Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fundraiser Featuring "Faces of Malwal" Photo Series

We have great news for you!  After many requests for more of Kathlyn Kinney's beautiful portrait photos, we have released a calendar and greeting card series as a thank-you gift for your donation this winter.

The calendars are 12-months and feature Kathlyn's stunning portraits. (Suggested donation $20)

The greeting cards are two copies of each of six of the most-loved photos in the series.  These beautiful photos show Malwal's people--it's heart and soul! Their beauty and pride and resiliency.  (Suggested donation $15).

Proceeds from card sales will benefit the well project in Malwal which will occur in April 2013.

You can purchase cards at the church (Kent Lutheran Church 336 2nd Ave N Kent, WA 98032) or make a donation on our Fundly page ( and forward your receipt to Debbie Hunt or Jessica Ward(deborahjhunt @ or jessc098 @ be sure to include instructions of which items you want, and  if you need your cards or calendar shipped.

Please note: Please add $4 per item to cover shipping/packaging.

Kent Lutheran Church is a non-profit 501(c)3.  Thank you for considering us this holiday season! 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Kent Lutheran Shoe Drive "Kicks Off" Again!

After last year's tremendous success with the shoe drive, we'll be re-launching the shoe drive this winter.

Who:  Anyone can participate!
What:  Used shoes in re-usable condition.
When: October 15 through January 31 at various locations in Western Washington.
Why:  The used shoes are collected and re-sold to wholesalers who make the available in developing nations, thus providing high-quality and low-cost footwear for people who may not have otherwise been able to purchase them--it also provides our team with an income for our ministry work in South Sudan.
How:  You collect shoes at your place of work, school or worship, and we'll collect them whenever you need it.  Our shoes get packed/sorted and shipped abroad.

To sign up to host a collection drive at your school, church or office, email us at or call Jessica Ward at 253-350-5427 with questions.

To sign up to recieve shoe drive progress, updates, pickup schedules, etc, please register here:
Subscribe to our newsletter

Image Credit: Stuart Miles with

Monday, June 11, 2012

To see the new well in Bethlehem (a neighboring village to Malwal, about 90 minutes walk away) see here.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Worship in Malwal, South Sudan

A glimpse from our team's visit to Malwal Parish.  Two hundred and three people attended worship that day.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


KLC team returns early from Malual, South Sudan.

Two team members returned to the states last Tuesday, due to one team member having a flare up of a chronic illness (she's doing fine now, but another team member accompanied her home). Sunday morning after worship in Malual, most of the of the mission team left Malual, about a week ahead of schedule. The team experienced many successes, and several major struggles. One person remains in the Malual area for a few weeks, and several more have 3-6 weeks remaining in the Gambella region visiting with relatives. Everyone is healthy and safe.

Unfortunately, upon beginning our water filtration project, we discovered substantial barriers to success:

First, there is no natural gravel in the area, scarce rocks had to be collected and broken by sledgehammer into appropriate sizes in order to make the concrete and filter media.

Second, and most critical, the water filter concrete forms that we ordered through the technical college in Addis Ababa were defective. The steel was too soft, and we often had to make field repairs, additionally, the insides of the steel molds were rough, which prevented any of the concrete forms constructed being extracted from the mold successfully. We'll go on Friday and ask them to remedy the defects or return our payment.

Finally, the quality of cement mix available is very poor, and the nearest place to buy high quality cement is two-days away by 4x4, and cost-prohibitive for this community.

The team is working this week to remedy the forms, and find a new project for them (we already know two different businesspeople interested in biosand in Ethiopia). We'll regroup in the states to decide what water solution may best fit Malual. In the meantime, we spread the word about boiling water and using sunlight disinfecting (SODIS). We taught them about waterborne parasites (a prevalent one in the area is a worm that attacks the eyes and causes blindness--when we explained that the blindness comes from the water people were much more eager to proactively manage their water quality).

