Sometimes I am still so amazed that I am living in such a primitive land. I ride the motorcycle through small trails of high elephant grass, children running barefoot through these same trails, the grass always wet with the daily rains. There is no easy way to get to our compound. It is really this far out and no real roads out here. I have to pass over two small river crossings. I have yet to see any wildlife here that would cause one to consider they are in Africa, such as lions and monkeys and zebras and such. Here, we have dogs, which all look exactly alike, seriously. They are skinny tan short haired dogs, kinda cute too. Plenty of spiders and flies and frogs and field mice of course, and praise God no snakes yet! This is one part of Africa I can do without.
Things are starting to pick up and get real busy here for me now. You just have to wait and see and be watchful and the needs will be made visible to you, wherever you find yourself in this world. Iris Sudan is a beautiful place to live, where the children can be children, and where the Father’s heart can be seen every day. There are so many children, over one hundred now, and so few of us who minister to them. The center is set up where there are house units and there is a Sudanese mama who lives in each house. So, it is like a family within each house. The children get up early and everyone has chores, from cleaning the latrines, to helping the little ones get bathed and dressed, to sweeping down the dirt walkways. And in the evening, the older girls help to cook and the younger ones help each other and the toddlers to bathe and get everyone bedded down for the night. Everyone helps, boys and girls, all ages. They really do care for each other and no one gets beaten or spanked. All is done from a place of love and caring. The toddlers are still learning how to share, which is normal all over the world.
There is always activity and movement and noise when you are living with this many children and so the first need I am tackling is to find a quiet place for the older children to be with the Lord. Saturday I located a short, yet full sized palm tree with some smaller trees around it buried deep in thick elephant grass, well past my head in height. And so I grabbed a machete and started blazing a trail and clearing the area. I spent all afternoon doing this, patiently cutting away the thicket of seven foot tall elephant grass and have made a nice clearing all around the tree. It is a beautiful garden spot and some of the teenagers have seen it and love it. I went to the market yesterday and bought some large woven mats to lay on the ground and I am going to plant some twelve foot tall sunflowers along the perimeter to make it a beautiful garden. I am still working on widening it this week as I think it will become a much used place.
I have also decided to set aside times for soaking and ministering prayer for the children in this place. They really love this. There are so many here that, having some small set aside times with small groups can really be encouraging for them and help to feed their spirits. I am also starting up a drama troop to perform Biblical dramas every week. They really love telling stories through drama and I have invited the little ones to also be involved. So, I am hoping to start the drama team this week, at least on a small scale, to get them ready for area evangelism. African people love storytelling and so this will be a great way for the children to be a part of some local outreaches when we are able to take them along.
Also here with me are a couple from South Africa via Australia and another lovely lady from Britain. I have known them from the Missions school in Mozambique and so it is so good to minister alongside them as we reach out to this area with the love and heart of God. This week we will be conducting a three day FIRE conference with fifty church leaders. We will be ministering the Father’s heart and healing and deliverance from old bondages and curses so that they can be empowered to reach their congregations. This is the first in four for this area and next week we will be traveling to Juba, a five to six hour drive north. So, many exciting things are happening of which I am so blessed to be a part of.
I have very limited access to internet and so I apologize to those who have emailed me and I have not responded. I bought a modem in Akuem and it worked fine there, yet once I arrived here, I cannot seem to get it to work. And so until I can it to work, I have to travel to a ministry down the road and use their internet. I do have my cell phone and so I can access internet this way but because the buttons are so small it is very time consuming to try and type an email from it. Every once in awhile I will update my Facebook status from it but that’s about it. So, please know that I cherish your emails and I will eventually respond. Again, your seeds of prayer and finances and just being there for me on the other side of the world are so huge. You really are a part of all that I do here and your reward is rich already because of lives being saved and changed daily. Thank you so much for being a part of what God is doing here in Africa!