Newsletter – SJW - South Sudan/USA Update, February 2015
I knew I would be sad. And I am, in a good way.
I had a wonderful goodbye celebration in Mundri before I departed, with more than 350 adults and even more children in attendance. It provided an opportunity for everyone to mourn, celebrate, dance, and give thanks together. Truly a blessing.
Coming back to the USA one month ago has left me with mixed emotions. I am delighted to see friends and family, but I am very much missing my life, family, and friends in South Sudan. This was all to be expected, but the sorrow remains. I loved people in South Sudan, and they loved me well. I don’t want to rush into whatever is next for me, rather I want to mourn this loss in my life, reconnect with God, and then move forward with purpose and vision.
This transition is a major one, and I know it will take time to fully adjust. A huge part of my heart is still in South Sudan, and I am trying to figure out how to love and communicate with people there, even though I am no longer physically present. I am also trying to figure out life in the USA and discern what all may be in store for me over the next few weeks, months, and years.
I am currently in Kalamazoo, MI attending a three-week renewal, growth, and retreat program. I am surrounded by missionaries, pastors, and church workers. Some with major struggles (anxiety, depression, marital issues, etc.), and some like me, trying to forge ahead in the midst of transition – leaving one culture and entering into another. Each day consists of morning academic lectures followed by counseling sessions. Intense at times, but overall good.
Throughout my travels, I would be delighted to connect with as many of you as possible. You have supported me in ways immeasurable, and I am grateful. If you ever want hear more about mission work, missionary life, South Sudan or Uganda, then I am your man!
Where I am headed?
My hope it to spend all of 2015 in various parts of the USA, but I VERY much desire to continue with long-term oversees missionary work. Lord willing, I would be delighted to start a new assignment in early 2016. I will soon begin the process of exploring various mission agencies and trying to discern what countries and what type of work would be a good fit for me. I am open to going anywhere, but I am primarily exploring locations where there are few to no Christians and/or the Gospel is not being shared. I like rural, frontier locations and pioneering work, but I am open to any suggestions!
What does this mean for current financial and prayer supporters?
I will be under World Harvest Mission/SERGE until the end of April. I had originally thought it would be March, but if you are a financial supporter and would be willing to continue your support until the end of April, this would help me in covering my travel, insurance, and unexpected costs.
The current renewal and debriefing program I am attending is good but expensive, costing $4,000 for me to attend. I do not currently have enough money in my account to cover the entire costs. Any additional support would be greatly appreciated to help cover this major expense.
World Harvest Mission/SERGE has officially transferred their website to a new domain to reflect the change in names. You can find my current information here: http://www.serge.org/staff/id-51713/
February 28 – return to my parents’ home in Fort Recovery, OH.
March - travel to Philadelphia to the headquarters of World Harvest Mission/SERGE for a day of debriefing.
March or April – travel to Franklin, TN to visit friends for one to two weeks.
May/June/July – I am very much interested in attending a tropical medicine graduate level course. There are only a few of these courses around the globe, and their focus and timing varies. I have narrowed down my choice to the University of Minnesota (May), University of West Virginia (June-July), or Johns Hopkins (July). All three programs require ~300 hours total of either in person, online, or a combination of classes, and I would have to find housing. The price also varies between programs and will likely play a major factor in my decision to attend or not.
Depending on when I take the tropical medicine course factors into when I will start working clinically as a physician assistant. I will be pursuing locum tenens (short-term, traveling) assignments across the country. I am primarily looking for positions in the Pacific Northwest, northern California, or Alaska. Most contracts are thirteen weeks in length, and the actual assignment type various from rural, urban, Indian Health Services, VA centers, correctional facilities, etc.
Please join me in praying for:
- -Rest, renewal, and growth as I transition from South Sudan to the USA.
- -Wisdom as I consider various tropical medicine programs, locum tenens work as a physician assistant, and return to long-term missionary work.
- -Peace, as South Sudan is very unstable, and war and fighting continue on.
- -Deep rootedness in God as I feel unsettled during this transition. I am prone to think I am bothering people as I travel from house to house, asking for a place to sleep, taking other peoples’ time, and as I try to express my needs, hopes, and desires. I would love to fully dwell in the freedom that Christ provides.
- -John Kaya, the young man I lived with in South Sudan. He is about to start high school, and I am no longer there to help him figure things out or provide food and shelter for him. It’s difficult to be an older brother and help him with his problems when I am not physically there.
Keep in touch!
I recently updated my blog site with a multiple-part series about living in a place of war. I’ll continue to update as I can, and soon I’ll be posting some fictional stories that are based on real events in my life.
I have a slew of photos to post on Facebook. When I post them, I’ll try to include commentary on cultural insight and events. I’ll soon be posting photos from my goodbye celebration, including numerous photos that kids from South Sudan took using my digital camera. You can see more here:
Thank you for journeying along.
A life full of blessing. A life trying to live for the Lord.
-Scott J. Will