I’m going to just dive right in. The border area of Abyei (oil land) was taken by force this last week by President Bashir of the North. He sent war planes and dropped bombs on 10 innocent villages and killed innocent civilians. He dismantled the government by force and replaced it with his own. He made a public statement that if the South took Abyei, he would not recognize us as a nation and war would ensue. Well, he jumped the gun and started his own war. Abyei is now in the hands of the north and I don’t know what is going to happen next.
The people are displaced and running south. I dug through what little I own concerning clothes and managed to give two pairs of capri pants and six shirts and a pair of sandals and one set of bed sheets. This is just a tiny drop in the bucket but every little bit helps. I am still hoping to make a trip up there myself in the next few weeks. I will wait and see what God has in mind for me. I feel such a pull to go and encourage these people and so I wait on His leading to go.
The price of fuel here has hit such magnanimous proportions that even many NGO’s are not driving unless it is unavoidable. This is not an exaggeration – the cost for one gallon of gas is $14.00. This has caused a major chain reaction concerning food and transportation costs. Everything has doubled concerning taking public transportation. The price of maize, the main staple of subsistence, has doubled and the price of beans and rice and baby formula has gone up 50-70%. Things are becoming very hard in South Sudan and many say it will get much worse.
This new country (as of July 9th, 2011) will have no major industry or exports and so where is the money going to come from? Abyei is in the hands of the north and so we don’t even have oil money. It’s not looking good. The scripture, “Blessed are the poor….” Really hits home. This was this morning’s message from the mouth of a sixteen year old preacher, one of our girls. She preached that we are not here to be blessed but to be a blessing. We should rejoice in all things because Jesus has prepared a place for us when all is finished here on earth. These kids have no parents, a few sets of clothes, maybe two pairs of sandals and beans every day for food. They understand blessing.
Now for some good news. I took our abuba to the clinic, the one who couldn’t see very well, and she received an eye exam and a pair of new reading glasses for $3.00. That is awesome. There is a ministry here called CMS Ireland that runs a clinic and the prices are amazingly cheap, including meds. This is where we take our children for treatment. I don’t think they have any real doctors on staff, just bottom of the rung nurses with limited training. I have again spent most of the week at the clinic as the children are going through the cold and flu season and so there are a lot of coughs and sniffles going about, and malaria. So, we have checked all beds and all now have new mosquito nets and so we have declared war on malaria in Jesus Name!
I have also been busy with the business of running the base. There is still much building and just the daily needs are somewhat time consuming. I have been enjoying it and so am not complaining. But, this has once again left me so little time for outreach type ministry, although I spend major chunks of time with the children and so I think that qualifies as ministry J.
I was invited to speak at the Church of God Sudan conference for pastors and leaders on Saturday. I spoke about leadership and what it takes to make a great leader. Somehow the theme, “Follow Me”, was the basis of my talk. Everything that I do here seems to come back to that, follow the Lamb. It makes leading so much easier.
It has been raining every afternoon as the rainy season is upon us. The rain comes in sheets and soaks everything for about 15-20 minutes and the sun comes out and the children come back out and things grow almost before our eyes. When I left to Nairobi the maize plants were to my ankles. Exactly one month later and they are taller than me (over 6 feet). I sit on my front porch and 10 yards out there is a beautiful field of maize corn to look at. To my right, same distance, are onions. We are also growing ground nuts and cassava (my absolute favorite). Soon we will plant potatoes and greens. I love the rainy season here because the nights are amazingly cool. Talk about the best sleep ever!
Every day I eat my fill of fresh mango. They are so numerous that we have to eat one or two a day or they will spoil. They are my absolute favorite fruit and I never grow tired of them. The Lord has blessed me with excellent health and I feel great. Thank you for all your prayers for keeping my body healthy and strong.
I close my update with this wonderful scripture that I have been declaring every day now. Our borehole water supply is running slow and not as plentiful. It takes more effort to pump the water up and it is not as rich a flow. And so we lay hands on our borehole and declare out of Exodus 23:25 that we worship the Lord and he blesses our water and our food and He takes all sickness from among us and gives us a full life span. Every night I dance and sing and pray with the children under the stars, the heavens that the Lord put in place. We worship the Lord before we lay our heads to sleep each and every night. We will see our blessing, Amen!