Update from John at Bishop Gwynne College

We are taking a short break in our series on students at George Whitefield College to hear from John Jal Deng, a graduate of the scholarship program.

John has returned to Juba, South Sudan and is now teaching at Bishop Gwynne College (BCG), a central teaching institution which trains Christian leaders from all over the nation in the Episcopal Church. Church leaders are strategic in resolving tribal conflict, corruption and poverty, as well as facilitating development and reconciliation work. He was also ordained as an Episcopal Church of South Sudan minister on Sunday May 22 this year. Here are some of the few photos we received from his ordination:

Q&A with John

What have you been teaching at the college, John?

At The Episcopal University/Bishop Gwynne College, I’m teaching the four gospels and several New Testament books: Mathew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Paul’s letter to the Romans and the book of Revelation. I teach Christian Ethics as well.

I also teach study skills, which has never been taught here. Often students have no idea on how to reference and cite their work—they just copy things from books and websites without referencing it. As I have been taught about the dangers of plagiarism, I decided to help them voluntarily.

I spend most of my day teaching, especially on Wednesdays. I teach five hours a day, from 9-11:30 am and 2-4:30 pm.

Tell us about what has been going on at Bishop Gwynne College.

Bishop Gwynne College and other colleges have been upgraded to become universities, however I think The Episcopal University will take time to come to its full effect as there are many things to be done, and there is not much progress or changes up till now. I haven’t been told much. However, there is encouragement from church leaders and senior lecturers as the students have testified on how thankful they are to have been taught by me this semester.

What challenges and difficulties have you faced?

I find it challenging working as a full-time lecturer and a full-time librarian. I had previously never seen anyone doing both. In fact, it’s little bit hectic to manage the two, but I understand that the college has no capacity to employ a professional librarian, as to find someone to do that, they would need to provide reasonable payment. So I just accepted to request for help, though doing the two jobs is not that encouraging. Working in the library from 9am-5pm without any power for the last four months is a great testimony in this hot city called Juba.

At the moment, all the money goes to accommodation and food, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, water and internet bundles. I’m always left with nothing, but one has to accept such in this city where the the economic crisis is high.

What are you excited about at the moment?

The fact that I lecture at Bishop Gwynne College is what I have been dreaming about, and I’m very delighted to see these pastors, preachers, churches and community leaders being transformed through the gospel.

I teach them all sorts of information that they need and they really appreciate it. They call me the best teacher, though I don’t think I am. But that encourages me, because it shows that they are benefiting from my teaching.

Thank you again for your spiritual and financial support. God bless!

For those of you who are supporters of CORE, we thank God for your partnership with us in prayer and in giving. Why not take a minute to pray for CORE right now? We have included a summary of prayer points below.

You can also check out the other interviews we did with other current students: Elias, Kasmiro, Alex, Seme and Philip.

Give thanks for…

  • The successful completion of John’s studies and his transition into full-time work at Bishop Gwynne College
  • Encouragement from church leaders, lecturers and students who have benefited from John’s teaching
  • Opportunities to see Christian leaders being transformed through the gospel of Jesus

Please pray for…

  • Students of Bishop Gwynne College as they learn from the Scriptures and improve their study skills
  • The heavy workload John manages as a full-time lecturer and a full-time librarian
  • Provision of John’s daily needs while living in a relatively expensive city with economic challenges