Veronica and I have arrived at Juba after a very long journey. Things got off to a bit of a challenge, as our flight out of DFW was significantly delayed because of computer problems, and the airline was unable to board the aircraft. In the end, they did it the "old fashioned" way, writing boarding pass information on paper! When it became clear there could be a real problem, we sent out a number of prayer requests If the flight had not gone ahead, the cascading missed connections would have made the journey pointless. Praise the Lord, it went ahead, we made all our connections, and out luggage arrived with us. We had a wonderful welcome here in Juba. Rev Sapan escorted us through all the arrival processes and to the guest house. I stayed here in 2015, and it looked very different than it does now. The temperature is height-of-Texas-summer. We were very pleasantly surprised to find our room has air conditioning! We will enjoy it and catch up on sleep - something we've had very little of during our more than 30 hour journey. We go back to the airport very early in the morning to catch our flight with Mission Aviation Fellowship for the last leg to Juba. The only confirmed "agenda" item so far is a day of Fasting and Prayer in Freedom Square in Ibba on April 25. It is an all-day event. I am to be one of three preachers, and my topic is "The Power of Prayer" and Veronica is asked to pray (we don't know what that entails yet). Time for some rest!
We had a lovely dinner out in Juba last evening, hosted by someone who works in the government and is from Ibba (and an active member of the church). He was also the person who arranged our rides and airport transit here. Early this morning we traveled be Mission Aviation Fellowship to Ibba. We were met at the airstrip by some school children singing and by some other diocesan representatives (including Mama Agnes, the bishop's wife). We drove to the compound where the bishop stays, with last stretch lined by more singing school children. We had formal greetings and then breakfast. Government protocol required checking in with a few local officials. We now have the rest of the day to rest and prepare. We have very full days of visits around the diocese scheduled for the next couple of days. On Sunday, I will be participating in the ordination of seven deacons and a priest. I also just learned I will also be preaching that day! We will have very limited opportunity to connect again for a few days with the busy schedule and distance from the house to the office where we can access wifi. On next Tuesday, all are invited to join the day of prayer and fasting. Recent harvests have been slim and some face food insecurity because of it. So we are praying for good harvests. We are also praying for peace - here, but also other places (Ukraine and Sudan among others). We have already had some wonderful conversations and I have been able to greet friends here again. We will certainly have more pictures and some short video clips to share when we return.
The Lord be with you