As you may recall from previous posts (January Trip — Part One — Fortune), Africa Sunrise Communities has acquired land in Bor, Jonglei State, South Sudan.  We have some early photographs of the land to share today. There will be a few more images, of the cleared land, to share in the next few days.The water well on ASC land in Bor, Jonglei State, South Sudan.This is a parcel of about 2.5 acres on Airport Road, between the center of Bor town and the local airport.  This is a growth area for the community, as businesses build along this corridor where visitors and business people travel to and from the airport.The water well and abandoned buildings in these pictures were left behind by a previous owner. He was not able to develop the property successfully. With your help, we have faith that our efforts will be more fruitful! In fact, we have a deadline, since our agreement with the local government is that we will improve the land before the end of the year (December 2018). The water well on ASC land in Bor, Jonglei State, South Sudan. Abandoned building in background.The local government is allocating this land to Africa Sunrise Communities as the community’s contribution to our new school. We are grateful for their generosity and we are working hard to fulfill our part of the bargain.We also owe a debt of gratitude to Heart of Africa, a US-based foundation that is providing financial and logistical support to Christian leaders in Africa who are undertaking projects to build their communities.  You can learn more about their work on their website, link above.John Lual Nyok, cousin of Jacob Guot.Another asset in the early phases of work is Jacob Guot’s cousin, John Lual Nyok, who is clearing the land, putting up fence, and arranging for a sign to be erected. Thank you, John Lual!Back in the U.S., Jacob has engaged an architect who has already completed some preliminary plans for school buildings. When these plans have been approved and are ready for publication, we will share them with you.Until then, watch this space for photos of the cleared land, and consider supporting our work in South Sudan with a contribution on our Get Involved page. ________________________________You can also follow these posts on Facebook and on Twitter (@africa_sunrise). 

UPDATE:Here are pictures of the same land shown above, after it has been cleared.  We are rushing to complete architectural drawings and hire a contractor to begin work on the school!  How can you support us?  See our Get Involved page.Future site of school in Bor, Jonglei State, South Sudan. Facing west.Future site of school in Bor, Jonglei State, South Sudan. Facing west.

When I was a small boy in cattle camp, I had a dream that I would become a pastor among my people. In my dream I was wearing a white collar and standing before the church. I shared my dream with my cousins and they laughed at me.  No one in our family had ever been a pastor.During the terrible times when I was running for my life, I didn’t think much about what I would do in the future.  I just wanted to stay alive.  I ran hundreds of miles to what we thought was a safe place in Ethiopia.  Many died along the way. However, when I finally reached the crowded refugee camp, first in Ethiopia and then in Kenya, I had time again to consider my place in God’s plan. I learned to read so I could study the Bible, and I became a leader among the Sudanese people in the camp.I was chosen along with other “lost boys” to come to America in 2001, but I never forgot my dream. Seven years later, I returned to Sudan and part of my childhood dream became true – I received the white collar I had seen in my childhood dream. I was ordained in the Episcopal Church in Sudan, first as a deacon and then as a pastor.When I returned to Sudan, I was overwhelmed with the needs I saw there. Because of the danger caused by civil conflicts in South Sudan, I thought my original vision of returning to my homeland was not going to be possible soon. So, in June 2017 I travelled to northern Uganda where so many Sudanese people are staying in refugee camps. This seemed to be a good place to start a ministry, especially to children. However, there were so many obstacles – government requirements, proper licensing, and high costs – that I was discouraged. So, I asked God to show me where to begin.One of my heroes in the Old Testament is Nehemiah, because his story is so much like mine.  His people had been taken from their homes in Israel and were living in foreign lands, just like the Sudanese people today. They wept because of what had become of the place they loved, as we weep today when we learn what is happening at home. The beautiful city of Jerusalem he had known as a boy was in ruins, its people scattered. My own city of Bor is not the pleasant place of my childhood, and has been scarred by years of fighting. Now people are returning to see what remains of their home land.Nehemiah is not only my hero. He is my model. I am planning to take the same steps he took to serve his people as they returned home. Thanks to a sister organization, Heart of Africa, I will be making a survey trip back to my home area in South Sudan in January 2018. I will be visiting the city of Bor to see how best to help my people. I do not know at this time what all the needs are or if the area is secure enough for me to return on a permanent basis. However, like Nehemiah, I plan to meet with leaders of the government and churches to see how Africa Sunrise Communities can help.If you believe in this vision, you can help, too. We need to build a team of partners who will stand with us in this venture. Our current need is for personal support. If we carry out this mission, it must be a team effort. I have been working as a home health care worker to provide for my family. However, this is getting me no closer to my vision. I need to take a bold step to fulfill the vision to which God has called me and for which I have been training.Here are two ways you can help:

  1. We need partners who will support us on a monthly basis, so we can give full time to the work in South Sudan.
  2. While I am on this survey trip, Rebecca and I will take a “Family Leave” from our jobs with no pay. That will allow Rebecca to stay home with our children while I am away with no additional costs for child care. Because neither of us will be working, we will need funds for our basic living expenses.

