June 7, 2018
Francisco-fact: What is happening with Bishop John and the Diocese of Ezo?
It has been almost three months since we put Bishop John on his plane back to Kampala, with an overland trip back to Ezo. He made that trip safely, with energy, and a buoyant spirit. As he started out, we sent part of the proceeds from our fundraising efforts to Kampala for the Bishop to pick-up when he arrived.
This past week, I received a call from Bishop John (on the phone he was given while he was with us). He was in Yambio, a city which has greater access to the internet, international phone calls, and texting. He was there to participate in the enthronement of the Archbishop of South Sudan's internal diocese. He made the call to bring us up to date on the results of our financial support and to see if he could, while nearer to Kampala than in Ezo, get the next installment of our financial support.
After speaking with Bishop John, I thought it would be important to bring the parish up-to-date on the Bishop and the diocese. Our first two installments went into two primary uses. The first was to pay the teachers in the schools in the Diocese. This was an important contribution to the life of the diocese. It keeps teachers in the classrooms and prepares the next generation of students for the life in front of them. The second focus was the purchase of seeds so that crops might be planted and having local food available at harvest time. This too was accomplished and will add to the stability of life in Ezo over the next few months.
As we notified the parish a few weeks ago, Bishop John was traveling with a group to Yambio for the enthronement of their new Archbishop. The group was attacked by gunmen while traveling to Yambio. In their group was an ambulance which was taking a number of people to Yambio for medical care. One boy lost his life because the theft of the ambulance caused a delay in his treatment.
According to Bishop John, Ezo is relatively calm at the moment. The people of his diocese are carrying on their lives the best they can. But outside of Ezo, on the way to Yambio, things are not as ordered. Hence the attack on their travel group, and internally displaced persons, who can cause stress to the systems of relatively ordered places like Ezo.
An additional impediment to calmer life is the continued disruption of communications. Bishop John let me know that the generator that powers the Ezo cell phone coverage has been down due to lack of fuel, which means that he cannot communicate with us, either by cell phone or email, except when he is in Yambio. We should expect that these disruptions will continue, but he is hopeful that consistent access to communicating with us is not far off.
Bishop John sends his greetings to all his brothers and sisters here in Great Falls, and he sends special greetings to those who hosted him in their homes: the Andersons, Gralleys, Heines, and Mathias/Siegmunds.