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May 2016
RECONCILIATION - EDUCATION - COMMUNITY BUILDING
From the Executive Director
 
21st Century Muslims Helped by 1st Century Centurion!
 
A senior officer in the Roman army, commanding forces occupying Israel two thousand years ago, did something both generous and bizarre.  He built a Jewish synagogue.  Cradled in the polytheism of the Roman Empire, he must have found the monotheism of occupied Israel initially jarring.  Luke 7 in the New Testament, read in churches around the world this past Sunday, tells the story of the grateful members of the congregation appealing to Jesus to heal the servant of this righteous Gentile.  The Catholic Mass quotes the Centurion’s message to Jesus, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
 
Young Muslims have volunteered to help rebuild the twice-destroyed Catholic Cathedral in Torit South Sudan as a call for peace and reconciliation.  But the initiative cannot begin without the Vatican’s approval.  This week’s reminder of the Centurion’s generosity and vision 2,000 years ago may prove to be the key in opening up the way for Pope Francis’ blessing. 
 
Update from Manute Bol Primary School
Turalei, South Sudan
 
 
We have news from the Manute Bol Primary School in Turalei. Unfortunately, during the rainy season, heavy winds and rain have blown away bamboo structures around classroom walls and there is a problem with stagnant water. Additionally, the latrines have been overflown and there are currently no trucks able to remove waste. However, the students have expressed their excitement for new roofing, and are in deep appreciation for the new benches and desks and have provided thanks to Sudan Sunrise donors. The school has sixteen teachers, all of which are modestly compensated volunteers, and has three new computers also thanks to a grant from Sudan Sunrise. Currently, there are over eight hundred students of whom three hundred are refugees from Unity State and the Abyei area. True to Manute Bol's vision, the school offers classes for everybody regardless of their tribal background.
 
The ongoing crisis in South Sudan has created difficult conditions for the school including little or no pay for teachers, a lack of uniforms and books for the students, and no electricity.
Daniel in the Cattle Camps
Jonglei State
 
 
The Rev. Daniel Deng Kuot (pictured here, third from right, with team members) recently led a mission team to preach peace in five different cattle fields in Jonglei State. The young men who care for the cattle at times are the source of violence and other destructive behaviors. The situation has been exacerbated by a recent introduction of weapons in the area. Daniel and his team met with the youth to discuss the devastation that weapons can bring to a community. We pray their call to peace will have lasting impact.  Daniel also reported that a virus that had affected and killed many livestock is still rampant.
 
Contract Approved for Wunthou!
 
Thanks to an anonymous donor and Abraham Boll Makur, the Director of the Lost Boys Education Operation (a project in cooperation with Sudan Sunrise), construction of latrines, a food storage building and kitchen for the Wunthou primary school is now approved.  This construction, together with the well drilled earlier this year, will make the school eligible for food donations from the World Food Program.  With help from volunteers in the community, the school will soon be able to offer free school lunches to the students! 
New Board Member
 
 
We are pleased to announce that Sudan Sunrise has a new board member! Ms. Mary LeGrand Petersen Asel is the CEO of Orange Twist LLC and brings extensive international business and non-profit experience. Welcome, Mary!
UNESCO Interested Torit Cathedral Project
 
To our delight, earlier this month the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Head of Office in Juba reached out to Sudan Sunrise regarding the Cathedral rebuilding project in Torit. He expressed that the initiative was very important, and inquired how UNESCO could help. Since the future of the project hangs on Vatican approval, we have asked for UNESCO's help to present in reaching Pope Francis.  The General Secretary of UNESCO met with the Pope earlier this year, and information on the project has been sent to UNESCO’s headquarters to ask if she would contact Pope Francis on the project’s behalf.
River Bend Middle School and the Lost Boys
 
"The Skype session went insanely well!", wrote a teacher who asked to have her students interview a Lost Boy.   Sixth graders at River Bend Middle School in Loudon County, VA are reading, "A Long Walk to Water." We arranged a Skype meeting between the spellbound students and Abraham Boll Makur, who spoke of his harrowing ordeal as a Lost Boy.  The interview was taped for other students to see. We are in conversation with River Bend about a possible event in the next school year to raise funds for a well in a community in South Sudan that has no clean water. We would love to connect with other teachers who would like to do the same!

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