The second trip within the second wave of Luke 10 Exploration Trips went out from September 8-17 to South Sudan.
Ten exploration teams made trips to ten different destinations and peoples between April 2022 and March 2023. These trips were the first wave of exploration in discerning potential new fields for EFM to launch as part of EFM’s Five-Year Goal. It was determined that eight of those destinations require a second trip for further, deeper, exploration, plus as of July 2023 plans are being made by FSW to start a new work among unreached people groups in Cambodia and surrounding areas. Further exploration will help EFM to begin making decisions about where to make commitments in November 2023 to send North American households to launch new fields. See more information here.
The following is a report written by a member of the team, Brendan Steinacher.
|Who Was on this Trip & Where Did We Travel?|
The team included Aaron Mupenda (EFC-Rwanda), Jean-Paul Nsekanabo (EFC-Rwanda), Nicodeme Basebya (EFC-Rwanda) Matt Macy (EFM Director of Mobilization), Brad Carpenter (EFM Missionary), Todd Brown (EFC-MAYM), and Brendan Steinacher (EFC-MAYM). The seven-member team met in Juba, South Sudan from October 10-17. They used the Dandy Hotel in Juba as a base camp, traveling to towns and villages in the surrounding areas. Over four days the teams visited Juba City, Juba Two, Mangala Payam, and Torit City to investigate evangelism and the lack of evangelism among the various people groups.
|What was our experience traveling here? How did the Lord meet us?|
The intent was to discover regions and areas where the people are underserved or unreached. In the places we visited, we found many tribes that have exposure to some faiths but very few who have a true relationship with Christ. Many told us that they were a Christian country where Catholic, Protestant Christian, Muslim, and others (in that order) have churches/teach. What we found were people who associate with a brand of faith because of family or community identity more than personal faith. We also found connections to many unreached peoples and villages in vast remote sections of the country.
By visiting these locations and hearing reports about surrounding villages we were able to identify places that need evangelical presence and are interested in hearing the gospel. Some places once had mission influence but the people from these places were not discipled sufficiently to have sustainable congregations. Other areas would be considered refugee towns due to displacement from war, flooding, and migration across the country. Many of these villages are asking for biblical training. Some areas were once well evangelized but now have no spiritual support contact outside of their own villages or areas. Christ’s guiding hand and the introduction to people at the right time and the right place seemed to direct our paths and speak to his opening of doors as we traveled through South Sudan.
|Two Trip Highlights|
There is a deep encouragement in the resolve our Rwandan friends have towards opening this work in South Sudan. In 1999 EFC Rwanda had the vision that the light of Christ would be taken across Africa making disciples by Africans. Our friends are committed to sending missionaries – “We do it!”- by 2025. That conviction is clearer today than it was on the first Luke 10 Exploration Trip to Juba. Part of that deep conviction is that Rwandans see the tribal tensions in South Sudan and have lived and transformed tribal reconciliation in Rwanda. Bringing the love of Christ into South Sudan using Discipleship for Development whole-life discipleship methodologies is a fire that has started. EFC-Rwanda demonstrates organizational maturity as they have a missions board overseeing missions-mobilizing activities at national, regional, and local church organizational structures, and are strategically identifying next steps including missionary selection, training, and support. A highlight for our team was to continue blowing on the embers of the inevitable fire!
Power of Relationships:
Is it possible that a primary reason for EFM missions to South Sudan is because it is “on mission with Rwandan missions sending”? Also, the relationships built during this trip with prominent South Sudanese contacts were plentiful. From the church, government, United Nations security, business owners…leaders from all walks seemed to fall into place at just the right moment. God provided a way at every turn, even when doors closed, we just had to be patient for the doors to open when he was ready. South Sudan is a country in transition expressing a desire for change. After a long history of war and recent independence, it is a country and a people that want and are ready for a spiritual harvest.
“When you come back in a year, we will proclaim this day, a day of prayer in the National Immigration Offices of South Sudan” – Deputy Inspector General.
|How Can You Pray for Next Steps in this Country?|
- EFC-Rwanda works with government contacts to establish church registration.
- EFC-Rwanda selects missionary/s that have a call by November 2023.
- EFC-Rwanda determines a plan for missionary training as well as training for key leaders in sending church.
- EFM makes a decision on EFM’s commitment to send U.S. missionaries.
- Possibly send a missionary or team for one to three months to get more information.
- Continue to develop EFC-Rwanda’s framework for missions sending.
- Continue to mobilize for prayer and financial support.
Please pray for…
- The raising up of EFM missionaries to accompany our Rwandan friends. A partnership agreement for a multi-national team.
- The upcoming elections in 2024 for South Sudan. For a peaceful transfer of office and a stable geopolitical climate.
- Coaching and training for EFM and EFC-Rwanda missionaries.
The second round of Luke 10 Exploration Trips continues through October 2023. The EFM National Luke 10 Think Tank will meet on November 8, 2023 to look at which fields meet EFM’s CAN GO Criteria for launching new fields and begin making the first decisions as to where EFM will commit to deploying missionaries by the end of 2025.
Are you Feeling Called to Join EFM?
Are you interested in exploring missionary service? Do you know of anyone of any age who might be interested in exploring the idea of serving as a missionary overseas for two or more years?
EFM is currently looking to contact and connect with people about opportunities to explore serving as missionaries with the Friends Church!
We look forward to sharing more news as it becomes available about what we are finding and discerning in EFM’s Luke 10 Initiative.
Director of Mobilization