That’s hello in Dinka. I am still learning a little more each week. This week I got my Dinka name. It is perfect for me. I am now called Carolina Akat. The word, akat (pronounced a-cot) means running swiftly. The children all around Akuem know me because I run around the airstrip and down to their soccer (called football here) fields. They see me and I have learned how to say that I am going running. Analeakat! They speak fast here too! Of course I am a big hit with the locals because I am making a good effort to learn “the mother tongue” as they say here. I really do love these people. They are so precious and I have so much joy being around them.
There is a family who lives just outside our front gate and there are three little boys, one being the naked one in flip flops, and two girls and two teeny babies. The girls can not be any older than eight and all day long they carry their mother’s babies, who are only about 4-6 months old. The six month old is still afraid of me as are many babies afraid of white skin. The four month old just smiles and tries to talk and laughs at me. They are always naked and just so cute. The one little boy who is probably two years old, he gets so excited everytime he gets the slightest glimpse of me walking around the compound.
He jumps up and down and shouts my name over and over and I just have to go running over every time to squeeze him. He never wears clothes and is just the cutest thing.
So this week I was able to minister by bits and pieces and all woven together it made a glorious week. Monday I had to go into town and while I was in the market I ran into one of our workers. He said that his baby was in the hospital and was in bad condition and wasn’t eating and had a very high fever. I told him, “Let us go and I will pray for him” and so I left off what I was doing and we went straight away. I laid my hand upon his tiny head, as he was only a week old, and upon the mother and prayed for increase of appetite and for the mother’s milk to be pleasant and nourishing to the baby. I then gave the man some money because I knew he got paid by the day and was missing three days work to care for his family. He was so grateful and I left.
The next day, the man said that right after I had prayed for his baby, the baby suckled at his mother’s breast and has been eating since and the fever left him. Yipee God! Well, after I left him and continued in the market, I was paying for some items and a kid came up slurring his words and had glazed eyes and wanted money. I could smell the glue on him and knew he had been sniffing. I just placed my hand gently upon his heart and prayed for him to be delivered from this and gave him something to eat. There wasn’t much else I could do. As I was walking away, one of the boys in the market looked at me and said, “I want my camera back”. I just started laughing! I am known as the kawaja with the camera because of the whole incident with the SPLA guy a month ago. I am stopped many times with a smile inquiring after my camera. I laugh and go on. I guess I am famous in Aweil town now. So funny!
Also this week there was a very skinny boy in the guard shack on our compound and they told me that four months ago his mother left him and his two siblings to go live with some other man. The father was an SPLA soldier and he died shortly after. So, these three small children were on their own. Well, the boy has been living under a palm tree for three months on his own and eating scraps and wears the same ragged shirt and no other clothes. The rains have come and it gets chilly at night for him. One of our women workers took him in but the other kids threatened him and he ran. And so this old guard and his wife have now taken him in. So, I went to the market and purchased him some clothes and shoes and will help where I can. I have no idea where the other two siblings are and neither does anyone else. It is very sad to think about what could have happened to them.
I also took Ngor to the clinic this week as he has worms in his tummy as it is so big and he also has hook worms on his neck and arms from sleeping in the dirt as their little hut has no good protection against rain and water. On those nights where it rains, they are pretty dirty by the time he and his two brothers come here before school each day. Every morning I still get their hot tea and biscuits ready for them and off they go to school and I see them again for lunch.
I think I told you about the “dark man” who stands on the road when we go to Aweil. He pretty much lives on the road. He is always there. He is getting more and more ragged. His hair needs cutting and it is filthy. His pants have such big holes that there is more leg and privates showing than material remaining. I still stop every single time to give him food and drink. This week when I stopped, I just really looked at him good and felt like crying because I have been so burdened with his situation. His eyes are just so vacant and he doesn’t have any happiness. I looked at him and his condition and prayed as always and I said, “Jesus deliver him. No one deserves this.” And I thought, “Yes, we all deserve this. But because of His mercy, we are not left like this.”
I just keep reaching out and offering mercy because but for the grace of God, there stands me, whether I look like the dark man or not, there stood me before Jesus came to deliver me. Today, I took him a pair of pants and he refused them. He took the soda I offered but he insistently refused the pants. I just don’t know why because he cannot even free his hands because he has to hold his pants up constantly. And so, I now have the “traveling pants” that I will carry and maybe one day he will take them…..
Today, as I was in town, I saw the man in the wheelchair and went out to the street as he was in the middle of it and traffic was trying to pass. I took his hand and held it as I prayed and then I asked him where he wanted to go and I would push him. His hands and feet and clothes are just filthy and ragged and soiled and his hands are rough from pushing a wheelchair, which has no tubes in the tires. He just smiled so big and pointed down the road. And so off we went, me actually singing over him as I pushed. What a sight to see, this clean kawaja pushing this ragged and filthy shell of a man, me singing and him smiling and even laughing at times.
I am thinking that he has cerebral palsy because he is very aware of things but looks like he isn’t. So, we are moving along and people are watching and giving the thumbs up as we go. They are amazed at this sight because so many are giving thumbs up and saying thank you. Marco, that’s his name, takes me down side streets and behinds streets and we finally come to his yard. His family comes out to greet us and his mother hugs me and tells me she is Angelina. I smell the liquor on her breath and I stay and visit awhile and give them money to buy Marco’s chair new tubes. His mother gets up right away and off we go to get new tubes!
So, now I have this whole entourage with me going to get Marco new tubes. What a glorious day and week. It is so exciting to be where Jesus lives and moves, among all His people everywhere. My favorite days are when I can be with the dirty and torn and broken people and just do what I can to bring a smile, to both them and I. It always makes my heart glad to stop for another. When I was hungry, you fed Me. When I was thirsty, you gave Me drink. When I was naked, you clothed Me. When I was tired, you helped to push Me. What you do for the least of these, you do for Me.
I want to always see Jesus in these people I stop for, one at a time. It only took 15 minutes to go with the man and pray for his baby. It only takes one minute to stop for the dark man each time. It only takes three minutes to pray for someone who’s mind is strung out on glue and to give him a pack of biscuits. It only took thirty minutes of my time to push Marco and visit with his family and get them on their way to get new tubes. It only took ten minutes to buy clothes for the orphan boy. This week I spent one hour and stopped for many “ones”. It really is so easy and it will fill your heart with such joy when you do. Stop for one this week, just one, and see what God will do IN you.