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September 20, 2016

Dear Friends of East African Ministries,

South Sudan continues to make headlines around the world. This summer, new conflict between government and opposition soldiers led to increased violence throughout the country. The current fighting has created more widespread instability, including in remote areas of the country that were previously safe. As a result, EAM's field crews - who bring the love of Jesus, clean water and preventative health training to unreached communities - are unable to operate safely in the field in South Sudan. While we are committed to serving communities in East Africa, we are also taking steps to ensure the safety of our teams and to wisely steward our resources. There are a few updates to our work at EAM overseas that we want to share with you.

  1. East African Ministries is opening a new office in Gulu, Uganda to coordinate our water and health field programs from a safer location. Gulu is 100 miles away from our base in Kajo Keji, South Sudan. For years, EAM has focused on underserved communities in Uganda and South Sudan from our base in Kajo Keji. Now, that same work will continue from our new office in Gulu.

    The new office will place EAM' s field crews in a relatively safe operating area, with close proximity to northern Uganda and South Sudan. This will allow us to continue our work in rural communities in northern Uganda, and to travel into South Sudan as the security situation on the roads improves.

  2. The Leadership Academy of South Sudan students are continuing their studies from a temporary location in northern Uganda. The students moved from Nimule, South Sudan to a partner school in Uganda to be away from the rising tensions. This allows them to better focus on their studies and character development. We hope and pray that our students and teachers will return to the LASS Nimule campus soon.

    Now, more than ever, the future of South Sudan depends on investing in this next generation of leaders. South Sudan is in a leadership crisis, and the current conflict only strengthens our conviction that ethical, transformed leaders are needed. With our partners at Cornerstone Development Africa, we're working to foster a movement of servant leaders in South Sudan. The nearly 100 students currently enrolled in LASS give us great hope that the future of South Sudan can be different.

  3. This fall, our team will assess northern Uganda to determine both the need and the areas where EAM might be able to have the most impact for the Kingdom of God. Nearly 400,000 South Sudanese have sought refuge in northern Uganda and as the conflict continues, that number of refugees will grow significantly. The steady influx of South Sudanese families is taxing the already sparse resources of this region. From our office in Gulu, EAM will be able to help meet the exponentially increasing need for clean water and health training.

    As we receive assessments and build our strategic plans in light of new operating areas, we will share those with you. We know 2017 will bring new projects for EAM and we look forward to communicating with you about how you can partner with us in this important work.
Although we're making adjustments in our locations, the vital work of East African Ministries remains the same: to share the love of Jesus through water, health and leadership development. While our main office location may change, our mission and calling remains the same. Since EAM opened its doors in 2009, our crews have provided clean water to 270,000 people in 475 unreached communities in East Africa and trained over 900 community health volunteers in more than 200 villages how to improve the health of their communities. All of this took place alongside ministry coordinators who shared the gospel and love of Jesus. In 2014, EAM opened LASS to educate, equip, and empower young men and women to become the future leaders of South Sudan. Our first class of 32 leaders graduated in December 2015.

As we reflect on the state of affairs in South Sudan and the innocent people who suffer, we know God has a plan and will use this conflict to bring about good. Scripture tells us that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (New International Version, Romans 8:28) . We are reminded that God equips us for the work to which He calls us, and we know God creates us for these very moments: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." (New International Version, Romans 9:17)

Please join us in prayer as we explore new avenues to serve the people of South Sudan and northern Uganda. We need prayer for EAM leadership and our field teams as we assess the needs of the region, and as we determine where we can operate with the greatest impact for the Kingdom. Please pray for the people of South Sudan, for the families forced to leave their homes, and for the leaders who will bring peace to this broken land.

Thank you for your friendship and partnership in this important work. We are grateful for your continued investment in East African Ministries and the Leadership Academy of South Sudan. Please know we value your input, and do not hesitate to contact us with your questions.

