Trip up the White Nile to visit Fangok

“I am so grateful you came to see us again,” said one of the women in Fangok.  “I remember your visit when you stayed with the commissioner [in 2009].  Only James has come back since then, but now you have returned.  I am very encouraged.”

Another woman commented, “Thank you for coming.  Your visit is your gift to us….Pray for peace to continue.”

Precious comments by members of the Fangok Covenant Church during the welcome for us.  After two days of casting a vision for Community Health Evangelism (CHE) in Malakal and discussions with the leadership of the Evangelical Covenant Church of South Sudan (ECCSS) we spent our last full day on a river trip to Fangok.  We took a speed boat about 3 hours up the White Nile from Malakal.

Oubel welcoming party [800x600]

Choirs greeting us at Oubel







Along the way we stopped for a brief greeting at Oubel.  Their choirs were waiting alongside the river to greet us.

When visitors are greeting by the ECCSS the first order of business is always washing their feet.  We would have two and even three women at a time working to wash our feet and ankles and calves up to the knee.  The cool water feels good.  Then they would pull our arms forward and wash them.  We have even had our faces washed.  That does feel different to have someone else washing your face.

feet washing, Cindy & John [800x600]

Cindy and John Kerl holding their feet out to be washed and dried.








The welcome is a short service with several choir and congregational songs.  Then each guest brings their greetings.  We bring those form the churches we come from, the US and Congo, from Covenant World Mission and our families.  Cindy always brought a special greeting from the women in Congo.  Next is more songs and prayers and we’re done.  Last we share a meal together.


Lunch was three meat dishes (one with pasta), a pita like bread which we use to eat the meat, fried fish, thin Nuer bread and a porridge from corn meal.

Fangok churches- new & old [800x600]

the old church in the foreground with the new permanent roof shelter behind it










One woman commented, “We are very happy for our new church.  It helps us women because we no longer have to repair the building every year.  The new church saves us much labor.”  Precious.

James enjoying special dish

James really enjoys the corn porridge dish with warm milk.

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