God is doing an accelerated work here in Aweil!! After the first week of feeding and a month of loving and daily street visits and wound care, these kids are changing. The custom in South Sudan is to shake a persons hand when you greet them. If your hand is dirty then you either offer your arm for the other person to softly grasp or you do the same for their arm right above the wrist so as not to soil the hands. This is a sign of respect. These boys would always grab our hands to shake, theirs being caked with dirt, and we would take theirs and never think anything of it. This weekend they began softly grasping our wrists as a sign of respect toward us!! And the shopkeepers are telling us that on the days we feed the boys and spend time with them, there is no stealing in the market. The boys just go and take a nap after attending our school and they don’t rob.
After the robbery on our compound on Sunday I had to drive my motorbike into town to tell all the boys who had gathered that we had to cancel the feeding for that day because we had to hire watchmen and put up barbed wire and such. Do you know that they understood and were sorry for us and no one complained about not getting fed??? That is so amazing, you can’t even know how amazing. These kids have been self centered and only thinking about their immediate need and they understood. They even said that they were going to look for these robbers for us. Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!
Today, Wednesday, we gathered them all under our shelter and some of us sat on the ground in the midst of them. They would crawl into our laps, crack my knuckles, pop my toes, put ten rubberbands on my arms and show me rubberband tricks, let me hug them, make funny goofy faces, and just love them, up close and personal. When I began to teach them about Psalm 139 and how God really knew them forever, and about how David was anointed king at 15 yet didn’t become one until 30, the eyes of all never left my face as they listened. I then told them we were going to anoint them as kings and this would launch them into their destiny, that they didn’t have to listen to what others said about them. I told them that David lived on the streets, in caves, people always after him, and Joseph being in prison. They identified with these guys. When I asked them how many were ready to walk as kings in God’s kingdom and follow Jesus down the good and righteous road, every hand shot up. They loved that we anointed each of them. Again I was just overwhelmed by how good they were being.
For the first time, there was no pushing or shoving in line. Everyone was sitting and singing church songs, both young and old, as they waited for their turn. And when they were finished we didn’t have to round them up to leave, they quietly left on their own like they are supposed to. We were all just amazed truly, at the transformation in our kids. It just doesn’t happen this fast. We are so excited now to see what is going to come of these little lives, disciples in the highways and byways!
Tomorrow we go to another refugee camp to show the Jesus film and to pray for the sick and the lost to come to salvation. There are many Muslims at this camp. I know the enemy is really agitated at us because we are invading his territory. We are not afraid of him nor ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Please pray for all these things.