A few nights ago I cooked a meal over a coal pit for our crew and wouldn’t let the cook help me. I have learned to make a very good fire quickly, without charcoal fluid guys, I might add! And then I set up my computer in my favorite secret place, the front seat of the 7-Ton Tipper, and we watched a chick flick, kind of like being at a drive in. She said it was her best evening since coming to Akuem. It was such a basic thing, to cook and watch a movie in a special place undisturbed for her. She still talks about it days later. It is amazing how something so small in my mind is so huge in another’s. And so if you think that what you are doing is a tiny thing, to someone else it could be huge. Keep doing those tiny things because like a single raindrop, it could be a huge shower of blessing to another! Let it rain. Open the floodgates of heaven and let it rain. We are the floodgates if heaven is inside us!
I finally was able to leave the compound yesterday and go to market. The elections have come and gone with no violence I think. The announcement is still to come on April 20th and so keep praying for peace. Your prayers are being heard. So, as I am leaving the market, I am driving down a busy road and there is this frailest of old ladies, her hair falling out, her clothes filthy and ragged, she is leaning on a stick to help her walk along, dragging her feet as if it was her last mile before falling. I couldn’t stop because it was a busy intersection. I drove on the wrong side to get to her and I reached into my fresh bread bag and handed her some through the window. People were beeping for me to go and I just wanted to weep because she was so precious and frail. She was so tired that she didn’t even know I was calling out to her and nearby people had to tell her to look behind her. I left her there with the bread and she kept walking on, head bowed, her eyes distant. My heart breaking.
I see people every day like this. Last week it was a man in a wheelchair, just as ragged, no legs, filthy and frail, pushing himself along down the middle of the dusty busy street. Again all I could do was give him fresh bread from my truck window and move on or face mob justice for stopping in the road and disrupting people’s lives. There are many though that I see in the market stalls who always give these people food, a biscuit here, a cookie there, a bottle of water. Today I saw my little friend whom I bought the shoes for weeks ago and he was clean and dressed in clean clothes, although no shoes, yet his feet were healed of sores. He recognized me and smiled real big. He is mentally challenged and he stood there asking over and over and over again for some sweets and the store clerk handed him a pack of cookies and he went merrily on his way.
I always, always wonder if we are entertaining angels every time we stop for the one. I have a “one a day” philosophy here in Sudan. I give fresh bread or a cool bottle of water or a bag of beans or rice or new shoes or whatever God tells me is needed to someone every day. I can’t speak their language but I can speak love. Today, love looked like the dark man who stands in the middle of the road between here and Aweil. He stands up there every day, all day. He also is mentally challenged and he is in filthy rags and doesn’t bathe. He stands there looking up and down the road, all day long! I wonder what he looks for or who. Today I gave him a bottle of juice from my truck window and a smile. He smiled in return. Love looked like a bottle of juice on a hot and dusty road today.
This afternoon I made my first visit to the children and women at the HIV/TB hospital in Wonjok. I brought beads and a coloring book and a small bag of candy and an incredible story to go with the beads, with the help of my brother Santino, who is an SP pastor for this area. He was a very young soldier for the SPLA just a few short years ago. He became a soldier because everyone believed that the only way to be safe in South Sudan during the war was for all households to have a gun. After peace came, he felt like something was missing in his life. Jesus got hold of his heart and he radically gave it and became a pastor! He is very young and has a huge heart for children.
So we played with the children and we taught them songs about Jesus, in Dinka, and even the mama’s were singing along and coloring and we just had this huge crowd that wanted to stay and listen and watch and sing. We were all under a huge mango tree just enjoying the day. Again, I couldn’t speak much Dinka, although I am learning, but love spoke again. After we blessed and prayed over the children, we said our goodbyes and they are excited to have us back again next week, under the mango tree. I think there is something so special about mango trees. So much life happens under mango trees here in Sudan.
On my drive into town yesterday, there was a dew hanging over the landscape, a foglike sheen covering the land, and the sun was just coming up in the east, and the ladies wrapped in all their colors of material walking across the dry and dusty land with baskets on their heads, dark and lovely they are. I saw such beauty in the land at that moment and I drank it in and I saw the heartbeat of God for His people everywhere and He smiled. I felt the smile of God and my heart was full of peace. God smiles at us ALWAYS. He is a loving God and He never tires of us. He sees our destiny in Him and He never grows hopeless because His Son came as our hope.
In the afternoon I watched a dust tornado roll across the landscape in front of me as I was returning from the hospital. I had to stop and watch it because it was so amazing. I turned off the motor so I could just listen to the sound. It was intense as it picked up plastic bottles and trash and swirled and carried away the trash in it’s whirlwind. It was about 25 yards wide and about 70-80 yards high. The sound was intense. I thought about God bringing a shaking and sweeping across the land and carrying away the trash and clutter of our lives. When the whirlwind passed, there was no damage to the huts or even the people. God can do this and leave us unharmed. He comes like the wind and we should stand there and let Him strip away the debris, let the intensity of His voice and His wind sweep over us and carry away the debris. Arms wide open God, I lift them up to You! Sweep over me!
