Sunday night was movie night via mini projector and DVD player out on the grass, using the side of a building for the screen. The children sit on big woven mats placed on the grass. This week a sneaky snake decided to cuddle up with the kids. Wary eyes caught him in the act of sneaking and his life came to a quick conclusion this night. Haha, take that you sneaky snake!
Wednesday night I met with my 28 teenage girls for ministry time and we talked about Deborah. They had never heard of her and were so encouraged that in a world of male dominance there arose a woman to lead them. This is huge here in South Sudan because the culture is extremely male dominated and sometimes the women feel helpless and hopeless. I encouraged them to keep on a righteous path, remain in the wisdom of the Lord, and ask of Him and He will grant them open access in areas of government and leadership when His will decrees it.
I picked five of the oldest girls and two of the guys and we planned our fist Iris Children’s Crusade. In the west we would call it Vacation Bible School. Here in Africa, everything is a crusade or a conference. We focused on the first two commandments, one God and no idols. Exactly when we were going to start our worship one of our smallest boys, four years old, started rolling on the floor screaming at the top of his little lungs, pulling at his clothes and his face. We ran to him and discovered he was covered in ants, big ones. They made it all the way to the top of his head, trying to go in his nose, his ears and eyes. I have never ever seen ants so vicious. When I held his shirt to shake ants off, they were literally holding onto the shirt. I could not pry them loose. We tore his clothes off and I took my bottle of water and poured it all over him.
I carried him back to the compound, never ceasing to say the name of Jesus quietly over him as I held him so close to me. We were out of pseudoephedrine so I ran, literally ran, to my room and popped open some Allegra allergy pills and chopped some in half. I put fresh clothes on him after giving him the tabs and put him on my motorbike and we went back to the crusade. He enjoyed the entire day and I couldn’t find a single bite on him anywhere when I looked at him later that day. Truly a miracle. The Lord gets the glory every time and the devil loses! I know it was the work of the devil because every single one of our kids is afraid of ants and won’t even walk down a path if there is a trail of ants. For this boy to be covered from toe to head and not be screaming until he was covered, that’s crazy.
By the end of the day we had ten of the 120 kids wanting to be baptized! It was a successful day I would say. The next morning, Friday, we loaded up our tipper truck (again, it’s like a dump truck) with as many kids as we could fit and off we went to the local watering hole, er, lake. We call it Hai Dam. There is a small dam but water comes over it in rainy season.
The three boys that we rescued from prison were the first ones in the water to receive their baptism. These guys are so amazing. Our head mama was in town the other day buying shoes for them and the police stopped her and said, “These boys are criminals. Why are you buying them shoes?” She proceeded to nicely tell this officer that these boys are excelling in school, they work in the fields digging and planting whenever possible, and the other kids love them. The police officer was so amazed that he asked for her number and gave her his number. I have a feeling we might be seeing more precious teenagers come from the prison into the family of Jesus.
Also, over the last two years we have rescued a couple handfuls of girls from the capital city of Juba. They were living on the streets or in tarp huts with mothers who were prostitutes and drunkards or no parents at all. These girls would go to the club shacks and dance with men for money. As we all know, one week here with us changes everything. These girls are so precious and boy do they love Jesus. All are on our worship team and some have even preached. A couple of them are very prophetic too. Well, the last five came to the water for their baptism this week.
The other two guys were from Nuba Mountain. They are cousins to one of our Nuba boys and they have run here escaping the horrible genocide that is happening there in the very southeastern edge of north Sudan. These are grown young men but they are family because their cousin lives with us. We have a transition house for our young men who have graduated school and are working and this is where these young men live. They are so humble and sweet. I was so happy to see them come to the water. Jesus sure does amazing things doesn’t He?
Later that same night the kids and I had our weekly Friday night worship session and for three hours we pressed in for the glory as we worshipped. We are praying for a manifestation of God’s glory here in South Sudan, in North Sudan, and on our compound. In the Glory, nothing can stand. Sickness must bow. Sin must bow. Corruption must bow. Wars must cease. “And His glory shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.”
Saturday, as I made ready for bed, I journeyed out for a last call at the latrine and what did I find lurking about? Well, slithering about. You guessed it, another snake. This time I refused to squat in the bushes on the side of my house again. I went to my room, grabbed my machete, and chopped that slimer right in half. Pow! Dead snake now. Guess I will have to carry my machete to the latrine at night from now on, actually, walking anywhere at night.
And that’s a wrap for another week in South Sudan. Blessings my friends!