What an amazingly refreshing day of work. It’s hard to remember a day when I worked so hard, and felt so tired, and felt so good! The teams of 3 Malawians, 3 Pittsburghers, and 3-6 South Sudanese made substantial progress in terms of talking about what it would mean for us to function more collegially in the years to come.
Our group started the day in worship, where we noted the interaction between Paul and Titus and the importance of relationship in ministry – even when there was fruit to be had, Paul could not take it because he missed Titus so much. Titus grew from a “project” to a student to a colleague to a coworker to a friend to one with his own call and commission. God used the partnership and relationship between these men to accomplish great ends in the first century.A highlight of the morning included listening to the stories of each church. The South Sudanese told of how they have basically been driven from their homes in the north and forced to begin new lives in the South. People were left without employment or housing; most of our South Sudanese friends told of their wives and children who lived in another country because it was both safer and cheaper for them to do so.
We then considered issues such as the gifts with which each tradition has been blessed, the challenges and opportunities faced by current cultural contexts and the ways in which collaboration might help each church. Finally, we drafted a proposal to circulate amongst our respective traditions in the hopes that real and lasting fruit might develop from this time together. Make no mistake, there are long and serious questions to be considered in the months to come, but there was definitely a sense I which the upper room at the Aron Hotel in Juba was filled with the Holy Spirit today. The worship and prayer with which we ended was a refreshing conclusion to an exhausting day.