The elections have finally been announced and on Monday afternoon I am no longer stranded on the compound! Yipee!!! I went right into town on Tuesday and had a shopping spree at the office supply stand and the kitchen wares stand and had fried chicken and French fries and a cold Coca Cola for lunch! That’s what I’m talking bout! Town was out of control busy and I was actually glad to get back to our quiet compound. Donkey carts in my way, mud puddles in the road and people walking where I needed to be driving to avoid the puddles, and the usual people and some extras coming and asking me for money.
“You give me one pound!” they insist as they are jabbing my shoulder with their pointed finger incessantly until I respond. It can be nerve wracking but you have to be patient and try to conduct your business. They follow you around and keep pestering and so I don’t buy too many things in any one store as I make a quick dash to the truck to shop elsewhere when I get too overwhelmed. I always give to the blind and the lame and those that are so extremely poor that you just can’t see how they manage to stay alive or even function.
Thanks to your prayers and all the others here in Sudan, the election process was for the most part very peaceful and people were really amazed at this. We all thought there would be demonstrations and there weren’t and so we are so happy for continued peace here. Those who are in office are not exactly there by public choice but people aren’t too worried because they are already looking down the road at the day they will vote for becoming their own nation and that will be next year.
The little boy who has been our youngest member here at the compound is changing before my very eyes. He never forgets to come brush his teeth diligently every day now. Now that he owns two pairs of clothes, he asks me to wash the set that he isn’t wearing and as soon as I take it from the line, he puts it on. He uses my office as his personal keepsake place. He stores his clothes here, he changes clothes here, he even takes a nap on a towel on my floor here every afternoon. He is so darn cute. People are saying that when I am not around, he cries.
Today I had to keep the door closed because I was counting a large amount of money. He wanted in and finally started crying real tears when I couldn’t let him in. I was shocked because he has never done that before. He is so independent and such a little man that he would not show that emotion. I think he is becoming attached to me as his other mom and is starting to rely on me to be here when he needs me. My heart swells with love for little Luka Ngor.
We were made for loving Jesus. We as Christians know this. We know why we were “created” into being. But did you ever think about Jesus just “being”, just to love us? That is profound. The uncreated God existing from eternity, beginning and end, just to love us. If that doesn’t mess with our hearts and minds…… IT RAINED IN SUDAN!!!!! I had to run out in it of course. I was actually singing, “Singing in the rain….” How refreshing is His amazing rain.
As I was driving to the market this week, I always go off road at this one place and drive through this very large field. It is acres and acres of burned up field, on purpose, to grow fresh grass for the cattle. There are a couple of tracks already forming from people getting off of the severely bumpy road and driving across this flatter, gentler surface. Common sense tells us to stay on the tracks that are used the most because the people before us obviously knew the better road. For some reason, I tend to go on the lesser used tracks thinking that there aren’t so many dips and bumps from the heavy use of those other tracks.
And the Lord revealed to me that He has purposely called some of us to the road less traveled. I have always been one to break out of the mold and do something different. I love going down the road that few have been on. I love going to unreached people groups in unknown villages speaking unknown languages and bringing something fresh to them from a Jesus they have never heard of. And so, I encourage those of you who like the less traveled road, keep traveling because God has an amazing adventure in store for you. Keep taking the less traveled road and break into new territory for the Kingdom of God. Be a forerunner and prepare the way of the Lord! Keep running and blazing new trails for the Kingdom. Put on those running shoes and hiking boots and get out that machete (Sword) and go in the power and might of Jesus Christ, the ultimate Forerunner!
Yesterday I was able to go back to the hospital and play with the children. When we arrived there, all was quiet and you didn’t even know that children were there. They were just lying round and sitting around, not doing much of anything on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Well, I guess word got out from our last visit and children began coming, even from outside of the fence. We played games with a soccer ball and every child was able to kick and play. Most of the girls in this culture are not able to play ball because it is “a boys” sport and girls are carrying their mother’s babies and cooking and carrying water and cleaning clothes. And you can see their faces as they watch because they want to play too. And so, when we come, the girls get to kick also and the boys are fine with it. After a bit, we let the boys have their own soccer game where they can go all out.
