Mission partner Lynn Treneary on feeling more useful away from home
I’m involved with very many things here in South Sudan, but what really inspires me is that in South Sudan, I have an ability to be useful and encouraging which I don’t have in the UK.
I’m based in Maridi in southwest South Sudan. CMS have been in Maridi for about 100 years now and I’m the fifth mission partner with CMS. It’s a very great honour. I’ve been there since 2011, first as a volunteer, then as a short-term mission partner and now a full mission partner. I work as an English teacher at Chaima Christian Institute and try to encourage and strengthen people in their faith in any way I can. Last year I became an ordained deacon of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan.
When I’m in the UK, I feel everybody’s way ahead of me in the way they’re achieving in life and managing their life. But in Sudan, I seem to manage quite well, and I manage to encourage in a way that’s quite surprising to me and to others. I’m surprised that I can encourage people who’ve got nothing. It sounds strange but actually, it’s Kingdom rules that we’re following. So I try to encourage Kingdom faith.
I’m part of a big community, and there’s a lot of ups and downs in everybody’s life here. There’s very poor health facilities, so there’s a lot more sickness and death than in the UK.
Step by step
Sometimes there are projects in South Sudan that I need to get involved with because they just haven’t got anybody else and they really need some help. As I step out in faith, I find that the Lord blesses that stepping out and enables me to be an assistant in, for instance, bringing medicines or resources where they’re required.
Often, life in Maridi is frustratingly slow because of the lack of infrastructure. You don’t really feel like you’re doing anything new or exciting or impactful. You’re just putting one foot in front of the other and trying not to go backwards.
But I know without a doubt that God is in this, partly because he does miracles for me every day, a recent one involving a not-insignificant amount of money!
We don’t have functioning banks in Maridi, so a lack of cash is always a problem. There’s a massive inflation rate as well, so you never know how much money you need or how long it’s going to last.
Before Christmas, I was desperately in need of four hundred dollars; I owed the immigration officer $200 for a visa, which I’d promised to get in Juba, but then I couldn’t get on the plane so I didn’t have the money. I needed another $200 to cover various other things. I needed four hundred dollars.
I said, “Well, Lord, I’m really interested in how you’re going to bring me this four hundred dollars, because I’m desperate.”
Then a bit later that day, one of my colleagues who lives next door came to my house and said, “Lynn, they’ve given us our wages all in one go.” He was going home for Christmas to Uganda, and he didn’t want to take it all with him in case he spent it all and said, “Will you look after this four hundred dollars for me and give it me in the New Year?”
I asked, “Can I spend it?” And he said, “Yeah, as long as you give it back to me in the New Year.”
There was my 400 dollars.