I have just returned from the most amazing adventure of my entire lifetime. I literally felt like I had stepped into the pages of National Geographic magazine. South Sudan has only one paved road in the entire nation, and that is in the city of Juba, which is where we first headed. The city population is close to one million and most of them, probably 95 % live in huts with metal roofing. Most have no plumbing or electricity. We drove on a dirt road for seven solid hours which was pitted every mile of the way with bumps and ruts and rain potholes. It took us exactly three hours to drive 58 miles and I think Juba was over 100 miles away. So we finally get to Juba and we go to a neighborhood where the Mundari Tribe lives, well some of them.
The Mundari Tribe is unique in that they are cattle herders. They own thousands of head of cattle, 99 % of the cattle are white, and they do not eat them or sell them. The cattle’s sole purpose is to show the Tribe’s wealth. They collect cattle like we collect cars and houses and stocks. They only cook one for very special occasions or pay a bride price in marriage or use them for sacrifice to their gods. The Mundari are the second tallest people in Sudan, the Dinka’s being the tallest. And so we are greeted by men and women who are on the average six feet or taller, most are at 6’5” and taller. They also have these faint scars on their faces where they are marked at a very young age by cutting designs into their skin and as they grow older, they recut to make sure the scars remain. This marks them as Mundari. It actually looks pretty cool.
Now, back to the cattle. When we went into the Tribe’s territory 100 miles north, we passed many cattle camps. Young boys are sent here to work and live in the camps. They do not wear clothes. Even the grown men many times do not wear clothes because it is a very dirty job. They live and sit and sleep with the cattle. They walk the herd everywhere they go and these humongous cattle actually “mind” the humans. These cattle are definitely bigger than our Texas longhorns and their horns are bigger.
And so we show up in this village and all these boys come to see who we are and girls too and the boys are naked. And when we had church they came naked. Needless to say that took a little getting used to. The men did wear clothes I am grateful to say! The young men of marriageable age put a thin covering or mask of tan colored dirt on their face to “attract” the women. I am telling you, I felt like I was in a National Geographic documentary. I never once felt any fear. It is amazing how much peace you have when you know you are going with God. Because if I didn’t go with God and these almost seven foot tall men with painted and cut faces and wearing only a toga type throw with one side totally open and exposing their body, came up to me I would have been extremely scared. They came and extended their hands in greeting and were so nice.
After telling the gospel of Jesus and giving testimonies of His healing power we prayed for the sick and demon possessed. A small boy was healed of a deaf mute spirit and was set free to hear and speak! Two babies were instantly set free from burning fevers. Some teenagers came forward with headaches and were instantly set free. There were also some salvations. The people who came were small in number, maybe only 40 at most, yet God did so much there. It was nightfall by then and too dark to do anymore and so we ended. We then pitched our tents in the church which was open on all sides but one and was dirt floor and it had been raining all day so was very wet outside. By the way, this village has had no rain in three seasons of planting and it rained all day the day we were there! As we were interceding earlier I felt the Lord say that it was a prophetic sign that He has come to cleanse the land and cleanse the people. Also, while we were interceding, goats and sheep were coming into the church to get out of the rain. And my friend had heard from the Lord earlier in the day that these people had fallen asleep, that at one time they had known about God and had even sought after Him but had since fallen asleep.
As we started singing during our intercession I was led to Psalm 68 and was amazed to see that it confirmed the rain, the praise, the sheep finding a dwelling place, the people being weary… We were so overjoyed that He confirmed His Word to us and we knew He would show up in power that night! When we left the next morning, we stopped at a cattle camp on the way out and said goodbye to the men there and the boys and blessed them. They were very happy we stopped. On the way down the road we had to part the sea o thousands of cattle that were being herded south in the middle of the road. What an amazing journey we had. Wow!
Today we visited the Yei, Sudan prison and there were about 130 men at the service. Some were shackled at the ankles and wrists and they were allowed to attend, We sat under a mango tree along a fence which was right next to a neighborhood dirt road and kids and grandpa’s and random people also gathered along the fenceline to see what we were about. We preached a powerful message of the kingdom of darkness and the Kingdom of Light and the love of the Father. After the powerful preaching we told them that today is decision time. Tomorrow could be either kingdom in eternity and which will they choose. Ninety percent raised their hands and received Jesus! It was amazing.
All that came forward and knelt down for prayer were healed. Jesus had so touched their hearts that they were hungry to know His love. These men have been thru so much rejection as young boys. Almost every single man said he needed healing for pain all over his body. We knew right away that they were carrying years of heavy burdens and yokes. Today these were broken and cast upon the Lord.
Last night I gave every kid and “mama” at the Base a glow bracelet and we danced and worshiped for almost two solid hours. They threw them in the air, they laughed, they sang. They had never seen glow bracelets and were so amazed. I looked out my tent window this morning and saw almost all of them waving them and trying to get them “started” again. It was so much fun and they are so cute. God is healing this land and these people as the harvesters come. I am drawn to these people. When I pray for them I literally weep for them. I have never wept so much for a people. They are so humble and beautiful and God loves them so much.
The impression I will leave Sudan with is the hugeness of their servant hearts. Every single meal was brought to us on a tray and chairs were placed under a tree and water was brought to wash our hands. The girls would even pray over our food on their knees! I am humbled and touched to the core by their servant hearts. In everything they did, this character NEVER changed. The young boys of eight years or so washed the babies every night and cared for them while the mamas took care of other chores. The girls do the laundry and bring the food to feed them and scoop food with their fingers to feed the little ones. I pray fervently that I carry this spirit of humility and servanthood away with me more than any other thing. I have learned much from these children about the Kingdom of God. We have two more days here and I will spend them with the children I am sure. I want to see more of God and taste more of God and touch more of God. And I know I will when I dwell with the children of Iris, Sudan.