Sunday, December 21, 2008

A note from Emily

Greetings from the Diocese of Lui! I am writing at 4:30 in theafternoon, when the air is hot and still but the promise of coolevening beckons. It is a good time of day. The generator, whichDebbie Smith started like a boat motor, is humming in the shed next tothe office (allowing us to write this blog).

What is there to write about Lui? All of the missioners are safe andsound, though we have had a long two days. Yesterday, we attended thededication of diocesan offices in the Diocese of Mundri, approximatelyfifteen miles from here. Compared to 2005 (my last trip to Sudan),the road has greatly improved and all land mines have been removed bya United Nations team. This progress is so hopeful, because smoothroads make for the beginning of other types of infrastructure:bridges, culverts, etc.

The main excitement of the dedication yesterday was that ArchbishopDaniel Deng Bul was present, along with some of his family. He is a'big man', both in stature and in authority. He stands over six feettall, and is built like a linebacker. The Archbishop works hard tohold together a church that is split by political, ethnic and economicdifferences. It was surprising to all of us from Missouri that theArchbishop, within five minutes of our arrival, addressed the remarksthat he made about Gene Robinson at Lambeth. "What I said at Lambeth,this was the feeling of my people, and I was there as representativeof the people of Sudan," explained the Archbishop. "This is notnecessarily my feeling as well." His remarks were very politic, inthat they left open the possibility that the Archbishop's views on theelection and consecration of Gene Robinson are different, or morecomplex, than those of his people.

On his way from Mundri to Juba today, the Archbishop stopped andvisited us at Lui, which was a great honor. I was especiallyfascinated by the story he told of how the women in Sudan upheld thechurch during the war. Archbishop Deng Bul spoke about how, duringbombing raids, women would gather under the trees every morning from4am until 6am in order to pray and to encourage each other, becauseevery day they expected to die. Since the men were off fighting thewar, the women were primarily responsible for the spiritual lives oftheir communities. Mama Deborah, the Archbishop's wife, said thatnow, Sudanese parents teach their children peace and responsibilityfor the rebuilding of their nation. It was a powerful visit.

We hope that you all are well in the United States, and we are sograteful for your prayers.

Emily Bloemker


/Susan said...

Good to hear, Deacon Emily!
I am so appreciative of these posts, it makes makes me feel very present with all of you. Thanks for the pictures as well.
Fr. Stephen has started his journey home this morning. It was 4 degrees (not counting wind chill) when Sandy and Skip Couburn took him to the airport at 6:30 this morning. May God grant his traveling mercies, and keep all of you close to his heart.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the great post, Emily. I'm sure that there's so much more to say about the experiences you've already had so far! Very interesting about Bp Daniel.

It was just a little warmer in Columbia this morning - 6 degrees. Calvary was glad to hear that you all are much warmer! and sends prayers.

Peace to you all,


Lisa Fox said...

Thank you for this report, Emily. It sounds like our hosts are running you all ragged. I pray you will have energy sufficient for the day.

I hear very clearly that you all are already exercising the ministry of presence that we hoped you could. I'm not surprised that your itinerary keeps getting adjusted day by day.

Grace and peace to you all. Know that you are in my most fervent prayers.

Sandra said...

It really feels like being there, except for the 95 degrees part!!! I hope you feel the well-spring of prayers and support coming to you and all of our "family" in Lui!! Stephen Dokolo can't wait to visit you all as well...I feel so blessed to be a part of the Diocese of MO -- thanks to you all!! Faithfully, Sandy, Skip, Ali and even bulldog SPUD!

Bill_css said...

Emily, Joe, and all,
Your blogging (as well as Debbie Smith's - thanks for the cross-link) has been truly a blessing, rest assured that they are being viewed here!
You may be interested to know that this particular posting - the first one with images - showed up here at Advent Crestwood between services this past Sunday, while we had the blog projected on a screen. Hurray for that 7 hour time difference! We had a lot of fun with the image of Dan, Deb, and the airplane.

Blessing to all, and keep on bloggin'!

Bill Sanders
Advent (Crestwood)