That’s Dinka for greetings. What a crazy busy week we have had. We unloaded our truck from Yei on Sunday afternoon amidst a spectator crowd of locals. They all wanted to come see the Kawajas move in. Some guys wanted to help and I knew by experience that this help would not be free. They wanted 50 pounds and I told them 20 only. They refused so I told them that we loaded the truck by ourselves and we can easily unload it by ourselves. Aha, they agreed to 25 pounds. And so we unloaded everything into our storeroom. After we got rid of everyone we took a look at our compound. My team came at me from all directions – our doors don’t lock, the gate is broken, we have ants all over, the plaster is coming off – and on it went. I sat down at one point and literally put my head in my hands and was overwhelmed. Then I just got up and decided that we would tackle one thing at a time by priority.
The local kids kept coming in our gate and so that was priority. We went to the market and bought our supplies and got to work over the next five days. Every day we worked from early morning till dinner. We now have a working double gate, painted houses, doors that close and lock (for the most part), a new grass mat fence, cleaned latrines and bathing shelter and compound, and four clothesline poles holes dug and firmly set and a burn pit started. My hands are cut and blistered and sore but my spirit is still willing. We still have to install our solar system this weekend.
Amidst all of this we endure the intense heat, 120 degrees most days and 100 at night, working its way down to the eighties in the wee hours of the morning, and we drink a ton of water all day long. Even the water is warm, 80-90 degrees, as we have no way to cool anything. At night we lie in our beds sweating. Now, when it hits 85 in the wee hours of the morning, we are almost a bit chilly. When I bathe in the evening I don’t even bother to towel off because it just feels so good to have water on my body cooling me for about five minutes until it all evaporates. So, I put my clothes on my wet body, serious.
Until we put our fence up yesterday, the local kids bothered us almost nonstop by yelling through the fence all day. They weren’t mean, just pesty. They would constantly say, Kawaja how are you, or call our names, or ask us for money. Even adults would come up asking for food or money or medicines. Needless to say, we had a lot of opportunity to pray for people. There is a rumor that I am here to pay for schooling. I dispelled that quickly. I think people are surprised that we just live here on this compound and don’t actually have workers here. I now have a nice sized room for the first time in four years and am also not living out of my suitcase for the first time in four years.
We learned through the UN that we are the only Christian ministry in all of Aweil. There are two others about 30 miles away, Samaritan’s Purse and Kush For Christ, but we are it in Aweil. Where are all the disciples that should be discipling all nations? So, our opportunity is huge here. I plan to meet with government officials on Monday so we can get started with the boys. We have to introduce ourselves and let everyone know that we are here and why before we can start ministry.
We are noticing that every single day we see blind people. I have never seen so many blind people in one place in my life. So, we are taking this as an opportunity to pray and declare that these eyes see in Jesus Name. We could just be walking along in the market and see a blind man and we just greet him and begin praying, not even asking permission. We have never been told no. We are believing that the blind will see in this place!
The food supply is meager this far north and we scramble to find healthy things to cook and eat. We eat lunch in town and all restaurants serve meat and bread. I am actually very tired of meat after only a week. At night we each take turns cooking a meal, which usually consists of some kind of pasta dish. Vegetables are rare as is fruit. The cost of one single apple or orange is $1.25. There are no bananas and so we don’t get any fruit at all. We will definitely need so much grace to live here. I did buy a can of pineapple last night for dinner. So good! Until next time, be blessed where you are.