My revelation of the week:
I have been praying and standing in battle with my friend and mentor and spiritual mom against an attack from the devil toward her family. I am so far away physically and I yearn so much to be where she is and to be a support to her and a help to her. I know that prayer is the most needful thing yet I still feel so helpless sometimes because I am so far away. I have wanted to say so many times, I will get on the next plane and I will be there for you. And every time the Lord stays my voice and reminds me that He has it all in His hands and things will turn out for the good for those who love Him because He is so faithful concerning those He loves and who love Him. This caused me to look at the old woman on the street and the man in the wheelchair and the dark man in the road. And He has opened my heart to hear His heartbeat concerning His amazing love for us.
It is easiest and oh so pleasurable to worship God the most when you have nothing, when everything “seems” to be falling apart, it’s when you have the most to offer as a sacrifice of praise. He says to me, “Lift up your seemingly empty hands and look at how full they are. Let My fire consume you, let the fire of My eyes burn in you and set you ablaze; for what causes the fire in My eyes is your simple praise in your weakness. Let Me have it all and I will be your all in all. Just close your eyes and look upon Me with your heart. There you will see mine beat for you and with you. My love is everlasting and full of My Father’s glory.”
Many people ask me what I need here and what can they send me and for the first time I can’t think of a single thing! I have all that I need. I don’t have much at all in earthly possessions but I have everything. It doesn’t make sense but I am so serious. I look at the stuff I do have in my tent and it sits there mostly untouched. Still I have too much stuff. I don’t even use it. It’s crazy, I don’t understand it but God is causing me to be so content with less and less and there is nothing that I need that He doesn’t give to me. My needs are becoming so small and He fills them. He is so wonderful and glorious in all His ways towards me. He really causes me to be content in all things and in nothing.
Mathew 6:25-34 Basically says that the birds don’t worry about what they will eat and the flowers don’t worry about what they will be clothed in. They are all fed and adorned in beauty. SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM AND ALL THESE THINGS WILL BE GIVEN YOU BESIDES.
It really is true about not worrying what I will eat or wear. I wear the same four or five sets of clothes every week even though I have more. I am so content with these few, so content. I don’t even own a cup and plate and fork and I don’t care because I am just as content to eat with my hands out of the same dish as my brothers and sisters! How crazy is that?! God uses the weak and silly things to confound the wise! Haha! I am lying here on my bed made of tree limbs and twine as a boxspring and a piece of 4 inch foam as my mattress, in my bug hut on my front porch, and I am so filled with the Presence of God because I am not concerned with what I don’t have, my only concern being seeking the Kingdom, seeking His amazing Presence, listening for His very heartbeat for us, because that is my living bread and my cool drink of water and I am clothed in glory there. Wow, that is church!
I have truly come to a place here of such contentment. I do not write these words as a noble script, showing how pious I could be. I am really honestly feeling these things and living in this place of revelation. When I am in Nairobi or America, sure I enjoy the comforts and luxuries of a modern world. That is the beauty of Paul’s scripture, Philippians 4:11-12. He tells the church that he has learned how to be content with nothing and also with plenty. Either place is just as wonderful for him because it is Christ in him who brings this contentment. Jesus Christ is all that matters. Everything else is just a wonderful bonus or a minor affliction. If Christ is our all in all, then He truly is all that we need because in Him our riches are found, our needs are met and filled. He cares that much for us!
And so my prayer for you is this:
Papa God, reveal to my family more and more each day how unfailing is Your love and Your smile for them. Let them see the fire in Your eyes Jesus. Let them feel the blaze of Your heart for them. Jesus let these words be a fire that penetrates the cares of their lives, for You know that they are many, and consume them with Your love for them. Papa, reveal to these the secrets of Your heart concerning their destiny in You. Show them the music of Your heart and cause theirs to beat in time with Yours. Father, make a way for them where there seems to be no way. Part the sea like You did for Moses. Let their enemies be turned back and destroyed in the flood of your wrath against them.
Jesus, let the peace of Your heart fill theirs. Jesus, give them such a revelation of Your love that they would be undone and helpless before You, wanting nothing more than to go where You say go and do what You say do. Show them the “one” today. Pour out your blessing on each one of these who read these words of blessing. Make their way prosperous and full of life. Restore those who have been sick and needful. I pray Father that they know the contentment that comes in all things because of Christ in them. Let Your Kingdom be revealed in them and through them. Glorify Your Name Jesus. Amen.