>Seeds and Soil

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I finally accomplished a great milestone in my career as a Sudanese woman! I can now balance a tray of dishes and pots on my head while walking across the compound, no hands! All were impressed. They say I can never leave now! Haha!

So I learned this week that I cannot continue to walk through the river crossings here when I have mosquito bites or any cuts on my ankles or feet. Am now on the receiving end of another infection, swollen foot, red and inflamed and three not very pretty wounds, kind of like what you would see in a medical journal. Antibiotics are fast becoming my one a day vitamin. My immune system is pretty much shot until I get back to civilization and vitamins and such. When I return to Sudan after my next R&R I will have a better plan for my health care and bring enough vitamins to last.

This week we brought Hannah the goat into our family and now we are complete. We shall now wait and see if Abraham is able to do what he needs to so little Isaac can be born in May. Goats stay in mama’s tummy for six months I am told, so…..

Also, I learned to build a bathing shelter. The entire thing cost 63 Sudanese pounds to build, which is about $22 USD. We didn’t have to buy posts as we just chopped down some trees and made our own! Ten posts in all. Then we bought some bamboo and bundles of grass and some rope and nails and 50 bricks for the floor and away we went. So, now I am bathing under the blue African sky by morning and the starry hosts by night. I set my jerry can of water in the sun all day and now get a warm splash in the evening. Wonderful! Nothing better than an outdoor shower.

While we were in the market buying the bamboo I also bought some maize corn for myself. I was carrying four ears of corn in my left hand and from behind a deranged man grabbed them to steal them but I was able to hold onto them. Him and his friend were obviously street dwellers and deranged from years of drinking. He acted like he was going to grab them again and I stood my ground and pointed my finger at them and said, “LA!” very firmly. This is Arabic for “NO!” I said, “I will get the police” and the one got in my face and said he was SPLA and for me to go ahead and get the police. All the people around me were laughing. This is the Sudanese way. I don’t understand it but they laugh at confrontation and when people get injured by falling or tripping or something.

I ended up just walking away because it is pointless to argue with these type people. I came back the same way about ten minutes later and these same two guys had two bags of food and carrying cassava root in their arms. I pointed out to Edward, the Iris kid who was with me, how they did in fact have money to buy things. He said no they badger and threaten the ladies in the market and they have to give them food or risk getting beaten. And people just turn the other way. I HATE CORRUPTION!

Monday as we were praying for the children and the staff, the Lord put on my heart to find a way to bless our mamas. They are always here, sleeping and waking, and never seem to take time for themselves, or it is rare. The same with our cooks. So, we decided to cook dinner for them and serve them. We set up a nice picnic style table in the cool of the evening, with silverware and tablecloth, which they aren’t used to. We made a fresh fruit salad and an avocado tomato salad and pasta with a vegetable sauce and fresh sliced oranges and chipate and cookies and juice. We kept their plates and cups full, we brought around the pitcher of water to wash their hands before and after dinner, we prayed over each one and just loved them. It was so nice. I told them about Mother’s Day and they were amazed that people would do this. This was their Mother’s Day. What a great testimony of Jesus’ love for them.

This week’s person of the week is the most humble and gentle man I have ever known. He is our very own Pastor Edi, who is a counselor here at the Children’s Center. He walks with a limp, which might be from childhood polio (not sure). He is married and they just had their fifth child. His brother was killed by an antinov bomb during the war five years ago and the brother’s wife married another man and left the kids. So Edi took in his brother’s three small children, bringing his to eight. Ten years ago he started a small church in his community. He had to pay over a thousand dollars for the land, which is a huge amount, especially during the height of the civil war here. Pastor Edi doesn’t have this kind of money. He is a very simple man living in a simple two room house. He also built a primary school.

It has now grown so much that they are building a much bigger church and adding to the school. He said all the money came from his congregation and nowhere else. He told them that their children would go to this school and this was their church. He just kept encouraging them to open their meager pockets and give what they could over the years, building it brick by brick. I believe that Edi’s humble heart and impeccable integrity is why his people trust him. This is so rare in the big churches here. He never exalts himself or takes the seat of honor. He humbles himself and serves where he is needed. He is amazing and I just wanted you to know about him.

And now for some agriculture news. When we pick sorghum or simsim or okra or things with seeds, the mamas lay out large mats and spread all these things out to dry in the sun. Everyday I see this in front of their houses. After they have dried, they put them in these scooplike baskets and then they shake and toss to separate the seed from the husks. They can then use the seeds to plant or eat.

1 Corinthians 15:35-55 We are told that our bodies are perishable and our spirits are imperishable. Watching the mamas separating the husks from the seeds reminds me of how we must separate the husk (chaff) from the seed before we can plant the seed by burying it in the ground. The seed is basically put to death by drying in the sun. In the same way, we must separate our flesh from our spirit, the perishable from the imperishable, in order to walk in Kingdom reality. In order to produce fruit, we have to get rid of the flesh or chaff in our lives so that good seed remains, and even that must be put to death and buried in order to be resurrected in new life in the spirit.

I just really love how Jesus illustrated so many of His teachings using farming and nature. Living in a third world country, it is so easy to see what He was talking about and how relative it is. It is so basic yet so profound. That’s Jesus.

Saturday we were going to go into town early to do some things and we were told that Martial Law basically was in place until noon. The SPLA was marching through town and having a demonstration and so no market shops were allowed to be opened and anyone caught moving on the streets would be arrested. This is such a crazy place! Then this morning, one of our older boys told me that their final exams which were to take place in December are happening THIS MORNING! That’s the way things are here. They do what they want when they want. This Referendum for secession makes me nervous because then the people in charge really will be in charge! Today is also the first day of voter registration. Let’s hope shops and businesses are open.

That’s all for this week. God’s blessings on you and your households and may you know His presence with you this week!

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