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Shifting and Sifting

We are “missionary refugees.”  As you may have noticed from other writings on this site, we are still the “Perryclan” but not currently “in South Sudan.”  While our heart is to be in South Sudan, the last of our team had to evacuate Yei, South Sudan in November of 2016, and His House of Hope – Bet Eman Teaching Hospital (HHH-BETH) had to reduce services to the point of caring for the orphans and staff on the compound only.

There are now over one million South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, and nearly 400,000 in Ethiopia.  Yei is a key, central city in the southernmost part of South Sudan, and was relatively peaceful during most of the time since the civil war started in December 2013.  During 2016, however, groups who were dissatisfied with the government began forming in the bush around Yei River State and preparing to fight.  While Yei itself has remained in government control throughout, the rebel groups have surrounded it and cut off all roads in and out of the city.  Most of the local population fled to northern Uganda due to the fighting, lack of food, and absence of safety in which to continue planting, harvesting, trading, and doing normal life.

We, like many of the local population, have “shifted” to the West Nile Region of northern Uganda.  (The locals in the Moyo District say “shift” rather than “move” to describe a change in where one lives… though it is often pronounced “sift.”  For example, a man asked me “When are you ‘sifting’?” and I was confused as to what he was asking!)  Some of our missionary team shifted to northern South Sudan—Yida, a large transit camp for Nuban people fleeing from Sudan; others shifted to Kenya to help in mission hospitals, training doctors and nurses; others have shifted to Arua, Uganda, a central point from which many refugee services are coordinated; and others have shifted to their “passport” or “home” country to help with refugee care there, while helping with mobilization and support of missionaries.

In the process of “shifting,” there is also “sifting.”  The Lord has taken our team and dispersed us throughout East Africa and the world.  He is “sifting” us with regards to what we do and who we are in Him.  In Yei at HHH-BETH, there was a large, clearly-defined amount of work to be done every day.  We never had to wonder about our relevance.  In our new locations, we are struggling to find our way, as are the South Sudanese refugees.  In the process, there is great potential for outcomes that are not as tangible, but perhaps more fruitful

While the buildings of HHH-BETH sit undisturbed and unused, many of the relationships that were built within them continue, as each of our team discovers staff and patients living near where we have shifted.   When people are displaced, they are often more open to what God wants to communicate.  May we, and those we work alongside, receive what He intends through His sifting.

(The pronunciation of “s” versus “sh” in words has a long and sordid history… for those with further interest, read the story in Judges 12, particularly verses 5-6.)

Last Updated on Saturday, 02 September 2017 14:33

Our Mission:

Share the gospel of Jesus Christ and strengthen His Church through medical care and education, discipleship, and loving the people of South Sudan as a family.

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