Kenyan Bishop in Texas recounts time in South Sudan
December 24, 2013 found me in the lowest state and I was crying with the Psalmist: “Oh my soul why are you down cast?” I was constantly listening and reading news about the newest nation of Southern Sudan. Looking at 2009 diary, I learned that on December 24, 2009 I was in Duk, Jonglei State which is having crises. I remembered how in 2008 God revealed to me in a dream the challenges which we have to face. The dream was also predicting the current crises.
In the dream I saw myself with one of our Anglo Bishop following the local tour guide. My fellow bishop became so sick and I had to walk him by holding his hand while our guide, who was very tall, walked faster without looking behind. As we were climbing the hill, the guide disappeared to the other side.
As we were walking with the bishop who was so spirited, but with physical weakness, the road forked.
We did not know which path to take. When we were in Bor, I saw the landscape which I have seen in the dream. Our 16 days in Southern Sudan was characterized by exaltation and humiliation, opportunities and crises. Our Schedule included visiting with the then Vice President, Salva Kirr, the governor of Jonglei state, Archbishop John and two other bishops. We were also to have an open air preaching, Consecration of St. Paul’s cathedral and a clergy conference.
We flew from Nairobi to Juba on December19 on a Jetlink jambo jet. On the 20th we ministered in the church in Juba. We went without breakfast, hoping that we would have breakfast in the Church. The service was so spirited and went on from 11 am to 4pm. After the ministry of the word, women brought water in a basin, pulled our shoes and socks and washed our feet and our hands. It was a challenge for them to put back the socks on wet feet but they did it lovingly .We felt greatly honored
At 5.00pm hungry and exhausted, we were led to a restaurant for breakfast. We were accompanied by seven men. Each of them placed an order. But little did we know that we had to pay for everybody.
On the 23rd we chattered a plane from Juba to Duk. While this sounds great, we had not budgeted to rent an aircraft. However we had a joy of having the Archbishop, his family and the diocesan staff. Landing at Duke, we were given a hero’s welcome. We were led by a convention musical band. We felt loved and appreciated. I asked Bishop Doyle to be the first preacher.
When he stood, he said: ‘I am accustomed to this heat.” As soon as he said that, he suffered heat stroke. I didn’t know whether to take care of the bishop or continue from where he had stopped. The challenge was even greater since there was no hospital, no telephone network, the plane had left.
The Bishop was escorted to a small hut and where he was given first aid by a deacon and two ladies. They were wetting his head and fanning him with a handkerchief. I delivered the word to a large multitude, being also concerned about what was happening to my companion. After the service, I went to the hut and found that my brother had recovered even though he was still weak.
I was led to a tiny hut belonging to my friend. This was to be my lodging. It looked very much like a Masai hut but somewhat smaller. To enter I had to crow. The door was unsecured so anybody could enter.
Inside, it was too hot for my friend and so he had to sleep outside. The deacon slept next to him to take care of him. I slept inside where I was visited by lizards and crickets.
We were guarded by fifty young men who slept outside the cathedral compound which adjoined to our huts. They were extremely noisy because everybody tried to outshout the other. It sounded like the voice of many waters. This continued until 2am.
On the 24th we had enthronement service for Archbishop John and two other bishops which was attended by 2000 congregants. On Christmas day we had an open air service. This was attended by among others, chiefs and the congressmen. Six parishioners spoke before we preached. They told us about the afflictions. Two of them narrated how Episcopal Bishop had been arrested because they had become Anglicans.
On the 26th we had clergy conference. As I had just started talking, Archbishop John told me that they have a gift for me and I need to go and see it. It was a horned bull and I was told to touch it and pose for the photo. “It is not going to hurt you.” Said John. “It is yours and you can take with you to the USA.” I however told them to slaughter the animal for the clergy.
To be continued…..
This is from the tales of Dr. John G Githiga-allnationscci.org
By Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD) in Kijabe