Sincerely,

BJ Goergen

BJ Goergen
Executive Director
bjgoergen@radlerfoundation.org

Alex Radler
Director of Development
aradler@eamafrica.org

 

 

What the news isn’t telling you

South Sudan

Friends,

Recent news articles tell a story of crisis in South Sudan: Fierce fighting and escalating violence; famished families driven from their homes, desperate to protect their children from atrocities. The common thread running through these reports is despair and defeat. If we’re not careful, the subtle lie of hopelessness seeps in, and one could begin to accept this as the whole story. Thankfully I am reminded daily that the true story of South Sudan is not just the headlines, and our hope is not in man’s ability to make peace. Our hope is in God.

Through my work at East African Ministries, I know that even as tribal conflict tears at the seams of a young nation, God is raising up leaders who will reconcile conflict and rebuild their country. Beneath the reports of a failing government are men and women risking their lives and investing everything they have to offer their children a better life. Asiki Isaac, who runs water operations for EAM, supports nearly 30 people on his salary, which means almost every child in his extended family goes to school. He doesn’t see that as a sacrifice – he believes it is an investment. He is sowing now, believing for the harvest that will be reaped in the future.

Asiki is just one story among the dozens of EAM staff – an amazing team from South Sudan, Uganda, and Kenya – all dedicated to serving the people of South Sudan. Asiki often tells me that people in South Sudan desire freedom and to live in peace. He reminds me that the real suffering in South Sudan falls on the innocent men, women, and children who live in the villages and don't have a voice. These are the people EAM serves.

As you read about South Sudan's conflict in the news, EAM has experienced it on the ground. Over the past two months, one of our field vehicles was hijacked and stolen, our head compound was burglarized, and one of our employees was assaulted. Although they continue to report fuel shortages and unsafe road conditions, every single member of our team has said they will not leave in the face of adversity.

EAM is responding boldly – in spite of our own operational challenges. In fact, the greater the operational challenges on the ground, the more we see God's faithfulness and fruit in our work. In remote villages our ministry coordinators see tremendous restoration underway: Physical restoration through water wells and health and sanitation training. Spiritual restoration through leadership development and discipleship. Our students tell us about their personal heart transformations fostering a new vision for peace in their nation.

We have found that the ongoing conflict provides an opportunity to share God's love in practical, tangible ways. What we do now matters. Crisis amplifies not only the depth of need in South Sudan, but also our response to it.

Our team on the ground is quick to share stories of God’s provision and protection, stories of villages coming to faith in Jesus, and stories that remind me of Gloria Kaya. On my first trip to South Sudan I met a young mother who had just repatriated home after living in a refugee camp in Uganda for many years. After listening to Gloria’s story, I asked her what I could do to help. Her response altered my career, led me to this work, and still echoes in my mind every day. “Please tell everyone you know about us. Please don’t forget us. We can’t go through living as refugees again. We just started rebuilding our lives. We need you now more than ever.”

Now more than ever the people of South Sudan need to know there is another way – a way of peace, rooted in the truth of God’s love for all people. EAM uses clean water, health education, and leadership development as tools to share about a lasting hope. Our work is transforming lives, restoring families, and fostering unity. As Asiki told me this weekend, "Communities ask us not to leave. They say, please stay. Through our ministry there is a lot of hope building. Our work changes lives forever."

If people like Asiki and Gloria, who are in the middle of conflict, haven’t lost hope, neither should you.

Now more than ever the people of South Sudan need your prayers and your support
. As our team stands firm in country, will you join with us and stand firm in prayer? Please pray for peace in the region and protection for our team. Will you also consider joining our work financially or increasing your support? We need to raise $70,000 to replace a hijacked vehicle and provide additional security for our field crews. I would be honored to discuss any of these needs with you in greater detail.

The season is critical and we need your help now more than ever. With your support, the story of South Sudan will be one of hope and victory. Please ask yourself, what is God calling me to do?

BJ Goergen

BJ Goergen
Executive Director
"I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of living." Psalm 27:13

Again, we thank you for your support and helping us succeed in our mission.

 

Leadership Academy of South Sudan develops important relationship with Engineering Ministries International

EMI at LASS

Engineering Ministries International architect Sarah Dunn explains to LASS students how their school was built.

In June 2012, a group of architects and engineers from Engineering Ministries International traveled to Nimule, South Sudan to complete their first land assessment for the Leadership Academy of South Sudan. Sarah Dunn, lead architect for the LASS project, returned several times that year with her team to further assist with the school’s construction.

