I recently took a trip to Juba, South Sudan. My purpose for going on this trip was around the concepts of visioning and discernment. My friend Kristen is a missionary in Juba, and she is working with other missionaries to start a Christian school for children of missionaries and other non-governmental workers living in Juba. Due to the history of violence and war in South Sudan, there are lots of humanitarian and aid organizations based in Juba trying to help re-build the country. But there is not decent education for European or American children, so not a lot of families are coming to Juba, and those who are in Juba aren’t staying very long. So the vision of Juba Christian Academy (the school my friend is working on getting started) is to provide quality Christian American education to students in Juba. This will hopefully allow families to stay longer, which will stabilize the work they are doing, and will bring more families to live there, which will strengthen the community and relationships for those who are already there.
I was invited to visit Juba to learn about the school and pray about my own role in it. The actual work that I did while I was there was only tangentally related to the work of the school. I babysat so that Kristen could get some hard-to-find time on the computer to follow up on leads and other items of business related to the school. I sorted books according to age, subject and theme so that when they have the space they will have a library and materials to use in the school. I met with the architect designing the classroom space in a room being rented from a local church, and made suggestions about early childhood education classroom supplies like chairs, tables and bookshelves.
But the trip ended up being about so much more than whether or not it would make sense for me to go be a teacher at JCA. With time to read, pray and journal, I found myself with the time and space to really wrestle with the stuff that has made this year so full of internal conflict and discontent for me.
Check back next week for the next installment of Sr. Michelle’s time