It has been raining here almost every day now. My laundry smells like a wet rag because things never dry all the way. Everything remains damp. There is mud everywhere and stagnant pools of water all around us, everywhere. No exaggeration here. This is a virtual breeding ground for malaria as these pools are teaming with mosquitoes. The children swim and play in these festering pools of water, oblivious to the disease that grows there. In the mornings there is a bright green film covering the surface of these stagnant pools of water. Cows come and drink from them, people bathe in them and the children play on. I have been praying for a malaria free zone for the town of Akuem. We had another worker lose a child yesterday. Jesus come……
It is six thirty in the morning and I am sitting in my office, covered from head to toe in material. I am wearing gum boots (rain boots), long pants, long sleeve shirt and a raincoat, all just to fend off the millions of mosquitoes here. They literally bite through the clothes and that is why I am wearing a raincoat inside. I have to dress this way every morning until the sun comes up so that I can have my quiet time with the Lord. I am so thankful now that I am growing my hair because they even bite my head if they can get to it.
Last week I mentioned how the children have begun handing me letters requesting balls. Their letters are filled with God bless you’s and God give you long life and being Christians and sisters and brothers. This week I have been reading 2 Corinthians and chapter 3 talks about us being letters.2 Corinthians 3:2-3 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ……written not with ink but by the Spirit of God…..
I read the children’s letters and I see their laughter and joy in them. I see their innocence and simplicity of life. I wondered, if someone were to read my letter, what would it reveal? A letter leaves a lasting impression, a first impression. Many times people wish that they wouldn’t have hit the “send” button on an email because it is too late to take it back. The receiver will have that letter forever if they wish. Or the receiver can delete it or even respond back with the same theme as the sender.
We are letters sent from Jesus Christ to the world. We are a walking sonnet, an epic novel, a truth or a lie, a comfort or a heartbreaker. When we write the letter of our lives, who do we want to receive it? We have only one chance most times to send the letter that will live on in the hearts and minds of those who read it. In the book of 2 Corinthians Paul states that the letter of the Law kills but the Spirit brings life. We cannot send letters of do’s and don’ts unless they are wrapped in the envelope of mercy and love. Mercy and love have to be the carriers of our letters.
Jesus left a letter for us and it is filled with mercy and love. The Bible is full of the Law but Jesus made sure to seal it and wrap it in the envelope of mercy and love. One of my fellow workers commented to me that he has a problem with my theology. He still sees God in the Old Testament view, a God or wrath and burning, calling down fire and opening the earth to swallow up the sinner. Yet I know that he sees the love of Jesus. I think many have this view and if we are to be the letters of Christ, we need to carry love and mercy always. It does me no good to argue with my friend or even discuss much the topic of theology. I can only carry to him the letter of love and mercy. Jesus will break the seal and show him the true nature of His Father.
And so, this week as I receive letters from the children, I give my own letters back to them, rich in love and joy. I now have a group of five boys who run with me regularly. They are aged seven thru ten I think and they run all the way (3 miles) and never tire. Afterward, I play games with them, well, with all of the children. I want them to read a rich letter of love from Jesus to them.
Friday my friend Julius came to my office and was so upset that he couldn’t even talk. He wasn’t crying, he was just not able to talk. I finally got him to talk and he said that his wallet was gone with all of his money for school fees for his children in Kenya, which are very expensive by the way. I have someone in my office and so I can’t help him immediately. A bit later, maybe ten minutes, I go to him and told him we should pray and so he and I and our friend John prayed. Julius said that after we prayed he felt complete peace about the situation. It’s amazing how much power there is in prayer. It changes how we see things and how we “deal” with things for sure.
Then I called all the compound together right before lunch and explained what had happened. I talked to them for a few minutes about God’s mercy and forgiveness. I also talked about how sin opens your house to the devil and you might as well put your arm in his and invite him on in to the rest of your life and your family. I told them that there would be a day of grace today and if that person would put the wallet back, mercy would meet them.
Later that day I heard Julius screaming, “Halelujah! Halelujah! God is good!” Someone had put the wallet back, not a single dollar missing and he did have $400 USD! THAT is amazing for this place, this poverty stricken place! We were so excited that God moved on the heart of that person and convinced them to return it. We just kept thanking God and saying that He will never forsake the righteous. The next morning at devotions the people were commenting that now the community will know that this is a Christian organization and what a good testimony this is.
This morning, Sunday, I am in my quiet tent when I hear this screaming, like someone has died. I was thinking it might stop and so I didn’t jump up right away. Then it kept on and on and so I went to investigate. Right outside our back fence, there is the bore hole. And there was a girl, maybe sixteen or so, and she was just hitting away at some other girl. She had scratch marks on her neck and blood and such. I jumped in and tried to calm her, which was impossible because I cannot speak the language. She was hysterical. Another lady on our compound was trying to help me.
We got her away from the girl and then she runs over to another and just starts hitting her in the face and such and so I am running over there getting in between to stop it. We finally get her somewhat calm and I just keep looking at her little sister and telling her “bye” which means “home”. Nothing is happening and there is a huge crowd. All I can do is pray and keep saying the name of Jesus. She then gets up and goes after yet another girl and there I go again jumping in between. This is crazy!
Finally, the girl leaves and peace comes once more to the bore hole! They take people like this girl and tie them to trees and leave them there until the demons leave them. The church goes and prays and such but until the person gets in their right mind, they are chained there, even in the rain. They don’t have mental institutions and so this is the best way so they don’t hurt others. It actually works most times and the person realizes that they can stay crazy and wet and cold or get it somewhat together and try to be a functioning part of society. What else can you do here huh? It’s sad but at least they are not deserted and left to fend for themselves on the streets.
Today I presented to the Akuem Sudanese Pentecostal Church Primary School a sizeable love offering, this time from Cornerstone Church, to help pay for the feeding of their school children each day at lunch. Akuem SPC Primary is the only school in this entire area and they teach and feed 800 children each day. That is huge. Most of their classes meet under a mango tree and the children write in the dirt instead of paper because there just isn’t any money for them. And takes a lot of money. I wanted to officially say that my church, Cornerstone Church, is helping to sponsor me as a missionary to Sudan and so this is my first seed planting for my church. SPC Akuem Primary School is so very happy to receive this offering and they send their greetings and thank you and love and prayers to Pastor John and Diana Hagee and all the Cornerstone family in San Antonio, Texas!
And for the Seguin High School National Honor Society, who organized the collection of over 100 pounds of school supplies for us at Christmas, the container finally made it to Africa this month!! And now the boxes of school supplies are traveling somewhere up in the Nuba Mountains, slowly making their way to Akuem. And so these children will soon also have school supplies! Yay!!! God is so good and we are so aware of His goodness here. We give thanks everyday for He is always so faithful and right on time.
Tomorrow I have exactly one month left here in Akuem before I head off to another chapter in my travels. My relief is coming in this week to learn my job and soon I will be jobless. Yay!!! Never thought I’d say that and be joyful J I will be anticipating what God has for me next while I love the babies and children at Iris Yei Sudan. I have been meeting with people here in Akuem, checking the price of land and access to it, and am amazed at how easy it is. Pick my spot, pay $115 USD, and register it in Aweil and it is mine. That easy! I have also been looking at where I could possibly build a small tukel for me in case this is where I am really being called to stay. But, all this is still a few months off and so I will keep waiting to see where God is leading me. Until next week, my love and blessings to you and all glory to God in the highest, Who spurs me on to keep running the race set before me.