Many changes have come to our compound in just one week. There are trenches dug everywhere to get ready for the new water system which will take water from the bore hole and send it by pump up to our water tower, in turn sending water to all parts of the base. For now, we have installed a cress tank and rigged up two showers and so the days of the bucket bath are gone for Akuem and don’t you know that we are so thrilled to take real showers!!! Feels so wonderful I tell ya!
There is also power via our inverter to all parts of the base to include security lighting all around. And so now we don’t have to carry flashlights to the latrine. Only problem now is being attacked by every insect as you hurry and do your business in the latrine. For a girl, this is quite a task to keep from being attacked by mosquitoes and all other forms of flying bugs. I am thinking of secretly unscrewing the bulb at night (hehe).
Our office area has received a nice new paint job and our humongous garage for vehicle maintenance is almost done. We have three giant water drilling trucks parked a stones toss from my office door and I now have a money counting machine. All this, and I am leaving in three weeks! Drats!! Hey, better late than never. I am enjoying all while I can. I will be heading back to an even more primitive life than I have experienced in all my time in Africa when I go to Yei Iris in three weeks with no running water, no power at all, no internet, no nada Hey, but I get all the children I want – woohoo!!.
So, on Thursday morning my new tent mate came flying in the office and said, “We’ve been robbed!” “Robbed!”, I said. So, I went to investigate and sure enough, we’d been robbed. My tent is next to the very back fence, only three feet between my back door zipper and the fence. Someone had jumped the fence, broke the back zipper, reached in and drug our luggage out the back zipper while we were all at morning devotions. My entire suitcase was empty, only a white slip remained.
My tent mate lost her camera, two phones, some Sudanese money (yet all 700 USD remained on the bed), and some of her clothes and both of our backpacks. I immediately knew it had to be kids if the USD was left on the bed because they had no clue what it was. I was so amazed at my response to all of it. I had total peace and it didn’t bother me at all that all my clothes were gone. I honestly did not count it as this huge loss. I have learned so much in the last year about not holding on to material things. It’s pointless to allow myself to lose my peace over them. I really did have total peace.
Well, the ladies who work here, they were so angry, even the guys too. So, the ladies all gathered around me and we just prayed right there on my tent porch, all of us in agreement in my language and theirs that everything would be restored. Our compound manager was unaware that we prayed. He was already outside the perimeter fence looking for the culprits who were long gone.
And so we all went back to work, believe it or not, like nothing happened. Meanwhile our base manger went with another local guy to the police and they began questioning the shepherd boy near our compound, the people at the river, and soon they had the robbers, three young boys. This is a small town where everybody knows what’s up. The compound manager came back to get me so I could go to the police station to reclaim my stuff. The first thing he said when I got in the truck was, “You’ve been prayin again haven’t you?”. He knows that when I pray, stuff happens. Yay God!!
We drove up to this grass shack structure where some grown men were shackled to the dirt floor. The next structure had the boys and the head police guy. And there sat all my stuff, every bit of it! Nothing missing, nothing broken! Once we identified our things, I asked if I could talk to the boys and so I talked to them about my young life as a criminal going nowhere and how giving my life to the Lord has changed everything for me. I asked them if I could pray for them and we all bowed our heads and prayed. The devil’s plans were destroyed this day and these young hearts learned about forgiveness.
The boys are still being held and they were beaten for their crime because there is still a phone missing and a camera and the money. The next step will be calling their parents in and going to the person they sold the stuff to and the parents having to buy it back or the boys stay in jail.
Friday I was running down the bush trail I normally run and before I could do anything, a snake slithered right out onto the path directly in front of me and all I could do was jump really high over it and run like crazy. I looked back and he was gone. I think that the devil is just a little ticked off. No problem. My Daddy is bigger and He is always with me. He never forsakes the righteous and never lets our foot slip. I see the Bible come alive out here in this place of “no other options”. It comes alive just like it should.
On July 5th I traveled back into Sudan with a freshly operated on hand. It was not healing well because of the extreme humidity here because of the constant rain. And, I still do my laundry, although I do wear a Playtex glove (thanks Arlene!) and still have to wash my hands constantly because of the dirty conditions of my job, handshakes, and dirt all around. It ended up getting infected and I took a round of antibiotics and nothing worked. Four nights ago my finger hurts so bad and was so swollen that I couldn’t move it. I just kept praying, falling asleep with the Name of Jesus on my lips, never giving up on God because He doesn’t give up on me, ever!
The next day, all of this brown fluid stuff started oozing out of that little hole in my hand. All day long for three days, there has been a slow oozing and now it is solid clean white and just a tiny bit and my hand is so totally normal, you wouldn’t know I had surgery or an infection. There is the teeniest pinhole and it will be closed tomorrow I am sure. My God does not forsake me. I just keep praying and He just keeps answering. He is amazing, simply amazing.
That was yesterday. Today my finger is back to being swollen and painful. A man shook my hand in church this morning and I almost cried it hurt so much. I came back to the compound and had to do laundry, totally using my hand, and it didn’t hurt for some odd reason, although still swollen. Hmmmmmmmm? “My grace is sufficient for you.” God really does give us grace. One of the ladies told me, “You go to hospital.” I told her, “No I am trusting God, He is healing me.”
I have a young friend in America who said the same thing about a growth on her brain stem. She is trusting God and He is healing her. He really is. That is His nature and I want His nature to be my nature, a nature of faith and believing, no wavering, no doubting, no matter what things look and feel like. And so, even though I don’t welcome the hurt hand, I welcome the challenge of fully trusting God in all things, great and small.
Yesterday I drove into town to do a small amount of business and some of the guys rode along with me. As I drove and they told stories and so thoroughly enjoyed being with each other, laughing and talking and joking, I felt such a peace and joy just being with them. I felt like this is how Jesus felt when He was with His disciples, such sweet fellowship, such peace, such joy. I treasure these moments with my brothers, I surely do. And so ends another week in South Sudan. I am now going to my tent for a well deserved nap, the slight breeze of my fan cooling my skin, and the faint sounds of children’s laughter on the wind.