Stuart and Maree Houghton are members of Mt. Roskill Baptist Church in Auckland, sent through Pioneers to minister in Kenya and South Sudan. Stuart is seconded to ACROSS, a Christian development organisation.
For more than ten years, ACROSS has been developing and broadcasting radio programs, delivering a wide range of socioeconomic, educational and spiritual teaching in many South Sudanese languages. These are transmitted to South Sudan communities by local radio and via Digital Audio Players (DAPs) supplied by ACROSS. The solar powered DAPs are portable and contain hundreds of hours of inspiring content that can change and save lives – as in the story of the Lul Bridge.
The people of the Morobo County regularly faced difficulties crossing a river during the rainy season. Children were unable to get to school and the people were unable to get to the market for supplies. The problem was their bridge. It was flimsy and constructed of three poles, so when the river was in full flow it was ineffective against the current. When situations became desperate, attempts at crossing the river occasionally resulted in the loss of life. One life lost was that of Ofeni Moga’s father.
Recently, the ACROSS radio project supplied fully loaded DAPs to the Morobo County community. One of the pre-recorded programmes was a testimony from the Lul community about a bridge they had constructed two years prior. The bridge had significantly improved their quality of life and provided them uninterrupted access to the market with their produce. The Lul’s experience made such an impact on a young Wudabi man that he immediately gathered the community together to discuss how they could improve their situation. Commitment to construct a better bridge sat at the top of their agenda.
Encouraged by the story of the Lul, the Morobo County community was spurred into action. They cut down huge logs, sawed planks and figured out how to build a bridge that would withstand their river’s flooding.
The young protagonist was Ofeni Moga (pictured on the new bridge). The bridge was constructed at the very place his father drowned. Motivated by his father’s sacrificial attempt to cross the river for the sake of his family and village, Ofeni Moga’s initiative has vastly improved life in his region during the rainy season. Their women can buy and sell at the nearby market at all times and children do not need to miss a class. The bridge is even strong enough to stand the weight of light vehicles bringing supplies into the area. Stuart and ACROSS are convinced: audio works!
The Association of Christian Resource Organisations Serving Sudan (ACROSS) was formed in 1972 when Kiwi Ken Tracey pulled together a collaboration of missions to help the people of southern Sudan rehabilitate. That region is now the world’s newest nation, South Sudan. Stuart Houghton is Programme Director overseeing ACROSS projects.