Wild Dogs, Sheep and Macaroni

This week we received a fine young man from Bor, South Sudan, home of the Dinka tribe.  His sister has been with us for almost two years and he has finally joined our family here in Yei.  Although his Arabic is extremely limited, he jumped right in and has befriended many of the younger boys.  He is nine years old and skinny as a rail and full of life and energy.  We are so glad to have him here.  He spent the first years of his life in a refugee camp in Kenya during the last years of the war and after his parents died, the father in the war and the mother succumbing to sickness and disease, he then moved all around South Sudan with his stepmother.  Welcome home young Abraham Deng.

During the night on Monday our sheep were attacked by a pack of roving wild dogs.  They killed two adults and a newborn baby sheep, carrying off and eating the baby sheep.  Seems that our young shepherd boys didn’t do their job properly and left the sheep untied that night.  So, like humble and stupid sheep, they wandered off in the night to another part of our property.  The guards heard the commotion and went to investigate and chased the dogs off.  Too late, the sheep were dead.  What to do?  Well, after a firm lecture to the boys, we skinned the sheep and feasted for lunch.  What else can one do?

I have learned that sheep are so meek and mild and humble that when they are attacked, they will not cry.  They will run from danger and this causes the attacker to give chase.  On the other hand a goat will face the attacker and even lie down and relax when a pack of dogs wander by.  They won’t run, not even the babies.  So goats never get attacked, only sheep.  I still wonder why we are so likened to sheep by Jesus?  Hmmmmm, causes one to ponder even more….  The boys now make sure to tie the sheep up for the night.  Sheep NEED a shepherd.  Sound familiar?

I gave all the children balloons this week and they have such fun with them.  After dinner one evening we had a hilarious time kicking and batting balloons around in the dark.  Mercy laughed so much and I don’t think I have ever seen her have so much fun.  I held her hand and we chased and ran after balloons and kicked them and she laughed and laughed.  Mercy has come such a long way from the demon possessed little girl we found on the streets in July.  She laughs and smiles and talks and eats like there is no tomorrow.  She is still somewhat mentally challenged, saying few intelligible words yet understanding much, but her energy is now channeled in such a positive way.

If you walk up to her little porch, she takes your hand and gives it to her mama so you can greet her.  She then brings a chair for you to sit on and claps her hands and laughs with joy when all is accomplished.  She is so tickled.  The other children no longer poke fun at her or try to chase her off.  They are so very patient with her and many play with her and laugh at her antics.  I praise God for the day that “she found us” and came into our lives.  She reminds us daily of the mercy of God.  Today during worship, her favorite thing of all, she was so lost inside her joy that she danced with her eyes closed and a huge smile on her face for the longest time.  I watched her and wondered who she saw behind those eyes.  I bet she knows Jesus….

Saturday I was in town and decided that we needed to have a macaroni feast and so I purchased 30 bags of macaroni.  Today after church we had macaroni and beef and posho and it was so so good.  The children were so happy and excited to be eating macaroni noodles.  It is a special deal for them after only getting rice or posho every day.  I have a feeling this will become at least a monthly thing for me.  Now they are running and playing and laughing with so much energy and strength.  Not that they are ever without all these.  Just seems like an extra surge of joy today mixed into their antics.

On my almost daily drive into town I pass an old man at our small village market.  Every time I drive by he yells loudly, “How are you madam?  You are okay?”  I yell back, “I am fine!  How are you?”  Now when I go by I yell it first and he yells back and we just laugh.  It has become a game with us.  I think he drinks a little, well maybe even a lot, and his name is Moses and I feel such tenderness for him.  He makes me smile.  I look forward to saying hello each day and shaking his hand and just loving him with the love of Jesus.