After nearly three years of planning and development, Dunn visited the site of the completed LASS project in February 2015. While in Nimule, she spent time assessing the campus and all of its buildings. Dunn admitted she was impressed with how much work was completed in just a few short years.

During her visit, Dunn also took spent time explaining to the LASS students how EMI was involved with the creation of their school. She gave a presentation explaining the master plans and reports that sparked the initial development. The students have a great appreciation for all of the work that went into their campus, and they enjoyed hearing how much progress LASS has made.

“I appreciate EMI for their services in planning the general landscaping of LASS,” Headmaster David Ojok said. “Today we have magnificent, functional facilities that meet our objectives and bring pride to our staff, students, and community.”

Engineering Ministries International serves globally to end physical and spiritual poverty by designing facilities that serve underdeveloped regions.  Through its partnership with East African Ministries, EMI has left a lasting impact on LASS and the lives of its students.

For more information about LASS, visit leadershipdevelopmentintl.org. For more information about Engineering Ministry International, visit emiusa.org.

 

 

With God all things are possible

MHI CHV training

Community members attend eight days of
preventative health education training before becoming
certified community health volunteers.

Now 26 years old, Woja Moses lost his father when he was a teenager. A few years later his mother remarried, leaving him on his own. Thinking it would help him forget his problems, Moses spent most of his time drinking and in nightclubs.

When the Mobile Health International crew entered his home village of Gerenga, South Sudan, Moses was selected to be a community health volunteer. One day during morning devotion Moses decided to surrender his life to the Lord, and after a few days of discipleship classes he asked the MHI ministry coordinators to help him join Bible school so he could learn more about Jesus.

Once Moses shared the preventative health practices he had learned from MHI with his community, the ministry coordinators recommended him to North East Africa Theological Seminary. Currently enrolled in Bible courses, Moses is studying to be a pastor.

A changed man, Moses plans to plant a church in his village after graduating from seminary. He believes that if God can change him as an individual, He can also change an entire community.

To learn more about Mobile Health International visit mhiafrica.org.

 

Leadership Academy of South Sudan receives new computers

Leadership team group shot

LASS students practice typing in the on-campus computer lab
in Nimule, South Sudan.

The Leadership Academy of South Sudan in Nimule recently received 25 new laptop computers for use among the 37 students in its inaugural class.

For most of the LASS students, these laptops are their first exposure to this kind of technology. Learning how to use the computers will take time, but becoming familiar with them will make the students more marketable when they look for jobs after finishing school.

According to LDI education manager Lauren Zumbrun, it is almost unheard of for a school in South Sudan to have computers. “Even the government education offices often don’t have computers,” Zumbrun said. “That’s why these computers and our program make LASS students stand out as having such an extraordinary skill.”

In the beginning, the computers will be used to teach students how to process and document information in a professional manner. In the future, the laptops will be integrated into everyday learning for typing papers, maintaining spreadsheets, and creating presentations.

Having access to computers opens a whole new world of learning to the students, and being able to use the Internet allows them to gain knowledge they would otherwise not be able to obtain. In addition, learning how to use computers will enable the LASS students to teach others, expanding the opportunity for knowledge to their peers and the next generation of leaders in South Sudan.

The Leadership Academy of South Sudan opened in February 2014. Students will take their end-of-term exams during the last week of August, and the third term of classes will begin in late September. To learn more about LASS and Leadership Development International, visit leadershipdevelopmentintl.org. To support the LASS computer lab, visit bit.ly/SupportLASS.

 

Leadership Academy of South Sudan welcomes teachers for first academic year

Leadership team group shot

LASS teachers gather during staff training
before classes begin in February.

Teachers have gathered in the South Sudan town of Nimule to prepare for the start of classes at the Leadership Academy of South Sudan. Preparation includes reviewing curriculum for the school year and selecting the final group of students. Leadership Development International, a project of East African Ministries, will open the doors of the academy to its first group of students on February 10.

“LASS teachers are enthusiastically sorting through student interviews to make the final selection for the first class,” said Steven Myles, LDI project manager. “In spite of the recent conflict in South Sudan, LASS moves forward as we seek to develop, educate and train leaders who will invest long-term in peace for South Sudan.”

