Monday, 30 December 2013


Well, I started this blog post two weeks ago, but needless to say, a lot has happened in the interim. I was initially going to write about my adventures in Kenya, a country that I visited for the first time mid November during my break. It was an amazing experience - having the privilege and opportunity to see first hand wildlife in its natural environment; zebras and elephants galore, prides of lions lounging about the savannah or fresh from a kill, all manner of fauna and flora so that the senses are bewildered at the enormous variety of God's creation on display! In fact, here are two of my favourite pictures from the safari (Swahili for 'journey'). On the left is a herd of zebras staring as we drive off and on the right is an elephant in the marshlands against the awesome backdrop of Mt Kilimanjaro, both taken in the Amboseli National Park, my favourite destination of the trip by far.

His House of Hope Hospital is on Google maps!
His House of Hope Hospital
is on Google maps!
But, circumstances have certainly changed. What with the attempted coup in Juba a couple of weeks back (only two weeks? It feels like a lifetime ago!) and the escalating tensions that spread like wildfire to Bor (Jonglei), Bentiu (Unity) and Malakal (Upper Nile) - all in the north or northeast and all significant for different reasons (Bor was the birthplace of the Second Sudanese Civil War and the SPLA/SPLM, Bentiu is one of the major towns involved in oil production and Malakal has the only international airport in the country outside of the capital) - our little hospital was closed and all the missionary staff evacuated to the neighbouring country of Uganda.

Although it may seem to appear (and feel) as if we were abandoning the South Sudanese, the timing was, as much as could be said to be the case in such a time, fortuitous. You see, the other Aussie doctor, his family and our missionary nurses were all scheduled to leave this week to attend a missions conference in Ethiopia. I was intended to hold the fort along with a visiting obstetric nurse from Canada for the next two weeks, a prospect that left me in immense dread, as you can imagine.

By the by, that is no longer the expectation; a silver lining in a very dark cloud. Pray for South Sudan. It is such a wretched situation; it tears me inside that this longsuffering people who have already endured half a century of conflict is on the brink of being thrown back into the calamity of civil war. With these politicians busy grabbing for power, it is the common people, caught in the middle, who pay the price. Not just the poor souls who have already been killed as a direct result of the unrest, but also all who grieve their loss and those who have fled into the bush for fear of their lives. The country with the highest maternal mortality rate and one of the highest under-five mortality rates in the world can ill afford such a setback; the little progress made in development initiatives by NGOs and international corporations would be lost and probably even regress.

In this season when we celebrate the incarnation of our Saviour Jesus Christ, may we remember the promise that heralded His coming:
Isaiah 9:1-7 
1Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, as when at first He lightly esteemed the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward more heavily oppressed her, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, in Galilee of the Gentiles.
2The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.
3You have multiplied the nation and increased its joy; they rejoice before You according to the joy of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
4For you have broken the yoke of his burden and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.
5For every warrior's sandal from the noisy battle, and garments rolled in blood, will be used for burning and fuel of fire.
6For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kindgdom, to order it and establish it with judgement and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Revelation 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming quickly." Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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