The team did experience several successes. First, “school” for the children was wildly successful. The children were eager to learn, and we held a several-hour class each morning, and a young adults session every evening. We supplied the school with pencils, sharpeners, notebooks, soccer balls and books. We also donated school supplies to schools in Lafto (Ethiopia), Gambella (Ethiopia) and Bethlehem (South Sudan). We donated “pillowcase dresses” and “bandana shorts” provided by generous volunteers and Little Dresses for Africa's large donation of clothing. Malual's pastor, Pastor Steven is eager to continue school, and is well-qualified to do so.

The team also provided some basic medical care to the community in Malaul, and supplied the local clinic with antibiotics, antimalarial medication, reading glasses and wound care supplies.

We decided to drive through from Malual to Addis Ababa for both the experience and for cost effectiveness of the trip. There were some interesting experiences on the way back from buying mangoes and bananas at a road side stand to having one member of our group (Peter) investigated at a check point which at the time was a little scary (upon discovering his US citizenship, the police left him alone). At the end of the first day, a six hour ride, we stopped in Gambella for the night and stayed in yet another guest house that was owned by the deputy Ambassador to South Sudan. It was very warm but quite comfortable. The next day we were on the road again by 10:00 A.M and drove 12 hours and spent the night in Jimma, a bustling metropolis (not even being sarcastic here—this was a big town) where the coffee is grown. We drove another day for about 6 hours and we made Addis Ababa by 4:30 P.M. We are staying the same guest house that the ladies were in before we left and were then comfortably set to spend the rest of the week in Addis. The next day we spent the morning resting from our road trip and the afternoon doing touristy things. The group decided that it would be fun to look at the Ethnic Studies Museum at the University of Addis Ababa and Entoto Mountain, which offers spectacular views of Addis from above.

Today Peter left the team, flying to Juba to meet his family, who he hasn't seen since moving to the states many years ago. Please keep his journey in your prayers, especially as the weather in Juba is even warmer than we experienced in Malual (average afternoon temps were approx 120 F, but a nice breeze off the river kept it from being too oppressive).

Tomorrow morning, we drive two hours to Nasaret, Ethiopia where we'll volunteer with the English Alive academy for the day. We haven't planned the rest of our week, but we're actively looking for volunteer opportunities as well as cultural and historic sites to see.

We feel your prayers surrounding us all, and they have sustained us. Thank you for your continued support--we know that the community of Malual feels it too. Please continue to pray for good health--we've all been much healthier than expected, and pray for those who are staying on to visit relatives in the Gambella region.

Much love from all of us! -- The remaining SSCRP team: Gach, Jane, Jess, Reuben, Judy and Coleen.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Update from Ethiopia- Leaving for South Sudan

Yesterday morning Gach, Bob and Jim got in the land rover and rode with our gear--they will spend two days getting to Gambella to meet us there.

Today we're on the way to Gambella--we'll fly from Addis to Gambella--a quick 90 minute flight, and stay in Gambella for the night getting the rest of our supplies. Tomorrow, we will drive across Savannah 60 miles until we reach the Baro river, which we'll cross by foot or by canoe.

Yesterday, some of the team who was feeling under the weather stayed behind and visited a school, others visited family in the area, and another group went to Debre Laganos in the Oromo region, where we saw a 735 year old graveyard (where anyone can be buried for no charge) as well as a church, the largest monastery in Ethiopia. The 500 monks there live in caves in the cliffs. Since it is lent, many people were camped in the churchyard, where they enjoy one meal a day of beans or chickpeas per day, and then climb (pilgrimage) up to the cliff where the church founder lived and prayed for 29 years--always standing, with spears around him so he wouldn't fall asleep. The cave is considered a miracle, because it constantly weeps water, yet the ceiling and walls are completely dry. Pilgrims may only drink this water during the time they stay at the church for lent, so it is a major effort of going up and down this steep rocky trail for water.  A half-dozen team members climbed to the top to see the cave.  We were in awe of the kind of faith furor that would move people to these practices--often making the entire climb barefoot--leaving bloodied stones along the way.
Later, more climbing, this time down, we were able to observe and cross an arched stone bridge, built by the Portuguese in the 1600s, made from limestone and ostrich shells. This bridge was used by Portuguese traders.
The day before yesterday, we spent at the Merkato shopping "Africa style" which was an overwhelming experience but very effective.

