Monday morning I went to the Yei prison and took along our Sudanese pastor and another missionary from Iris. We went to see the captain of the police to inquire about the blanket situation for the youth. We were very warmly received and I told him about our heart for the youth here in Sudan. He said that yes indeed there were 25 young people incarcerated and they did in fact sleep on the dirt and had no blankets. I then asked if we could go and purchase blankets and sleeping mats and bring them back and pray with the youth.
And so we did. We ended up purchasing 30 blankets and a huge tarp to cover the dirt. The cost was $200 USD and some change. Those who have sown into Sudan through their giving, I thank you for these blankets! We were allowed into the prison yard where all the prisoners were organized and sitting and waiting to hear a message. At first I thought to myself, “But I just wanted to minister to the youth.” Then I knew this was a divine set up and someone needed a touch from God.
I am becoming more and more comfortable being uncomfortable, if that makes sense. I had no clue, no clue, what I would say to them???? I wasn’t prepared to preach to the masses. But, in Sudan, this is normal and so I did what I always do. I went with the flow, the Holy Spirit flow. Until the moment I opened my mouth, I didn’t know what was going to come out. After my message, my friend, Pastor Sebit took over and when all was said and done, two thirds raised their hands for Jesus to be Lord in their lives.
I was very persistent about them not raising their hand just because everyone else was or because they felt pressured. God knows the heart so be honest here. I had to check my emotions when we bowed our heads to pray because here were these men with leg chains humbly bowing their heads and lifting their hands. Church in the prison yard is under the mango tree. I have attended more church services under a mango tree than in a real building. Ahhhhhh the church without walls. The walls were coming down this day in the prison yard. I praise God for such a privilege to minister to these precious souls. Jesus came as a man for these men and women. He came as a man for them.
Today as I was riding the motorcycle along the muddy rain soaked path to town, I clothes lined a goat! He was on one side of the path and his rope was tied to the other and the grass along the trail was knee high so I didn’t see the rope until it was too late to stop. The rope caught in my tire and the goat swung through the air by his neck, around my back wheel and landed on the correct side of the road, where his rope was tied. These three little boys were standing there just staring at me and I almost burst out laughing. Instead I just looked at them calmly and smiled and said, “Shukran Yesu.” Thank You Jesus. And I road off into the sunset.
Tomorrow I embark on a journey that I feel will change the course of my life. Two years ago the Lord told me that the next two years will be my training ground for something bigger. Those two years ended two weeks ago. The something bigger is here. There are 40,000 + refugees living alongside the road, under trees, against market walls, anywhere they can shelter in Turalei until help comes.
The rains have come and in that part of the country the mud is like quicksand and there are snakes aplenty. Malaria is in high season and there is no food. My heart is quickened to go and do something, anything. Michele and I are each taking all the money we have to spare and believing that God will multiply the fishes and the loaves. We are putting all our faith in our Papa because He can do anything for whomever He pleases.
Pray for favor and protection as we go. Wherever there are refugees there are bandits. Witchcraft and witch doctors are very common in these parts also. This last week here at Iris, three of us have felt a heaviness connected with witchcraft and so we are expecting to be a light plunging into the darkness to find treasure there. If you are following my journey on a map, we leave Yei in the morning and drive north to Juba, which is about a six hour drive in our itty bitty car (RAV4). Tuesday morning we fly from Juba north to Wau. We will then drive north west to Aweil which is a three hour drive. Once in Aweil, if it can be arranged, we will drive north east to Turalei, which I am estimating to be a four hour drive, and then try to even reach Abyei, which is further north. All these roads are dirt roads with no guarantee to be good during the rainy season.
I had a dream two nights ago that I was a retired Navy Chief (true) and I was going to boot camp in the Army. I was sitting on the floor being treated like crap by the drill sergeant and she told me that my rank means nothing here (boot camp). In my dream I smiled politely and said I know and it’s okay. Jesus humbled Himself and made Himself of no account. I pray that I remember this as I go to people who have nothing and have had their dignity taken from them and live as refugees. I pray that I can sit with them and emphasize with them and love them and honor them as better than myself.