The story is too big and wonderful to tell in a dinky blog, so please go to the site. But here are some highlights:
- + In this time where our minds are on financial woes, it is so awesome to hear about more than $50,000 raised by South Dakotans (many in our state's Episcopal Churches, but with other generous community and church gifts).
- + We saw a picture of the first operational fresh water well and pump. With lovely whimsy, this was funded by gifts from the folks up in Watertown. In fact, the concrete pad around the well had "Watertown, South Dakota, USA" pressed into it while it was setting.
- + The team bought a truck to help haul its materials to Panyang - and Moses placed "Wall Drug" decals on it. (If you're a reader not in South Dakota, get in on the humor here.)
- + The first grain mill is up and running. Along with the well, this is a vital part of the effort to get education for girls. The girls' traditional hand grinding and water hauling takes all day and keeps them out of school. So the girls of Panyang will be in the vanguard of a better educated South Sudan.
- + The school building's foundation is laid and the building should be completed in early 2010.
- + Panyang and the surrounding villages have about 75,000 people, served by Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and Episcopal Church of the Sudan churches. The children of Church of the Holy Apostles, Sioux Falls made a wonderful scale model of the Episcopal Church, which makes use of earth mound pews. Clergy are compensated with grain that the people present.
- + With all of the problems in the Episcopal Church (USA), it was so refreshing to celebrate the initial success of this project, which is being nurtured by the The Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota.
Again, visit the South Sudan Education site and be inspired. Moses, a "Lost Boy," had a truly God-sized vision, and God's people here and in the Sudan worked together to realize it. Thanks to Moses and Rhonda Morse for spending time at Good Shepherd today - if you have a church, civic or other group that might be interested in hearing more, they can be contacted via the site.