Tuesday we took two more young men home to their families. Whenever we take a boy home we buy him a new set of clothes so he can arrive home not looking like he has been sleeping with the pigs. Anyar 16 and Deng 15 are from Warawar, a village about two hours drive from Aweil. Anyar’s father is dead and he came to Aweil two years ago to try and find work to help support his mom and brothers. Needless to say, there is no work here, especially for young boys. Anyar is a good boy and doesn’t seem to have been taken in by the street life of drinking and huffing glue. He always has this sad look on his face and is very quiet and helpful to me. His family was so happy to have him home. We are returning there next week to buy him a uniform and register him in school. He is truly, truly happy to be “home” again.
Deng lost his mother to sickness and his father is very old. He has two brothers and a step mother and a step sister. They too were glad to see him return home. His story is the same as Anyar’s, looking for work. This is the story all over South Sudan. There is no food in the bush as the land is not very condusive to growing huge crops unless one has a tractor as the ground is so brutally hard and rocky. The people head for the cities and there simply is no work in the cities yet people still come expecting to find that ever elusive job. Once here, they are just sort of stuck. Next week we are sending two more boys home on Tuesday to a village three hours drive from here. And to think that these young ones walked here by themselves over the course of three days on the hope of finding food. This is life for a small boy with no food. One of the boys who is 10 told us his story and tears were falling because of the hard life he has seen in the last two years. He just wants to go home again. And so he will.
Also this week I taught the older boys, about 30 of them, about the Holy Spirit and what He is “in” them. I taught about trouble and how Jesus never promised us a life without it. Jesus said we will have trouble. It is up to us how we choose to react to trouble. I want these boys to see that their life of troubles doesn’t have to keep them powerless. The power of the Holy Spirit brings so much more hope and goodness to any situation. When it came time to fill them with the Holy Spirit I was amazed at how serious they were and eager to receive. Every single one of them raised their hands and closed their eyes and patiently waited as we laid hands on each one. This kind of patience in a street boy is simply amazing in itself. Their hands were lifted, eyes closed, no one looking around or fidgeting, just waiting on the Spirit. It was amazing. These boys are hungry for something different in their lives. They really want to walk in Kingdom power and hearing the voice of God. I told them I would teach that to them next, hearing God for themselves, and they are excited. Me too!
I am noticing that these children know every song in the church. They know the dances and the songs. I am finding that only 5% or less have ever heard any of the stories in the Bible. They didn’t know who John the Baptist was, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and so much more. These are open and empty vessels waiting to be filled with good things. We really want to get them back with their families but we also want to send them home filled with Jesus and filled with His power to overcome and to even teach others what they have learned.
The rains are here and that is good. I managed to fix all my roof leaks so now when it rains I can remain abed asleep and not have to run around with a flashlight looking for waterfalls in my house. I laugh at that first night. Now I have to do fence mending. The ground gets so saturated that everyone’s fences are falling over because the holes aren’t dug deep enough for the wooden posts. I find myself digging in the mud at 7:00 a.m. so that my fence isn’t littering the pathway or my neighbor’s yard. It is always something here, as I am sure it is always something where you are, just different somethings! In this world we will have trouble, ah but Jesus has overcome the world and so have we through Him. I bless you, each one, and pray for God’s provision for you this week, for healing and restoration in your family’s health and relationships, and for a deeper revelation of God’s love for you.