We are at the doorway to our ministry in South Sudan, and I am filled with gratitude for your willingness to listen to my story and to be our partners. Now I ask you to consider what your part in this endeavor might be. Your friend and fellow worker,Jacob Thon GuotExecutive Director, Africa Sunrise CommunitiesP.S.  In Proverbs 19:18, God’s Word says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”  I know that my people are perishing, and I know that I have a vision to help them see the Good News and God’s solutions to their problems. 

Fighting continues in South Sudan, which over the past 3 years has seen more than 1 million of its people fleeing the country, according to the United Nations refugee agency. Over 185,000 have fled since July alone. This does not include the 1.6 million of its citizens who are displaced within the country, having fled their homes due to the violence. These figures mean that 20% of South Sudan’s population, or 1 in 5 of its citizens, are counted as refugees.refuge1Many of these refugees have fled the South Sudanese capital city of Juba, which is in the south of the country. Over one-third of these went south to Uganda, but other neighboring African countries have also taken in hundreds of thousands of these refugees.The fighting began in December of 2013, when President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Machar, the most powerful members of their respective Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups, struggled for control of their country. Machar was eventually forced out and replaced by another Vice President, but Machar does not recognize this change in leadership, and so the bloodshed continues, between and even within ethnic groups. A cease-fire instituted in August 2015 was soon broken.A Worsening SituationOne of the leaders in the refugee camps has written to Jacob to report that the camps at Kirangdongo and Yumba have been closed. Food shortages are severe; lack of leadership is hindering food rations from getting to those who need them most.sudanese-flagMany of those fleeing the violence are children who are alone. Their parents have been either killed or wounded and left behind as the children ran for their lives, or the families became separated in the confusion. This was the same situation in which Jacob Guot, founder of Africa Sunrise Communities, found himself when he became one of the “Lost Boys” of South Sudan, in earlier fighting. At the age of 7, he was forced to flee his village for his life and wander for thousands of miles over several years, before ending up in a Ugandan refugee camp. It was from there that he was brought to the United States, where he has since become an American citizen and obtained an education.Jacob is now working to raise funds for his organization to help with the plight of his fellow South Sudanese refugees in a particular refugee camp in Uganda. He is himself helping to support several children with funds to pay for education and school fees. His larger goal for Africa Sunrise Communities is for him to return to the Ugandan refugee camp and set up schools there for the children.donate-button-imagePlease join in helping him to fulfill this goal. Your gifts are tax-deductible, as Africa Sunrise Communities is a recognized 501(c)(3) organization. Please visit the “Get Involved” section of this website to give.Blessings,President and Founder,Jacob Guot

UntitledJacob Guot will be speaking at First United Methodist Church in Lancaster, PA, the weekend of Sunday, July 24, 2016. He will be sharing his story and his vision for work among the refugees of South Sudan in the three Sunday morning services. He will also be meeting with the Missions Committee of the church over the weekend.If you are in the area, Jacob invites you to attend the church that morning and to hear him speak. Jacob has just graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary. He is now seeking to build up his non-profit organization, Africa Sunrise Communities, by accepting speaking engagements and encouraging others to join him in carrying out his vision. He is seeking financial partners who will help him to do so.If you would like to help Jacob in his work with South Sudanese refugees, as he begins the process of helping them to achieve literacy and to begin the work of restoration and reconciliation, please check out the “Get Involved” section of this website and give generously to his work. All gifts are tax-deductible.

As President of Africa Sunrise Communities, I thank you for your ongoing prayers and support for the crisis situation in South Sudan. We have been notified that hundreds of thousands of civilians are fleeing the cities of Jalle Payam and Maar as a result of another heavy attack from the rebels. Shortly after we released the first newsletter, we learned that rebels attacked a passenger bus on the Juba-Nimule road In the South Sudan. Many passengers fled for their lives and hid in the bush to escape further violence. According to South Sudan Times, “…at least five people were reportedly killed.” passengers that survived and were able to flee were fortunate, but now they have the tough choice to travel back to Juba or proceed to Uganda. Even though the rebel situation appears to be under control, there is no way to know when another attack will happen.These continued attacks serve as a painful reminder of the uncertain situation in South Sudan. As you will recall from a few weeks back, my mother-in-law was killed in a similar rebel attack and four of my nieces and nephews were displaced. We at Africa Sunrise Communities have been raising money to transport these children to safety in a Ugandan Refugee Camp and provide food and school for them going forward. So far, out of the $2900 needed to get them to safety, we have raised $1,093. I spoke with people in the area last night and the situation is still very dangerous for the children. We’re looking to get them out of the village as soon as possible.As I reflect on these latest events, the Lord spoke to me through the following Scripture: My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you… (Galatians 4:19) I want to share with you my motivation and encouragement for Africa Sunrise Communities, as I feel that God has given me the task and burden to bring this ministry to realization. I feel that it is my responsibility to open the world’s eyes to the situation in my home country, and the joys and pains of “birth” that are mine to bear as I see this ministry take off. God has seen me through many difficulties and I trust He will provide for this ministry. However, I cannot do this alone—I need your support through these challenges as well as praise to our Lord in times of rejoicing. During this time of pain and suffering, I know that the Lord is restoring and I look forward to its fruition.Thank you for your continued prayers and support,Rev. Jacob Thon GuotPresident and Founder