Year Joined MKLM: 2017
Country: South Sudan
Rural Areas of Eastern Equatoria
Ministry: Promoting justice and peace through education in Eastern Equatoria
Ministry Area: Education and Leadership Training. Parish support – schools, outreach, small Christian communities, women’s groups
Goals of Ministry: Be a presence and witness through action of God’s love and mercy.
Prevention and reconciliation/restoration. I work in education of youth toward acceptance and tolerance of all ethnicities.
South Sudan became the newest country in the world in 2011. However it has been crippled with inter-tribal and intra-ethnic violence and conflicts throughout the country for the past 50 years. Entire generations of children are growing up in this toxic environment. My witness displays another way through reflection on the life of Jesus.
I support ongoing efforts in peace and reconciliation at the tribal level, clan level and down to the family level. I write the human interest stories and impact articles to show progress and challenges in this type of intervention. Through formal education, workshops and trainings, we hope to see a change of attitude toward a more tolerant and respectful society.
I work with local interviews of people with compelling stories and histories. I also try to identify and record specific cultural folklore and tales for the prosperity and future generations of the ethnic group. Many of the isolated communities have had limited or no experience with the outside world and therefore do not have exposure to an international foreigner. Through our encounters, people come to realize we are all united under Christ in love and fellowship.
Gabe is a parishioner at St. Bartholomew Church in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, in the Diocese of La Crosse. He has a master in public health from the University of Boston and a bachelor of science from the University of Dayton in health, education and school health administration. Gabe obtained his certification as a nursing assistant from Mid-State Technical College (Wisconsin). He enjoys learning languages, having studied six besides English, including Amharic (the language in Ethiopia), Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.
Gabe’s inspiration in life has always been an uncle who was a Franciscan T.O.R. priest and served for 33 years in India and Brazil. Gabe was well aware of Maryknoll Lay Missioners over the years, and so he reached out to its director of missions, Marj Humphrey, about joining. Having already served in Africa over 10 years, he has now returned to South Sudan as a long-term Maryknoll lay missioner.
Gabe has lived and worked overseas in several different relief, development and mission organizations for almost 30 combined years in 11 countries, many in Africa. While with the Peace Corps in Kenya in the 1980s, he worked as a water technician. He was the medical director of two refugee camp hospitals with American Refugee Committee and for four years served in Ethiopia with Food for the Hungry International. He also did some development consulting in Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, South Africa and Peru. Gabe was the Central American Coordinator of the Volunteer Missionary Movement in El Salvador for almost four years. After that, he worked for the Association for International Teaching, Educational and Curriculum Exchange (AITECE Ltd) in China as an English professor in three different institutions. In 1998 Gabe was offered a dual post in Rome, Italy, with the international men (USG) and women religious (UISG) office for Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation (JPIC) and the Solidarity with South Sudan secretariat. Gabe also served in South Africa with the Southern Africa Catholic Bishops Conference for a short time.
After his return to the U.S. in 2010, he served for seven years as the coordinator of religious education at St. Stephen Parish in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. In the summer of 2016, he volunteered as professor in South Sudan at the Solidarity Teacher Training College in Yambio. The following year he returned to serve there with Maryknoll Lay Missioners for 18 months before being transferred to Juba in August 2019 to serve as Project Officer for Solidarity. Since October 2020 he has been working in the remote project of Holy Trinity Peace Village Kuron, Eastern Equatoria of South Sudan.