Who We Are

Who We Are

Left to right: John Chol Meen, Director of Schools, Charles Chol Paweer, Head Master-LWP; Peter Malual Marier, Co-Director Christian Leadership; Gabriel Matur Maker, Head Master-ALP; Samuel Maker Muorin, Driver/Mechanic; Isaac Bol Macuoc, Director of ACM; Mary Agum Malath, Assistant Director of ACM/Women”s Ministry Director; Kuot Aguto, Agri-business Administrator; Monika Agar Gai, Women’s Ministry Deputy/Chaplain ALP; Deborah Akot Turic, Women’s Ministry Deputy/Sewing School Teacher


Living Water Community Transformation, Inc. (LWCT) is a United States IRS 501(c)(3) organization formed with the purpose of socially and spiritually enriching the community of Akot, South Sudan. Akot is a rural community with a total population of approximately 12,000 people scattered over a large geographic area. LWCT was founded by Ann Rao of Goodlettsville, Tennessee who was led by God to minister to the needs of the Dinka people living in the Akot area. As President of LWCT, Ann is joined by a Board of Directors, most of whom have served in Akot, each called by the Lord to this ministry.

Our goal is to be selfless in our mission, devoted to the cause we have been assigned, and continuously listening for God’s direction. All serve as volunteers with no compensation for time or travel. LWCT’s leadership team in Akot consists entirely of local Christian nationals dedicated to leading others to Christ. The organization is registered as Akot Christian Ministries in South Sudan. Simply sustaining life in Akot is very difficult but we hope to impact the people of Akot in a holistic way that will improve their day-to-day existence. The LWCT Board of Directors and ACM Leadership Team work together as witnesses to the love of Jesus Christ in the community of Akot, South Sudan.


Board of Directors

Ann Rao

Born and lived in War, West Virginia until entering Lees McRae College in North Carolina. Ann relocated to Tampa, Florida in 1968 where she continued her education. She earned a degree in nursing, a BA in psychology and an MA from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Ann’s work experience consists of various clinical management positions within the healthcare industry, including hospital administration. Ann has many years of experience leading medical mission organizations. She and her husband, Bala Rao, MD live in Goodlettsville, TN and worship at Judson Baptist Church. They have three adult children and six grandchildren. Ann began serving in Akot, South Sudan in 2003. She is the founder and president of Living Water Community Transformation, Inc

Greg Gay

Gregory G. Gay, Esq. is the President of the Nature Coast Law Offices of Gregory G. Gay, P.A. that has law offices in New Port Richey, Spring Hill and Crystal River, Florida. Mr. Gay was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1973. Mr. Gay is Board Certified by the Florida Bar’s Board of Legal Specialization in Wills, Trusts & Estates and in Elder Law. He is also Board Certified in Elder Law by the National Elder Law Foundation and is designated by that organization as a Certified Advanced Practitioner. Mr. Gay is also a Florida Supreme Court certified civil court mediator. Mr. Gay has also earned a Master of Arts Degree in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary and a Master of Divinity Degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mr. Gay is a member of Idelwild Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida. He is married to Julia Stokes from Miami and they have two adult children and one grandson.

Ben Hale

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Ben serves as the Missions and Evangelism Pastor of Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. His church began serving in Akot, South Sudan in 2002 at the invitation of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. After that first medical mission project God called to a long term ministry commitment to the people of Akot. The Lord has done many things that appeared to be impossible in our early years. However, the most successful days of ministry in Akot are happening now as we serve with Living Water Community Transformation.

Raymond & Allyson Lyrene

Raymond and his wife, Allyson, have been have associated with LWCT since its inception in 2012. Raymond is a retired Professor of Pediatrics. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama School of Medicine. He currently serves as Director of the Agricultural Ministry and assists with the student health and nutrition programs while Allyson currently serves as an advisor to the board. Raymond has an associate degree in horticulture and is a master gardener. Allyson has been involved in missions for many decades serving on missions in North and South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Indonesia and China. She is also a longtime supporter of the WMU and its ministries. Allyson served on the board of directors for LWCT from 2011-2014. Raymond and Allyson are active members of Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. They have 3 married daughters and are the proud grandparents of 9 grandchildren.