The staff, comprised of a dozen teachers recruited and hired from South Sudan and Uganda, is dedicated to carrying out the school’s mission of developing students academically, professionally and spiritually, thus preparing them to apply to quality universities. LASS curriculum will educate and equip students to become the kind of servant-minded leaders who will help South Sudan move away from its current state of conflict and become a stable, peaceful country.

LASS is a partnership between EAM and Cornerstone Development Africa, which has supported education and youth leadership development in Africa for 20 years. A two-year international university preparatory boarding academy, LASS will welcome a class of students representing 16 different tribes.

More than 280 students applied, but only 50 were chosen to attend LASS. Those who were accepted will pay minimal fees, as most of the cost will be covered by East African Ministries.

For more information about LASS, visit leadershipdevelopmentintl.org/what-we-do.html. For more information about Cornerstone Development Africa, visit cornerstonedevelopment.org.

 

East African Ministries hosts first leadership summit in South Sudan

Leadership team group shot

Staff members in Juba, South Sudan pose for a photo
during the first East African Ministries leadership summit.

In November, East African Ministries hosted a leadership summit at the Juba, South Sudan compound. The goal of the summit was to build the team, interact with the local community and provide an opportunity to strategically plan for 2014.

“As EAM expands and grows, it has become more evident that time together as an entire staff is necessary,” stated BJ Goergen, director, The Radler Foundation. “Members of the community were present during this leadership summit because EAM is only successful as key leaders in South Sudan help us identify, grow and maintain our vision.”

Leadership from the U.S. office in Fort Worth, Texas was present, as were representatives from all three projects in South Sudan, which include Leadership Development International, Mobile Health International and Water Harvest International. Participants enjoyed teambuilding games and activities, a vision-casting session, an organization-wide analysis, multiple blocks of time for group prayer and intercession and even a team-prepared dinner. The summit was rich with new ideas, healthy criticism, and vision for the future and of course with this group: a lot of laughter.

During the summit, EAM also hosted a community lunch and EAM compound dedication ceremony. This event was a way to thank the Rumbur Community who sold land to EAM for the Juba, South Sudan compound.

Both beneficial and unifying, future summits are expected to take place as EAM grows both externally and internally as an organization. To learn more about EAM follow us on Instagram, Facebook or check in with our website for frequent updates.


East African Ministries featured as SoCo Hammocks nonprofit of the month for November

hammock

SoCo Hammocks’ mission is to empower the poor through nonprofit partnerships, paying fair wages, and delivering on the promise of superior quality, high performance, and durable products.

East African Ministries has been chosen as SoCo Hammocks’ featured nonprofit for the month of November. Throughout November EAM will receive 10 percent of all online sales made by the hammock company.

“A buddy and I started SoCo in late 2011 with the desire to give back to organizations that are providing humanitarian aid to underprivileged populations,” stated Tim Scarborough, co-founder, SoCo Hammocks. “The SoCo in our name actually stands for socially conscious. In that regard, we see our products as catalysts for social change. As a company, we are truly committed to a triple bottom line – people, planet, and then profit.”

Each month SoCo creates a unique link that leads to a web page specifically highlighting the mission statements, core values and community outreach projects of chosen nonprofits. The web page also encourages customers to visit the nonprofit’s website by providing a link, drawing people to engage and donate to that particular organization.

“SoCo Hammocks is exactly the kind of organization we like to partner with at EAM,” stated Jen Chiles, development director, East African Ministries. “We want to engage with groups that have a vision to change access to fresh water and healthcare and develop leaders worldwide. SoCo helps us change the world one month at a time.”

In addition to SoCo’s partnerships with nonprofits, they also make an effort to be as transparent as possible by explicitly disclosing where their products come from and who actually makes them. As well as helping people, SoCo seeks to help the environment by making every part of their business 100 percent sustainable and carbon-neutral.

To see East African Ministries’ featured nonprofit page refer to http://www.socohammocks.com/featured-non-profit.html. For more information on SoCo Hammocks visit their website at http://www.socohammocks.com/.


