CMSI Mission Director Jenny Smyth and her husband Billy are currently in South Sudan, and on Saturday posted an update on the CMSI website on their time spent in Connor’s partner diocese of Yei.
Jenny is now heading to Maridi Diocese, while Billy remains in Yei.
This was their first opportunity to meet the new Bishop of Yei, following the retirement of Bishop Hilary.
In their update, they wrote: “We have received a warm and generous welcome from Bishop Levi, Morris the manager and the staff of the YVTC (Yei Vocational Training College), and from many familiar faces as we walk around the Hai Mission area.
“We are staying in the ECSS (Episcopal Church of South Sudan) guest house – in a delux room no less – green and shady. It has been raining recently, unusual for January, so it’s not so dusty or overbearingly hot.”
Prior to travelling to Yei, Billy and Jenny met with Archbishop Justin in the South Sudan capital Juba. They discussed the partnerships that CMS Ireland supports between the Church of Ireland and the ECSS, and how the CMS network can relate most helpfully to the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans.
Arriving at Yei airstrip, Billy and Jetty were met by Mandela, Bishop Levi’s driver, who had learned his driving and mechanics at the Yei VTC.
“It was a pleasure to meet Bishop Levi in person for the first time,” the couple wrote. “He laid aside his programme to prioritise our visit, and we are thankful.”
The following day, Billy went to work at the VTC with Baraka, who trained at Centre when the couple lived in Yei, and now tutors there. Jenny spent time with the Bishop discussing the diocesan vision, CMSI and the upcoming visit to Ireland for Kingdom Voices.
“Particularly interested in the diocesan coffee project, we visited Moses Muggo to see what is involved in growing and processing the coffee. Moses’ home is like a mini demonstration farm with chickens, pigs, and lots of fruit trees and crops,” Jenny wrote.
She said the VTC was ‘a hive of activity’ with 80 students all busy doing practicals in their various disciplines – homecrafts, hairdressing, building, mechanics, electrics, tailoring and catering.
“It was so encouraging to see so much productive learning and the enthusiasm of the students,” Jenny added.
Jenny and Billy hope to meet up again in Juba of February 1, and fly home the following day.
Their full update can be read HERE.
Second update from Billy and Jenny (January 24) can be read in full HERE.