Jim C. McCullers

At God’s calling, Jim reluctantly made his first trip to Akot in 2007 and has been hooked ever since, returning yearly to Africa to work and worship with Christians of many countries. Jim currently serves on the Deacon Board of Dawson Memorial Church and has recently chaired its Mission Committee. Jim serves on the Board of two non-profits, LWCT in Akot and SRI, a local organization committed to improving lives in an improvised mining community in Alabama. Jim grew up on his grandparent’s farm where he was able to ride the cows, tinker with machines and learn to love gardening. Jim has served as a Boy’s Mission and Boy Scout leader. He and his lovely wife of 27 years, Zhaleh, have 3 adult sons attending universities. Jim is a partner at McCullers-Capps & Associates in Birmingham Alabama and is proud to say that his life is a testimony to God’s patience, forgiveness, mercy and grace.

Arun Vedhanayagam & Gracia Suganthraraj

Arun and Gracia began their involvement in the ministry in 2009. Arun currently serves as the Executive Vice President of the Board of
LWCT. He received a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the Ohio State University. He is a founding partner of Phoenix Advantage, a management consulting company. His involvement in missions include short term missions assignments to India, Mali and Kazakstan. Gracia, as a former home schooling mom, currently serves her community as a Guardian Ad Lietem, advocating for neglected or abused children in the court system. Her education background includes an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Chicago. She serves asan advisor for the board of LWCT. Arun and Gracia have been happily married for 30 years and have 3 daughters, whom they homeschooled and one son-in-law. They have lived in Tampa, FL for the past 21 years.

Ruth Reilly

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Ruth and her husband John are both retired and live in Land O’Lakes, Florida. They are proud of their three grown children, two son-in-laws and a two year old grandson. Ruth retired from the District School Board of Pasco County, Florida after serving for 40 years in education. She worked as a teacher, counselor, principal, director and most recently as Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instructional Services. A life long Christian, Ruth feels blessed to have the opportunity to support God’s work within the Akot Christian Ministry primary schools in South Sudan.

Scott Miller

Scott has served as a lead pastor in local church ministry for 30 years (currently serving at Summit Church in Acworth, Georgia). He became an active Great Commission Christ-follower 16 years ago. Since that life-changing spiritual wake-up call, he has served on 40 short-term international mission trips, primarily in unreached and unengaged parts of the world in Africa and Asia. He also is an active Perspectives on the World Christian movement instructor and enjoys speaking at Mission conferences. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Mars Hill University, a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Evangelism and Church Growth from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is blessed with 34 years of marriage to Chris, and they have two grown children living in Baltimore. Scott’s God-given vision is to mobilize the American Church to be a blessing to the world by praying, giving, welcoming, and going – all for the glory of God.

Mike Hathorne

Mike was born and raised in a small town called “Collins” Mississippi. He received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Southern Mississippi and his Master’s in Education from Livingston University (now the University of West Alabama). Mike then begin his career as an educator and later became principal of T.R. Miller High School in Brewton, Alabama.
In 1988, Mike Hathorne left Brewton to become assistant principal of Homewood High School. Homewood High School is one of the top public schools in Alabama. In 2014 it was ranked the fourth best high school in Alabama by U.S. News & World Report. In 1992. Mike became principal of Homewood High School and served in that capacity until 1998 when he was hired as System Director for Support Services by the Homewood Board of Education. Mike has since “retired” but remains active in his church and community. His endless service projects and mission efforts to help others is an inspiration to many.

Jack Wilkerson

Jack is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute with a BS degree in Electrical Engineering. Jack served nine (9) years in the active Army and Army Reserve. He concluded a twenty nine (29) year career with the E.I. DuPont Co. believing God’s call to full-time ministry service with the Southern Baptist Convention, Executive Committee in
Nashville, Tennessee, serving there fourteen (14) years as the V.P. of Business & Finance before his retirement in 2007. Jack has served as a volunteer with Crown Financial Ministries for more than thirty (30) years as a budget coach, small group Bible study leader and a certified Crown seminar instructor. Jack and his wife Brenda attend Judson Baptist Church, in Nashville, where he is
active as a Life Group teacher, serves as a deacon, chairs the Audit Committee and is active with local and regional mission partners. Jack and Brenda have been blessed with two married children, and 4(four) wonderful grandchildren, twins in Colorado and 2 girls in Franklin, Tennessee.

Matt Wilson

Matt is an Associate Professor of Medicine and physician-scientist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN. He serves at Judson Baptist Church as a deacon, life group teacher, and executive team leader for Global Focus Ends of the Earth missions through Judson. Matt has been on several international medical mission trips, including three to South Sudan. He also has a Master in Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Matt is married to De and they have three children.