Wednesday, March 08, 2006


OK, Mike. I'll take the bait. This 50-something is a Blog Virgin, but I'm going to try to begin making some sense of this trip to Lui.

Many thanks to you for creating a blog for us to share our experiences! Last night I was trying to decide how I would share my thoughts/perceptions and photos, and was about to decide I should join the blogging world, but you beat me to it! Thanks!!

And you promised me/us that we don't have to share our experiences/remarks in any linear fashion, and I'm going to hold you to that promise. I guarantee you these will be unedited and unorganized thoughts.

First, many thanks to you who folks who made the previous trips to Lui. It was obvious to me that you established credibility and built relationships with the folks in Lui. When I would introduce myself during this trip, I almost always began by invoking your names so they would know I was following in your path. Thanks for blazing the trail.
Since nobody else has yet begun making entries, I'll start here.

These were the missioners (and our drivers in Nairobi) on the first morning, after waking in Nairobi and ready to fly into Sudan.

They are (left to right):
  • Archdeacon Robert Franken (on the Bishop's staff)
  • Sandy Coburn -- co-chair of our Companion Diocese Relationship Committee
  • Rick Kuhn -- member of Emmanuel Episcopal Church/Webster Groves, and a contractor/carpenter
  • Father Bob Towner -- priest of the Cape Girardeau & Sikeston parishes
  • our drivers
(I'm behind the camera -- not in the photo.)

And here's a basic overview of our itinerary:

  • Tues., Feb. 21: departure from St. Louis. I was most grateful that Mike Kinman and Susan Naylor met us at the airport, prior to departure, to give us prayers, good wishes, prayers, an enthusiastic send-off, and prayers. And did I mention prayers??
  • Tues., Feb. 21-Wed., Feb. 22: From wheels-up in St. Louis to wheels-down in Nairobi was about 25 hours of travel time. Note to future travellers: Nairobi (and Lui) are 9 hours later than Central Standard Time; it's hard to find that little nugget of info on the Internet. We were met in Nairobi by staff of the Diocese of Lui, and they delivered us safely to the Methodist Guest House. The Guest House provides buffet-style meals.
  • Thursday, Feb. 23: Transport from Nairobi to Mundri airport (via small charter plane), then by truck into Lui. Welcoming ceremony in Lui. Deborah led whole group in tour of Samaritan's Purse hospital.
  • Friday, Feb. 24: Large group went to Minga archdeaconry. Bob & Lisa stayed in Lui.
  • Saturday, Feb. 25: Large group went to archdeaconry. Bob, Rick, and Lisa stayed in Lui, and taught/facilitated Youth Leaaders' meeting/workshop. Team members did a "walk-around" in the Lui village in the afternoon/evening.
  • Sunday, Feb. 26: Whole group attended services at the Cathedral in Lui. Sandy & Lisa attended music festival in the afternoon.
  • Monday, Feb. 27: Large group went to Kediba & Wandi archdeaconries for confirmations and village meetings. Robert & Rick stayed in Lui to work on projects.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 28: Large group went on archdeaconry visits (Buigi & Nideh), plus visit to burned-out village of Mariba. Rick stayed in Lui to work on construction projects.
  • Wednesday, March 1: Sandy joined Deborah doing "rounds" at Samaritan's Purse hospital. Other group members met in compound with Mothers Union reps, then hiked up the road to view Mothers Union literacy center and schools. Afternoon meeting for whole team with Bishop Bullen, Lui clery, and diocesan leaders.
  • Thursday, March 2: transit from Lui to Mundri airstrip to Nairobi.
  • Friday, March 3: Robert visited U.S. Embassy. Whole group met with Bishop and other Sudanese leaders for "debriefing." Near midnight, group accompanied Bob & Lisa to Nairobi airport for their departure. (Their flight went Friday midnight to Sat. mid-afternoon.)
  • Saturday, March 4: Team meeting with Bishop Bullen & Ambrose in Diocesan offices. Remainding members of team flew home Sat.-Sun.

I hope that itinerary provides a framework that we all will fill-in in the coming days.

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