We're eager to share photos, but the connection is slow. A limited list is here:

We are deeply satisfied with our Africa experience, and reminded of a call to prayer for the three team members driving. Please keep them in your prayers, it is a difficult journey.

This will likely be the last "live" update from Africa for a while, as we won't have internet connection in Gambella or Malual, we'll be phoning up to the church as often as we can with updates, and Jen M. will send them out.

Thank you all for your prayers and support.

--Your friends from KLC South Sudan Community Restoration Program

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Update from Ethiopia

Selam!! De'na wot!? (Hello, how are you all? In Amharic).

We arrived in Ethiopia's capital city Addis Ababa yesterday. After some negotiations (no, we won't pay bribes to get humanitarian aid through customs...) we got through unscathed.
We were met at the airport by the staff from our two guest houses, which are an easy 3 block walk in a safe neighborhood, from one another. We freshened up, and went to the new embassy for South Sudan. It is a beautiful building, with fantastic gardens. Deputy Ambassador David Deng is very supportive of our work, and offered assistance for security if we needed it. He may also accompany us as far as Gambella, Ethiopia. We'll discuss that more later today at lunch.

In the afternoon, we did some tourist visits including the Ethiopian Orthodox Church that Hailie Selassie attended, which was modeled after Moses' temple.

This morning, some of the guys are going shopping for equipment, but the most of us will stay home—foreigners shopping just raises prices. Gach will work with our guide and right-hand-man Abraham, who has been a tremendous resource for us for the past several months.

In the meantime, the rest of us will re-pack our cargo containers to go by truck to South Sudan, while we wait for our flight on Friday. We'll go to lunch with the deputy ambassador of South Sudan, and then some tourist visits just outside of Addis for the rest of today.

Andrew, the last member of our team arrives this morning around 8:30 at the airport.

We appreciate your prayers for safety and health. So far, everyone is feeling OK—we have a couple of people with colds, but otherwise jet-lag is our major concern.

Friday we fly to Gambella, and Saturday we arrive in Malual.

Wishing you the best,
The team,
Gach, Jane, Bob, Kathlyn, Nyareu, Kong, Peter, Colleen, Judy, Jessica, Andrew and Reuben.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mission team departs

On Saturday, the mission team is on the way to South Sudan. We covet your prayers and support. Thank you to everyone for your support, your labor, rides to the airport, donations of aid to the community in Malual and your prayers. Thanks for spreading the word about our project on Facebook pages, with letters to friends, or inviting friends to join KLC. Approximately half of the funds raised came from outside the KLC “family.”
Going with the team is 600 pounds of humanitarian supplies. The tools and equipment to build the latrines and water filters, plus 175 little dresses and 75 shorts for children, hundreds of pencils and erasers, several pounds of undergarments (requested by the women of South Sudan). Three grain mills, twenty-two soccer balls, soccer jerseys, fifty pairs of reading glasses, dozens of children’s books, maps globes, and school materials along with dozens of pairs of shoes.
Because there are no roads in the area, we cannot send equipment by freight—everything had to be packed into checked suitcases for the airlines, and we’ll truck them ourselves.
If you’d like to pray along with the team members, the office has a list of team members, and a calendar of flights and activities—stop in for a copy!

How to follow along
We appreciate all those desiring updates from the field. Telecommunication is very difficult in South Sudan as it can only be done by mobile phone. We will call in to Jenny Morton and she’ll be posting updates for us in the following places. Team members will post while we’re in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, at the beginning and end of our trip.

