Since my last update, I have had such a refreshing come over my body, soul and spirit. I know that so many are praying for me and so many of you prayed for a fresh wind, a fresh breeze, of the Holy Spirit for me. That very night that I received all the emails, Saturday night, it was the coolest night I have experienced in Akuem. We even had fifteen minutes of thunderstorm and rain!! I slept so good. My stomach and insides are fully recovered and I have been eating every meal again. God is so good to me, so so good to me. We have had three “cool for Sudan” nights in a row amazingly. Thank you for praying, thank you, thank you.
Sunday morning I picked a plot of land on the back corner of our compound near my tent and I just began to worship God with such abandon. I didn’t care who saw me or who heard me. And then I noticed something amazing. In the middle of this large area of nothing but dirt stood one green sprout about 8 inches high. It was the only life in at least a 40 square foot plot. And I felt God say to me that there is life in Sudan. The harvest is coming. Get ready and keep sowing. I even took a picture of it I was so amazed.
Also I saw myself as I was this week, tired and weak and poor, I saw myself sitting in the dirt in the middle of a dirt road my head bowed, my knees pulled to my chest. And I saw Jesus coming up out of the desert toward me and He squatted down, lifted my head and kissed my cheeks. Then He took my hands and pulled me up and put my left hand in His strong right hand and said, “Come, let’s do this together.”
As long as Jesus walks with us, we will do the hard stuff together. As I was sharing with my Sudanese brothers, I asked them if they saw their son sitting in the road crying, would they not go to him and take his hand and tell him the same? If the son had his head buried, would they still not hear their son crying out? The Lord knows our struggle and He always comes. I know that I can do anything and bear all things just because He says, “Come, let’s do this together.” He will not send me or you and then leave us alone. His plan has always been to do this together. Our position is to recognize that we can’t do it without Him.
Sunday we went for our weekly trip into Aweil for lunch and shopping. We found an ice cream machine and got so excited. We all got a strawberry cone for one Sudanese pound (about 40 cents). I took three licks and my eyes were caught by two small girls with raggedy clothes and big eyes watching us savor our ice creams. That’s all it took for me. I walked up to the 3 year old and handed her this big pink cone. Here sister and then two brothers looked at her with eyes popping out and she just looked at it. The sister and brothers bent in and took quick licks and still this little girl didn’t know what to do but she knew it was hers and was holding on tight. As we walked away I was happy to see that no one had grabbed it away and she still held on. I don’t know if she ever took a lick but I think these kids might have tasted ice cream for the first time by their expressions. It was fun to see.
Then we just strolled through the market and were pretty much done and just sitting in the shade drinking cold bottles of water. I saw a young boy of about six years of age walk by with this agonizing expression on his face, sweat literally pouring down his face and his feet were barefoot and club footed. He stopped near a wall and slid down in the dirt exhausted and sat there in the dirt by himself and looked at his toes. I was so moved by his struggle and by his bravery and strength to go about by himself. I bought a fresh bottle of cold water for the both of us and went over and sat down in the dirt against the wall next to him and handed him the water bottle. We just smiled at each other for a minute or so.
His face just lit up. I spoke to him in Arabic and he would repeat whatever I said and smile and drink his water. I looked at his feet and his pinky toes were just a torn mess and bleeding with flies all over them. I prayed for his feet and kept calling on the name of Jesus softly. Then I took his hand and pointed to his feet and my shoes and off we went. The man in the booth next to where we were said the boy was very poor and never had shoes. We tried on the first pair and he cried because his feet were so raw. And so we went to another booth and looked and looked. By this time a crowd of about 20 were surrounding us because they obviously knew this boy. We finally found the perfect pair and if I could describe the smile that lit up his face and the way he gave me a literal thumbs up, oh my! Check out my Facebook for his picture.
We walked through that market hand in hand and this boy could not quit smiling. And he kept saying Jesus, Jesus as we went. Although he did not understand me I told him that Jesus loves him and is with him and hugged him and stuck a Sudanese pound in his pocket. His smile lit up my heart and for 5 Sudanese pounds a boy can walk the hot streets of Sudan without ripping the skin off his toes anymore. If that was the only reason I came to Akuem, I would go home knowing I knew what love looked like this day. It looked like the smile on his face and the joy in his heart when someone stopped for the one.
The children are always why I am here, the least of these. Today I took my lunch break standing outside our compound gate and blowing up balloons and tying strings so kids could run around with their multicolored balloons. I went to the borehole later and one of our compound workers told me that the kids who come there to the borehole want to be my friend. They like me. I think that my children’s ministry has already begun (lol).
I know that there are so many missionaries around the world who are in much tougher places than I. I personally know of a few. Every new place I go, it gets a little harder. If I am being drawn to Darfur, I can’t come from the beach resort straight to the Sahara. There has to be transition. God has to take me “through” places to get me ready for the “to” place and the next place should require more than the last. With the measure that I use what He is equipping me with, the more of His grace He will pour out on me. I hear Him calling even now, “Come, let’s do this together for My grace will take us through.” And so I ask for more fire. Crazy isn’t it? If I want to look like Jesus I must go through the fire. He is there and there, there is peace.