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Monday, January 27, 2014

Memories of the way we were ~ 2013

It seems bizarre to think that 2013 is over.  Done with.  It's a thing of the past.  It's a memory.  Mostly good memories.  Hopefully the activities that Mango Ministries has been involved in are not 'things of the past.' Our prayer is that our interactions we've been blessed to have with thousands of men, women, and children have given a hope that is alive and carried forward into this new year of 2014. 

Mango Ministries in review - 2013

fighting seems to be a way of life

If you've been following the news over the past six weeks you will know that South Sudan has been embroiled in a conflict between the Government armed forces and rebel forces.  What started out as a political row turned into an ethnic conflict.  Over 1/2 million people have left their homes to seek safety and approximately 10,000 people have been killed.

many civilians are armed

Friday, January 24th a Ceasefire Agreement was signed.  . . . . and it's my prayer that the journey to peace, healing, and a stable government will ensue.  The hard work is ahead, say many.

Watching and praying have been our focus this past month. WGM's personnel are out of South Sudan although the conflict hasn't reached the areas where we are currently working.  I am in the US on my regularly scheduled Homeland Ministry Assignment and will be sharing about my ministry over the next few months.  I'd love to hear from you.  

This week I have poured through hundreds of pictures taken by our volunteers and missionaries over the past year.  Hopefully the pictures below, and a little narrative, will help paint a picture of how God is using Mango Ministries to help Build His Kingdom.  

1.  Community Empowerment

I'm thankful for the opportunity we've had to train over 85 men and women this past year in what is called Community Health Empowerment or Evangelism.  These participants are adopting life changing principles and are in the process of teaching others in their communities.       We held one Vision Conference and 5 individual weeks of Community Empowerment Training.   

This is our newest CHE class.  We're blessed to have a multi-cultural team of trainers hailing from Eritrea, the US, Germany, and American missionary kids who were raised in Kenya and Oman!  We're also seeing several promising South Sudanese participants develop their training skills!


 CHE training is hardly boring.
It's quite hands on.  Tiana Duncan helps participants make a tippy tap using recycled plastic containers.

Tippy taps are used for hand washing and conserve precious water supplies.

We believe the best learning is learning from each other so group work is encouraged.

Participants get to know one another with games.

Everyone gets their say in identifying community issues.  One rock - one vote. 

This group identified insecurity as their number one problem, garnering 17 votes.  The next most common concern was a tie between lack of roads and lack of a clinic coming in with 8 votes each.

Sometimes it's just easier to draw what you're talking about in the sand.

And participants draw maps of their community that help them identify healthy and unhealthy aspects of their village.

Beans and rice is a common meal in South Sudan and everyone looks forward to lunch break.

After four weeks of training each CHE participant gets an ID badge and certificate as they head out into their communities prepared to teach about creating a healthy home, physically and spiritually as well.

This "Farming God's Way" demonstration garden highlights the increased crop yields of a peanut crop when no-till methods are used (on left) compared with traditional farming practices (on right)(I hope it wasn't necessary for me to point that out but just in case you were confused I wanted it to be clear - FGW doubles the yield from traditional farming methods!)

After training one participant went home and planted a FGW garden of peanuts.  Margit and Tiana, two of our CHE facilitators, were invited to his home to celebrate on harvest day.  As they say,  "Seeing is believing!"

The rainy season in 2013 was especially severe.  Flooding prevented our CHE facilitators from visiting homes as well as preventing many who were blind from reaching our Cataract Clinic :(

2.  Medical Empowerment

Providing clinical staff to Medical Ministries
WGM provided the In Deed and Truth Clinic in Tonj with several medical staff.
One of the benefits of working in a mission clinic is that spiritual ministry is combined with physical healing.  The clinic team enjoy the opportunity to pray with patients and their families.

Our medical volunteers served a combined timeframe of a year treating literally thousands of patients.

Cataract Clinics
Finding blind patients in South Sudan is like …. . looking for shells on the beach!  With very few eye specialists in the country to treat cataracts blindness is very common.  Dr. Ben poses with a prime cataract patient (note the patients opaque right eye!).

The Tenwek Eye Team set up their mobile clinic in Aweil. Pictured above is the make-shift scrub sink. Hey, it works!

 Operating in both Aweil and Tonj the team surpassed their goal and gave sight to 527 people in 2013!

Patients praised God for opening their eyes and giving new life. 


Surgery Clinics
Missionary surgeons from Tenwek Hospital take Kenyan surgical residents to South Sudan to hold surgical clinics with partnering ministries.

There are frequent McGuyver moments when ingenuity is put to the test.  Here Drs. Todd and Damaris use their personal head lamps when OR lights aren't working.

Dr. Carol enjoys a light moment with a patient.  

One of the most immediately transforming surgeries is when a cleft lip is repaired.  

During five weeks of clinics our teams were able to bring hope and healing to over 100 patients who wouldn't otherwise have had access to surgical care.

3.  Church Empowerment

The Coppedge family traveled to Tonj last March from their home in Uganda to continue training South Sudanese pastors how to use Biblical Storytelling to enrich their own spiritual lives as well as giving them a tool to share the Bible with others.

Many pastors who have been taught are now using Biblical Storytelling with their congregations.

Some pastors can read as the picture above shows.  But because of a lack of Bibles in their heart language and a high rate of illiteracy among the general population pastors are able to use oral methods to teach people the Bible.  The Bible actually comes alive.  Very exciting.


In South Sudan World Gospel Mission has been partnering with other ministries.  This past year we partnered with the In Deed and Truth Ministry in Tonj, Partners in Compassionate Care / Memorial Christian Hospital in Werkok, the Episcopal Church of Sudan - Diocese of Akot, International Aid Services in Nyinbule, and with the Government Hospitals in Aweil and Tonj.  We also utilize the services of Mission Aviation Fellowship and Africa Inland Missions's aviation ministries.

I am deeply grateful for so many of you who have partnered with Mango Ministries.
I thank
. . . . those who invite us to minister alongside them in South Sudan and for your commitment to serve through thick and thin.
. . . .  our missionaries and volunteers who share your time and talents - there are many easier places to serve.
. . . . those who help our missionaries and volunteers traverse a country not yet endowed with good road networks.
. . . . those who help support our ministries through financial gifts - we can't do this without your help.
. . . . those who pray for logistics, for safety, for light bulb moments during trainings, and for clinics that offer health and hope, for hearts to be challenged and lives changed - we rely on those prayers.

Doing missions in South Sudan is costly in every way, shape, and form.

Building His Kingdom in South Sudan ~ priceless!






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