And the rains continue here in South Sudan. Every day the rains come and everything is a muddy mess on the roads. Thank You Jesus for gumboots! I practically live in them now – haha!
The late harvest season is soon upon us and all are excitedly waiting to eat sweet potatoes and cassava on a regular basis. This will be our breakfast soon – yay!! I have set aside my seed for maize corn and it is drying along with all the other mama’s kernels. Come February I will plant my very own field. The mamas are amazed and have welcomed me even more into their “Sudanese woman” circle.
I am still shuttling kids back and forth to the clinic just about each day. One of our young boys dislocated his hand while trying to move a wall with his fist. I think he learned that the wall won’t move. Another girl dislocated her knee while playing. And we have one in the hospital for asthma/pneumonia. Getting a person set up to stay overnight in the hospital is a major undertaking here. I had to load up two jerrycans of water. The nurse set pills on the bedside of our 14 year old and told me I needed to go and purchase some water somewhere so she could take her pills. Crazy! Can you imagine checking into a hospital in the USA or Europe and not be able to take your medication until a family member brings you water to swallow them? Count your blessings for sure.
The jerrycans of water are for bathing because there is no water on the hospital grounds, actually it’s more of a clinic with rooms for overnight care. I also had to pack up the camp coal stove, blankets, sheets, pillows, soap, dishes…. Staying in a hospital is basically camping because the patient is responsible for all their own needs, even to bringing their own toilet paper. Lastly I packed up Abuba, our beloved grandma, to stay with our child, sleeping in the same hospital bed of course. After all this, we have to come twice a day with food, which is a one-hour roundtrip minimum. So you see where a lot of my time goes.
I do have a miracle story! Last week we took one of our small boys to this same clinic, which is new by the way. This clinic has more modern equipment and a better lab than the other one we were going to. So, as you remember from my last update, the small boy was tested positive for HIV. We were told to take him to the Yei Hospital as they are the only ones who give the ARV meds. Before we took him, I prayed for him and declared that the next test would be negative. I also asked you all to pray for him.
After two failed attempts to get him to the hospital, I finally got him there and tested. The test returned negative! I then went back and asked for the clinic to recheck the results. Positive. I then went back to Yei Hospital, made it all the way to the Director’s Office, one of the benefits of being white here, and she brought in all three tests. Right there in her office we tested this boy with all three tests, one of them being the one used at the clinic, and he tested negative!
Back at the clinic, the man was bewildered as to why the tests differed. I told him about me praying and how Jesus answered. Now the lab tech and one of the doctors (there are only two) asked me if I would come one morning next week and pray for their staff. Haha – YES Jesus!! Instant outreach – haha!
Another miracle: We have a young man on our team who is going to one of our remote areas for five months. He is awaiting the arrival of his friend from Ghana. Both are Iris Harvest School graduates. We received a call from the man from Ghana that he arrived at the Kampala, Uganda airport and the authorities were holding him for no reason and would not let him leave the airport. After many calls and emailing letters, the authorities dug in their heals even more. This young man had now been sitting in the airport for two days. I was fasting and praying on Friday as this is my day of doing this and I prayed for Michael, our man in Uganda. I clearly heard the Lord say, “I will make a way where there seems to be no way and all will be surprised.” I told his friend here what I heard.
The young man here made one more call to a friend who has a friend at the airport immigration office of all places. Within the hour, the authorities, for no stated reason, told Michael he could go. This other man at immigration then took Michael home with him and took him to the bus station and got him on the bus to Arua in Northern Uganda. The immigration man called the authorities in Arua and told them to help Michael with the rest of his journey! Michael now has an open road, no hindrance, and arrived the next day here at Iris Sudan. The Lord made the way and yes, we were so surprised at the favor that came within an hour of hearing the Lord’s voice!
Another miracle: We have lights and wall sockets with power in our dorms!!! YAY!!!! This same young man, Chris, mentioned in the last story, has done an amazing work here on our base. He has run cable and solar panels and batteries and we all now have real light and charging capacity in each of our rooms. I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to walk into my room and flip a switch and it not being attached to my head (headlamp)! So wonderful. I am so extremely blessed, I just laugh with the goodness of the Lord!
Mercy is still learning daily how to function in a normal society. I think she is the cutest in the mornings and the kids are taking to her and have so much patience with her. In a normal Sudanese village setting, Mercy would not be accepted by any children. They would throw rocks at her and push her and poke fun at her. Weakness is frowned upon. Here at iris the children are merciful and loving and patient toward Mercy. They teach her their singing games and they actually play with her when she is still enough to play. I have taught her “time out” and so when her energy becomes a little too much for the other children, I just point to a place apart from the children and she becomes calm. We still believe that one day she will be able to function in a calm and normal manner on a regular basis. We have to because there is no other option. There are no mental health doctors here. We have to do what we do best, love her and show her grace each day.
The Iris Dream Team Soccer team has completed another season. They made it to semi finals and once again, a bad call by the referee has cost them the game. We don’t understand why the referees don’t like our team, we really don’t. Even one of our missionaries went to the game and he said it was a really bad call and unfair. The team left the field dejected. Here in Africa soccer is everything. It is life. So, I told the team that I wanted to honor their hard work and dedication by having a celebration at our compound for them. Today twenty two players came and our teenage girls cooked up such an amazing feast for them. There was so much food that even two plates for all still left more to eat. Try feeding an African soccer team with 22 growing young men! My gosh can they pack away the food! They were so blessed and loved that we loved them like this. I spoke the Father’s blessing over them and told them that they were kings and priests in their Father’s eye’s, thereby they are winners to Him.
Our boys later told me that these young men were so blessed by the fact that we cared so much about them. They stayed all afternoon and had their “man circle” and talked the afternoon away. As they finished, I watched them stand and bow their heads to pray. Wow! What an amazing sight to see. I was telling our sons here at Iris that even in America, when our sons are on their sports teams, it is customary to have a celebration at the end to bless their efforts. They are treated just the same as our sons in America. We honor them here just as much. Today was a good day!
At weeks end, again I am exhausted but wonderfully so. Until next week, may the Lord bless you and cause His face to shine upon you and give you peace.