To follow along, you can use any of the methods below.
1. Our Facebook page. This gets updated very regularly—sometimes several times a day with snippets of information, news, trivia, motivational quotes and news from the team. This is also the first place photos go! Find us at You must join Facebook to see updates (free).
2. The Blog: Photos and news get posted here on a regular basis. You can also see a news ticker with news from South Sudan from twitter on the right hand side. You can also find the local time there.
3. The Mailchimp account. If you forget to check Facebook or the blog, you can get the latest news delivered to your email box!
4. Check the bulletin board at the church. Just outside the restrooms at the church is a bulletin board with all the information about the team’s latest activities.
Important Dates
The team leaves Seattle on Saturday the 25th, and arrives in Addis on the 27th. After a few days to acclimate to the time change, the team flies to Gambella, Ethiopia on March 2, and will travel to Malual on March3, and should arrive late that day. On March 17, the team will travel back to Gambella, and most of the team leaves Addis on March 20th arriving in Seattle on the 21st. Some get back the 24th and 30, and five more are staying through April.

Monday, February 13, 2012

South Sudan Mission Team Prepares for Departure!

The 2012 team: Jane, Bob, Peter, Judy, Koang, Reuben, Jessica, Coleen, James (traveling later this year), Nyareu, Andrew. Not pictured: Kathlyn, Gach, Jacob and JJ.

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 500 is nearing departure!

Next week, 10 team members will leave from Seattle, one more from Kentucky and will join the three team members already in South Sudan.

We covet your prayers for traveling safety and health.

For those who have asked about our flight schedule: The team leaves Seattle on Feb 25th in the evening, and flies until arriving in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia’s capitol city) on March 27th. We’ll stay in guest houses and acclimate until March 2 when we fly to Gambella, Ethiopia, a city on the western border of Ethiopia. We’ll spend one night in Gambella, and then drive the next day to Malual, in South Sudan, a half-day’s drive. If you have specific concerns, the KLC office has a copy of hte

There are several ways to follow along with the team’s adventures.

1. Our facebook page:

2. Our Mailchimp mailing list: (you can subscribe at that link)

3. Our blog

South Sudan in the News

Many people have expressed concern for the safety of those traveling. Rest assured, we are serving in community with the local people, who are friends and relatives of team members. This affords some protection, as we are not strangers to this place. Also, this particular area of South Sudan has been very peaceful. However, if you would still like to catch local news broadcasts (in English) the Internet is a great place to do that. Voice of America offers a Sudan In Focus podcast.

Meet the team

The blog has brief biographies of each team member. As we travel, we hope to send updates from the perspective of each traveler. Meet them all at

Friday, January 13, 2012

Our Mission and the Pibor Conflict

We've heard concerns from many friends for the safety of our mission team. The Pibor Conflict, which has resulted in 5,000 civillian casualties in South Sudan, has many of our friends concerned. Please pray for the people of the Pibor region during this difficult time. Kent Lutheran's team will be working in a Nuer region of South Sudan, with the Gajaak Nuer clan in Upper Nile State. The aggressors in the Pibor Conflict were the Lou Nuer, a different clan, in the Jonglei State. The tribal war in Jonglei between the Lou Nuer and Murle tribes is about grazing terrority and power, and predates the country's civil war. In fact, the conflict dates to the 1920s according to Peter Manyang, our team's resident newshound, who originally comes from Jonglei State. He assures us that the Lou Nuer and Murle borders do not cross state lines. Remember, in independence, the state and local governments stayed intact, and transferred only national allegiance, so state governments are aware of these regional conflicts. Crossing a state border would be catastrophic for any aggressor. Also, Peter reports that by 4x4, the Pibor Region is a four-day drive from our mission site in Upper Nile, and the Lou Nuer are not using vehicles. (Click the map above to enlarge). For safety-purposes, our team is registering with the US State Departments' STEP program, including latitude and longitute of our camp, and radio signals. We'll also be close enough to cross the National border to Ethiopia if any conflict were to arise, our team could evacuate in under one day. Even with these assurances of safety, we covet your prayers for health, safety and peace in South Sudan.