If you are a Facebook friend of mine then you have seen the picture of myself and my Sudanese friend, David. He is over seven feet tall and is one of the gentlest men I know. He came to us, Iris Aweil, through our partnership with Cities of Refuge. With the split of the church he was a part of here in Aweil, he decided to take the high road and not the popular road where the leaders led the sheep into deception. There is much deception and flesh rising up with the group who has taken over and David did not want to be a part of it. He has been working with us on a volunteer basis because of his love for the orphans. While he was with this other church, he took in ten young street boys to father them and feed them with the help of the church. He built a tukel for them to live in and has cared for them when no one else has. The church split has caused these ten children to once again be homeless as the church doesn’t want them around. As I have stated, they are in much deception right now.
Instead of throwing up his hands in despair, David has decided to not let the boys go and to care for them on his own. David has no job yet he refuses to put them back on the streets. This is true fathering of the orphan at all costs. David doesn’t count the cost. He only knows that he cannot turn aside. Cities of Refuge is still very involved in the lives of these ten children and they will not let them parish. Neither shall we. So, working together, David and his ten children will be cared for, as we help to take in the orphans by helping David. I bless David for not walking away when walking away would have been the easy way out. He chose to stay and to love and I tell you, what he has done for the least of these he has indeed done this for Jesus. I love stories like this of perseverance because in America and the rest of the modern world we see things that seem so bad and unbearable, yet we can still have hope because of all that is available to help us, but there are always those who have it much worse and don’t see hope on the horizon yet they persevere. There reward will be great.
Here in sub Saharan Africa we live in intense heat, limited access to good fruits and vegetables, having to carry heavy containers of water every day to meet our basic needs, cooking over a charcoal fire, hand washing all our clothes, where everything we do takes twice as long as the modern world. Sometimes I get so tired and I get frustrated of being asked numerous times every single day for money and food. It never stops. Sometimes I get angry because many people here in South Sudan tell me I am not doing enough to care for these children, their children and tell me what I should be doing. Sometimes I get so weak because I cannot eat in this intense heat, yet I press on. Do I think of quitting? Sometimes. Deep down I know that by staying I am doing the right thing. I don’t crave the foods or comforts of home because what purpose does this serve? I press on here, keeping the vision always before my eyes.
“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:11-12 NIV
That secret that Paul talks about is in knowing what God’s perfect will for my life is. His will for my life right now? It is to sit with the poor tending to them. I literally sit in the dirt every day as I tend the wounds of the children, squeezing puss out of rotted flesh and scrubbing scabs off to get to the meat of the wound. My stomach turns at the smell but I cannot walk away. It is God’s will that I stay. I would not be truly happy anywhere else for now. We are at our best when we are walking in His best for us at any given time, no matter what the circumstance around us.
Anyone who perseveres through trouble, through laying down things that are not good, through doing what God has asked us to do, and so much more, those who persevere and don’t quit, even as they stay in the fight, no matter what, they will receive a great reward from Him, even if they never see the reward here. Our concept of time is limited but God’s isn’t. Eternity is impossible to imagine compared to the small drop of one hundred years here. I am shooting for eternity and count all that is here in these hundred years as loss compared to the greatness of knowing Jesus.