Again, another busy week has passed into the eternity of time. We have been battling the enemy on all fronts, all week long. Monday morning I woke up with another boil in my nose, just like last October! I almost go out of my way to make sure I wash my hands and keep clean and still! I have talked to some of the other westerners and they have told me of similar stories where weird and strange skin afflictions have come upon them for no apparent reason. Africa just has some weird stuff! Today is Saturday and my nose is getting better and better. I just keep saying grace to this mountain and squeezing and bearing it!
Friday was our Revival Bible School graduation and mid week we ran into some major resistance in the spiritual realm. Our students were harboring offense in their hearts toward us and we were astounded because these are amazingly sweet and spirit filled students who are always so joyful and prayerful and sincerely loving. We learned that there was one student who was instigating the offense and planting seeds of offense in the minds of some of the others.
Thursday morning I was in charge of the sessions and we were spending the morning in worship and intercession for four hours. Right off, I noticed that my strongest prayer warriors among the students were just sitting there and not engaging. Then this literal wall of flies hung like a curtain on the south side of the church and were also flying around in the church. Our church has half walls and the rest is open with steel bars to keep intruders out. As I was praying, twice a fly flew right in my mouth and I spit it out! Then the head pastor and myself, we just looked at each other and both of us said that there was deep darkness hanging in the atmosphere. The enemy came like a flood, seriously. You could cut the air with a knife.
He is Sudanese and the men respect him and he got everyone standing in a line facing those flies and we went into warfare in Arabic. After a half hour of battle and worship we got still before the Lord and repented for holding others bound in our hearts. When you harbor offense toward another person, you are binding them in your heart. And so after this time of repentance, we worshipped again and every bit of darkness left that church and the flies left and we were all walking in love again, no one being offended. Sounds crazy but this stuff really happens here.
It is very obvious here in Africa when the enemy is lurking around. You can feel the atmosphere shift and the darkness descend like the night. I think in the west that it is more veiled or there are so many distractions that it isn’t easily discernable. Here, even nature starts acting out of sync, seriously.
For the graduation I bought three goats and we slaughtered them and grilled them up. Sadly, one of them was Abraham. One of the female goats that we bought was very big and healthy and our little boy goat, Isaac, is getting close to stud, so we had to sacrifice Abraham for the feast to make room for more babies. Kind of backward huh? So, in the kitchen lean to, there sat Abraham’s head and hooves in a bucket. I almost didn’t eat but I managed.
There are no “grills” here and so we went to town and bought some heavy gage window wire grate and bent it in half and put rocks under the corners and there you have it, instant grill. We feasted on grilled goat with my special seasonings of Rosemary and Oregano simmered in beef broth. Add this to fresh picked cabbage that is cooked in a yummy sauce and some rice. So good!!!
Iris Sudan is now reaching to all corners of South Sudan and even into the north. We sent pastors commissioned from the school to Chukudum to the east, Malakal to the northeast, Darfur to the northwest, Yambio to the west and all points in between. We have the map covered and are taking the gospel of love and the Father’s heart to many who are lost and destitute and need to know they are loved. The two guys from Darfur will be working with me up in Aweil when I get there later this year and I am so excited. They are amazing guys. This is going to be an amazing year for Sudan as the Holy Spirit moves across the land.
Earlier this week I was reading in Mark 9 where Jesus says that “everyone will be salted with fire”. I have long pondered this verse and have not understood the meaning or how one can be “salted” with fire. Yep, you guessed it, the Lord revealed it to me through nature again. So simple yet so profound.
I was talking to another missionary, who is here on an agricultural mission, about how we here at Iris don’t burn our fields because the director doesn’t like fire this close to our houses and kids. So, we have to hack away with machetes and such to clear fields. He told me something very interesting. When you burn a field, it leaves a rich deposit of salt from the burning!
So, we are the salt of the earth according to Jesus in Matthew 5:13. The only way we can become the salt of the earth is to be consumed by the fire of God. The salt is what remains. If we don’t let His fire burn off the dead things in us then we are “good for nothing and lose our saltiness and we become trampled by men” according to further reading Matthew 5:13. Jesus says that everyone will be salted with fire. He goes on to tell us that we need to have salt “within” ourselves and to be at peace with each other.
I believe that our hearts must go through the burning, the refiner’s fire, many times, just like a field for planting. We must allow the burnings of God in our hearts to be salted with His fire so that we can remain salty and be a good field for planting. God always wants to do new things in us and for us and with us. We need to allow the season of burning to come so that new things can come forth from our deep roots. We are rooted and grounded in His perfect love so we will not die when the fire comes. The root runs deep and true and He will bring us forth into a new thing, an even better thing. Spring is here! Let the fire come! Be salted by His holy fire! Let us be the salt that remains of the earth.
It is now Saturday night and I am sitting in my bughut so as to avoid the white termites that fly everywhere this time of year. The Sudanese love to catch thousands of them and pick their wings off, leaving only their fat juicy bodies. Then they roast them over a fire and eat them! Ugh! I had to kindly and sincerely refuse. I did try the goat intestines though! I am trying to fit in, really!
Tonight we also watched a movie on my computer, all 105 children gathered round and a handful of mamas. The entire movie did have some added actors (termites) on screen but we just learn to ignore them. No special Oscars there! I usually find myself getting up from the movie about every half hour, slowing picking my way through the dark with a small child dangling in my arms. They always seem to fall asleep when they reach my arms. I have a sleep anointing for kids and they are drawn to it J. Tonight there were two girls and a boy all within an hour.
It is now Sunday noon and we are just back from church. Well, we brought church to the Police Training Camp again. All of them were in their green uniforms and combat boots, sitting in formation, ready for the Word of God. They are graduating in two weeks and have asked for some discipleship training before they go to all parts of Sudan. We are happy to fill that request. The Christian man who was originally the leader of the Police Training Camp has returned. He is very much respected by the men. He loves the Lord and treats his men fairly.
We were told by some of the trainees that the Christians were being punished over the last week because they got baptized and were attending the church service. They were made to stand for long hours and given extra work. That leader is now gone and we don’t know why? Hmmmm, wonder if God had something to do with it? So we are happy to see the old leader returned. The doors are so wide open here in South Sudan for bringing the Good News. There is huge darkness but the Light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is invading that darkness as we carry His light.
It’s sort of like walking into a strange place at night and not knowing what you will see. But then you light a campfire or turn on a flashlight or a kerosene lantern and you begin to see what is there and what needs doing. We carry His light to reveal the need and then we make camp and get to work, not letting ourselves get too comfortable, always ready to move on to another place, another camp, as carriers of the light. We are salted with fire and we carry light. How can there be any darkness in us? It’s all about trusting God with all. Culu culu! Culu hagiga! All all! All truth!
So, today’s lunch treat, along with our regular fare, was roasted termites served up in a nice bowl. Well……. Yep, I actually crunched on one, got it stuck in my molars I did. I ate one. I just had to say I did it. It wasn’t bad or good. It just was. And that is the end of that story, never to be rewritten again I think for me!
After lunch we gathered all of the children and we walked around our huge plot of land and prayed and worshipped and declared and decreed things to keep this land and this ministry consecrated to God. These children are amazing and they are serious when it comes to this sort of thing. Normally when we go for walks there is fighting and crying and playing around and lollygagging and such. This time, they were all focused on what we were about. We didn’t lecture them, we didn’t tell them how to do anything, we just went and they touched every fencepost and went about their Father’s business. It was awesome.