The below post is from a letter I sent to a close group of friends and family a little over a week ago. I’m reposting here because the first letter begged a follow up. This is the follow up. Thanks – Sam
And thank you to Arianne Teeple for sharing her wonderful photos for this post and my letter.
Dear Friends and Family,
This is the second of two letters about my short term mission (STM) trip to South Sudan. If you have not read the first message, you will find it on my blog, a series of letters I’m recording for my children. Please read that letter before continuing…
At 40, I have reached a point in my life where my faith in the Lord is more about taking steps and practicing that faith, and less about waiting, watching, and wondering.
Apart from very tense occasions when I have cried out to God in moments of acute need, I have spent most of my adult life waiting and watching from the locker room. I’m now ready and resolved to step onto the international field, outside my comfort zone in Latin America, and see what the Lord has for me there.
This is why I’m preparing to travel to South Sudan in October. In my first letter, shared on Facebook with a broader group and with you all two days ago, I presented the why and some of the where.
Let me unpack these elements a little more.
South Sudan is one of the youngest nations on earth. Wikipedia will tell you it is a land-locked country in East-Central Africa, established in 2011. It is a member of the United Nations and considered one of the most “fragile” countries in the word. Since the 2011 independence, two factions have been struggling for power. A 2015 peace accord brought the leaders of both groups together in a power-sharing government. But peace has been fragile. Flare-ups between these rival groups and their associated tribes continue to scar the land and drive massive movements of refugees across the borders to other nations. Aid workers have been attacked. As recently as 18 August, one of the leaders has fled the country for safety. Even as I write you today, the peace accords remain on shaky grounds.
Yet South Sudan is a Christian country. Many people there know Jesus. Though many have lost everything, they hold onto the hope and promise that remain in that name. Our church, Bay Area Community Church (BACC), has partnered with an established missionary organization in this country that has remained apart from the bloodshed and violence for nearly ten years. It has become a refuge for many, especially children orphaned by war.
Our team will be traveling from Dulles, VA to Nairobi, Kenya, where we will remain a night before traveling to Juba, the capital city of South Sudan (see map insert). We will remain a night in Juba before finally flying to Bor, a small village on a tributary of the Nile river. We will stay there for five days serving the Mission Gardens of Christ missionary team.
Pastor Stephen Mathiang is the founding pastor of Mission Gardens for Christ (MGC). He is a quiet man, filled with an inner peace that can only be supernatural. He is a man who has sacrificed everything many times over for what he believes. He stands for Christ in one of the most war-torn nations on earth, living each day in faith and trust in the Lord.
Pastor Stephen’s vision is to cement MGC as a spiritual hub for his part of South Sudan. Since 2006, MGC has grown to offer primary school education, an orphanage for boys and girls, medical services, and teaching to prepare other pastors in South Sudan, apart from holding regular church services in the community.
So what will I be doing there? To be honest, I’m not exactly sure. Part of the process of preparing for a STM is to prepare your heart and mind to be willing to do anything – in a word, surrender.
But I do know that there will be a pastor’s conference organized for the time we are there. I believe I will be asked to do some teaching, to help prepare and encourage the pastors I meet for the work God has laid out for them in South Sudan. I also know that I will be teaching small groups of seven to 13 year old children, and they all love to play soccer! So if I can’t teach them something in the classroom, maybe I can show them a move or two on the pitch.
More important, however, are the relationships we as a team will be building and deepening as our church continues to honor its ongoing commitment to support Pastor Stephen and his work. It is my hope that relationships seeded during my time at MGC will last the rest of my life and provide other opportunities to share the Gospel and continue to strengthen and support those who stand up for Jesus when the world around them is ripping itself apart.
Since my fist letter, many of you have asked me how you can help. First, pray. Pray for our team, for our hearts to be surrendered to what God has in His will for us on this trip. Pray for safety, security, and health, that we would be surrounded with a hedge of His angles for protection. Pray for Pastor Stephen and his team, and pray for the children that his mission has taken in as war orphans to bring them up and teach them well.
Second, give. I need to raise a minimum of $3,000 for this trip. This money goes to my tickets and visa. Any amount I am able to raise beyond the minimum will be directed to Pastor Stephen’s ministry and to meet the needs of Mission Gardens for Christ.
Finally, be expectant. Expect that God will do great things on this trip, and on into the future for Pastor Stephen and his mission field in Africa.
If you feel moved to support this mission, to partner with me and to support what the Lord has planned for our team in South Sudan, please pray about what the Lord would have you do. For many of you, prayer might be your role. For those of you who feel led to give, please use one of the two options detailed below:
1. When giving online, direct your browser to: www.bayareacc.org/stmgive.
2. Select “Guest giving”
3. Under the line where you enter your email address, you will place the amount.
4. Next to amount, you will see a drop down menu, click on this menu and scroll down toward the bottom to select “South Sudan STMT October 1-14”
5. Below that line, in the comments box, make sure you place my name: “Sam Logan”
6. Finally, complete the credit card information below and hit “donate.”
1. Prepare a check payable to: “Bay Area Community Church” or “BACC”
2. In the check memo line, you need to put the following:
Sam Logan, South Sudan STMT Oct 1-14
3. Mail the check to: Finance Office, BACC, 884 Chesterfield Rd., Annapolis, MD 21401
I want to thank you in advance for taking the time, for making room in your heart for me and for what I feel like the Lord has asked me to do in my own journey of faith.
I will be in touch soon to share an update.