clinic in Tonj last year this child came leading 2 gentlemen, but they were too late.  Pray with us as the In Deed and Truth Clinic staff screen surgical candidates for sight giving surgery.  Pray for preparations including obtaining necessary documentation and transporting supplies and the team to Tonj.  

Would you like to give a financial gift to enable a South Sudanese to put their stick down?  
Will you give someone the opportunity to walk by faith and sight?
A gift of $150 will make that happen.  Any amount you can give will help us help South Sudanese to see.  Click here for online giving towards cataract surgeries.  

And last but not least we will be holding the 3rd week of Community Health Empowerment training October 27 - 31st.  We are looking for people to adopt a CHE group and pray for them.  We are expecting God to do amazing things in these people's lives and use them as change agents to facilitate transformation in their communities.  Will you join the transformation process and PRAY CHE.  Email me if you'd like to adopt a CHE group and I'll email you a group profile with names, pictures and other information.  

Thanks for reading all the way to the end of this long overdue blog post.  I'm excited to have so much to share.  Challenges abound, but grace abounds even more.  Thanks for sharing the journey!

PS ~ be sure to check out my Mango Ministry teammate's blogs.  Links are in the left hand column towards the top.