There were two little boys who became so happy. One, named Ngor, had these really big tumors on each side of his neck, even to the point of severely affecting his voice to where he sounded like a very high pitched little girl. Another boy is severely malnourished and his arms are just barely bigger around than the neck of a water bottle. Both of them move real slow and gentle. Every time it was their turn to kick the ball, you could see their strength increase. I KNOW it was because of the joy inside at being able to play and kick a ball. The one with the tumors and bandages all around his neck wasn’t even going to come play because he was so used to just sitting things out. We promised his mother we would be careful.
She saw him play and saw his joy and strength increase and she was so happy. Her smile was priceless. His smile was priceless. Then we took these two boys and the girls and did some sticker crafts while the older boys played soccer, and there was so much color and brightness in this activity. Their smiles were ever so bright and happy. After the activities, we brought all the children together and we praised the soccer players for their agility and strength and they were so proud and happy. And we told them about Jesus Christ IN them and how He was more powerful even in the weakest of these boys than the strongest man in the world. And we praised the strength and agility of the Lord Jesus Christ IN them. We blessed them and prayed over each one and they were asking, “When will you return?” Next week of course! We left them smiling and laughing and full of joy, those who were so quiet just two hours earlier.
Today, I had the privilege of preaching in my first Sudanese “inside” church. I have preached at Iris Children’s Center of course, but have never had the honor of preaching to a crowd of all ages in a church building here in Sudan yet. Again, I am challenged by the faith of these people. The pastor was telling me about people being baptized. My mind is thinking, where do they go and get baptized because there is no water around for literally miles and miles except a bore hole. He told me this:
The whole church walks to the Akuem River which is at least 7-10 miles away. All the people, the old men and women, the children, the BLIND even (he said the blind even) walk the miles to go get baptized and to witness their brothers and sisters be baptized. These people then turn around and walk back! And so they travel about twenty miles in a day, walking in the heat, singing and praising God, just to go get in the river and baptize the newly saved in the Name of Jesus! When these people give their lives to the Lord, it is NEVER going to be forgotten because they have gone to such great lengths to be washed in the river and in His love.
Even many of the church congregants walk from 45 minutes to one hour away through the bush trails and then back home again to get to and from church every Sunday. Today the roof was half gone, the sun blazing down, yet they still came. Would we show up to church if half our roof was gone, or would we find another church? Hard question hmmmmmm?
It is amazing how hungry these people are for the Living Word of Christ. They challenge me every day with their hunger. I am constantly reminded of Mathew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Those who come so hungry are hungry to feed their spirit with the Living Word and Spirit of God. They come for miles to taste and see that He is good and the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. Jesus does not say to us to walk for miles to see the Kingdom. He just says to come and dine with Him, wherever you are. I pray that I keep seeing these testimonies and keep being challenged to stay hungry and poor so I can always be hungry for Him. I don’t ever want to be completely satisfied.
I drove to the market and saw my favorite man in the wheelchair and was able to shake his hand today instead of handing stuff out of my window. We smiled and I gave him 2 Sudanese pounds and we parted for yet another day. Lord bless him and heal him and bring glory to Your name. Keep my heart tender for him and bring glory to Your name.
As we drove back, it started raining again, beautiful rain. There was so much dust flying at first that we literally had to stop in the road because we could not see in front of us so many times. It was very freaky but cool. My friend asked me, “Aren’t you scared?” and I could honestly answer that I wasn’t because I know God has His hand upon me. I have big faith for that! Makes me smile knowing that He has me. And His rain washes away the debris that clutters our lives of every day living. He brings refreshing wherever we “allow” Him to go. Prepare the way for Him this week.
Blessings to you all, my friends and family. May God shine down on you always and cause your light to shine before men for the glory of His Name!