My name is Joseph Thuan Thien Truc Tran. I am a Salesian brother, qualified in Computer Science. As a member of the 152nd Missionary Expedition (2021), I was sent to South Sudan and currently live in Juba. In our compound, there is also the community of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and the Sisters of Charity of Jesus. We Salesians take care of three elementary schools, a secondary school, a technical school, the parish, the IDP camp, and the pre-novitiate. There are about 5,000 students, so we are like a small city of young people.
During a summer camp, I had the opportunity to see a film about the Korean Salesian missionary Fr. John Lee, who worked in Tonj, in present-day South Sudan. It is a story that touched me deeply. Father Lee was a doctor who sacrificed his life and career to come and serve the sick in Africa. As a doctor, he could have helped his family and elderly mother in many ways. But it was God's love that motivated him to respond to the invitation to serve in South Sudan.
I still cannot understand why many people get scared when they hear I am in South Sudan. They often ask me, "Why are you there? Is it safe there?" For me, being in South Sudan is not my decision or choice. I heard God's call through the Salesian Congregation, through the appeal for missionaries from the Rector Major. And I responded with total willingness.
It is also special for me to live with the people in South Sudan. I firmly believe that everywhere there are always difficulties, because of culture, people, epidemics ... but with our faith, with our efforts, and with God's grace, we Salesians can overcome all fears to come to South Sudan, as well as to the most difficult places in the world, to make our contribution.