East African Ministries supports DIGDEEP's 4Liter water conservation challenge

Volunteers assist Water Harvest International Crew

DIGDEEP's 4Liter Challenge raises awareness about
the millions of people worldwide who do not have
enough water to sustain a healthy life.

The Radler Foundation staff, and many donors and supporters worldwide have chosen to participate in DIGDEEP’s 4Liter Challenge. DIGDEEP, a water drilling partner of East African Ministries, exists to defend access to clean water as a basic human right. The 4Liter Challenge encourages supporters to live on only four liters of water per day for their choice of a one to five day time span, between the 14th and 21st of October.

“Approximately one billion people worldwide lack access to clean water. We encourage anyone with knowledge of the global water crises to join us in this challenge to do more with less,” said Jen Chiles, development director of East African Ministries. “Our goal is to raise awareness for those who can’t get enough clean water to live typical, healthy lives.”

Participants will use the four liters for everything including daily cooking, cleaning, bathing and drinking. Those taking the challenge are encouraged to record and post about their experience on the 4Liter Challenge website, 4liters.org, as well as on Twitter, where they can connect with others by using the hash tag “#4Liters.”

Through its partnership with East African Ministries’ water drilling organization Water Harvest International, DIGDEEP has already sponsored the drilling of 15 wells in South Sudan, bringing clean drinking water to more than 5,500 people.

For more information about DIGDEEP and the 4Liter Challenge, visit 4liters.org, and watch the promotional videos on YouTube at http://bit.ly/1bngVUQ and http://bit.ly/17KaQOe.


Group travels to South Sudan for fifth East African Ministries' Friends and Family Trip

Volunteers assist Water Harvest International Crew

Volunteers assist the Water Harvest International crew
as they drill a water well for Kiibo Village in
Kajo Keji, South Sudan.

A team of seven women traveled to South Sudan May 29 to June 10 for the fifth Friends and Family Trip hosted by East African Ministries. EAM exists to practically demonstrate the love of Christ and strengthen God's kingdom by promoting sustainable solutions for clean water, healthcare, and leadership development to unreached communities in East Africa.

"Nearly one billion people worldwide have no access to clean water. That's the case for many in South Sudan," stated Jen Chiles, development director, East African Ministries, who traveled with the June group. "Our group saw that one water well and basic sanitation training can affect the lives of an entire village. This trip is for anyone looking to invest in the lives of the people of South Sudan."

The group of travelers, all women from across the U.S., was able to experience multiple components of the work done by EAM. They assisted the Water Harvest International crew by drilling water wells and the Mobile Health International team by participating in sanitation training. They also shared the gospel with remote villages in South Sudan. 

The bi-annual trips are designed to educate current and potential water well donors and the friends and family of foundation staff members on various needs in South Sudan. The trips also offer an opportunity to witness to and serve the communities in which EAM works. 

If you are interested in participating in a future Friends and Family Trip or in donating funds that support the drilling of a water well in South Sudan contact us at info@eamafrica.org.

 

Water Harvest International drills 200th well

WHI Drills 200th Well

Villagers celebrate clean water in Kajo Keji, South Sudan.

On April 15th, 2013, Water Harvest International, a program of East African Ministries, completed its 200th water well. The fresh water well, which has an estimated lifetime of fifty years, was drilled in the village of Longamere, South Sudan; home to more than two hundred villagers.

"This milestone well changes many lives," stated Asiki Issac, WHI project manager. "Children who spent hours walking miles for water are instead able to attend school. Water wells change the dynamic of villages in a way that will allow future leaders of South Sudan to grow and develop."

WHI began in 2009 with the mission to practically demonstrate the love of Christ and strengthen God's kingdom by drilling clean, abundant water wells for unreached communities in East Africa. Since drilling its first well, WHI has provided clean water and the hope of the Gospel to more than 80,000 people in South Sudan and northern Uganda.

WHI strives to impact the people of South Sudan in a sustainable way. WHI is led by South Sudanese crews, generates accountability among communities, and empowers local churches to spread the Gospel.

For more information on how to become involved, visit WHI's website at www.eamafrica.org/whi.


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East African Ministries
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817.632.5200