Wednesday, September 17, 2014

An update from the Gambela Anglican Centre

We arrived in a cool Gambela on Saturday past. As Addis had been so cold, we had wondered how our bodies would respond to the usual heat of the low country, but our gracious Lord had taken care of that already! Be not anxious, as your Father already knows…ah yes, another lesson on faith and trust.

The Anglican Centre is undergoing some major renovations thanks to the generous donations of many supporters of the Lord’s work here. For the present, it is our home-to-be and the library.  Pray with us for more donors, as there is much yet to be done before the College will be fully functional.

The library used to be dark because the open holes that were mean to serve as windows let in dust (and ashes during the burning season) rather than sunlight. 

But that has all changed now, as walls have been knocked open to accommodate large windows, and other walls erected inside to better utilize the space for books, computers, offices, and study areas.

The old office block has undergone a bit of a transformation as well, and is slowly beginning to morph into our new home. Thanks to one wall knocked out and one wall built in, it now boasts an open plan kitchen and longue area, and a shower! We hope to move in soon…perhaps when we return from Addis in October.

 Yes, Addis. Louise will be companion to the Queen on her trip to Holland, and I will be attending a Provincial Assembly in Luxor, Egypt, and a missions leadership conference in Addis after that. Bishop Grant and Doctor Wendy will be visiting churches in Australia later in the month, but we will return home. Home…that is what Gambela is to us now.

We have been working hard on the Nuer language, but the going is slow. Having taught English as a Foreign Language, I know that there is such a thing as muscle memory and when it comes to the mouth and the tongue, muscle memory is a hard thing to overcome. Some of the sounds in Nuer are so foreign to the English mouth that it takes a lot of practice before the word spoken sound anything like what we hear with our ears.  And even then, our Nuer brethren first frown when we address them and then, recognizing the mispronounced greeting or statement, smile widely and repeat what we should have said several times. They are ever so gracious and patient with us!

Electricity has been a problem since we arrived, which means the cell phone and Internet network does not work either. Also, Louise and I have yet to purchase the adapter needed to access the Internet. But today, we have power and everyone is furiously catching up with their correspondence. +Grant let us use his adapter last night, so we did manage to Face Time with Hanno on his thirtieth birthday, for which we are grateful.

We have also been working hard on the grounds, pruning trees, cutting down those that are too close to others, fertilizing some with manure bought from the butchery across the street, planting vegetables and so on. There is still so much work to be done, but a vision of the future drives us forward. It is important to us to have this centre be totally self-sufficient. Green visions of solar power and wells and water storage tanks dance in our heads…but all in due time.

For now, work revolves around getting our home ready for occupation and learning the Nuer language. Everything else is a bonus…

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