Saturday, July 9, 2011

Celebrating Independence in Africa

The Charters of Freedom

A New World Is At Hand

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." - United States Declaration of Independence

Celebrating Our Freedom in Africa

While people in the United States were celebrating their independence, the Crossroads UMC Mission Team celebrated with them.  Dave Bennett coordinated with the staff of the hotel here in Africa to have a 4th of July party.  The Mission Team enjoyed sharing stories while eating barbecue and cake (not easily found in most parts of Africa).  Our new friends joined us for our fireworks show with sparklers.  Everyone had fun sharing stories with each other and playing together, like kids.

South Sudan Celebrates Their Independence

A New Nation is Born

A few days after the Mission Team celebrated their freedoms, a new nation was born. South Sudan Africa celebrates their freedom for the first time on July 9, 2011. See the CNN video of South Sudan's Independence Ceremony here.

A few years ago I met with David Choat, South Sudan Diplomat to U.S. to learn more about this mission of freedom.  Over the course of time I got to know other people supporting this mission: Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, Tiseke Kasambala, Roger Winter (former State Department Special Representative for Sudan), and many more volunteers of GOSS Mission USA.

Cathy Norman of Crossroads UMC in Ashburn, Virginia and other volunteers from the Washington DC Metro area were very determined to see peace in Africa and Freedom of South Sudan.

We worked together on Social Media Strategies to share this message of hope.  This strategy included using Facebook, Twitter, Ustream, Skype, Blogs, & Google Tools to share stories of hope.

I am humbled by the limitless compassion these volunteers have for others.  I hope more people find the courage to share their stories with others.

Lessons Learned Along This Path Toward Freedom
  • Never underestimate the power of an idea
  • Never underestimate the power of the people
  • Never underestimate the power of stories
  • Never underestimate the power of social media
  • Never give up hope

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