What a wild ride this week has been, I tell you! All I can say is that I know nothing except Christ crucified. All the rest is in His hands. Before I forget, those who sowed into building David’s house for his ten orphans, it is built! We were also able to fully stock it with beds and sheets and dishes and basins for showering, everything this family needs. They have all begun to call him Father. We tried to go today to take pictures and anoint his house and pray with them but they were visiting another church so we will go another day. Thank you all who helped to feed and shelter these ones. What you have done, you have done unto the Lord.
Monday my staff told me that the Muslims in Aweil are starting a program, copying ours, to reach out to the street boys. They plan to feed them and to try and convert them. Don’t you know that Satan can NEVER have an original idea? He always has to copy and to pervert. So, Monday I talked to the boys about this. I told them that the Muslims are doing a very good thing by wanting to feed them, it is the right thing to do. I then told them that they must remain faithful to Jesus and not look to another God. I am praying for their souls these days more than ever.
Tuesday I sent my four staff guys in four directions, north, south, east and west and with them went nine precious boys heading back home where they belong. That very afternoon, after standing against this Muslim program and sending these boys home, I was taken to my knees with a respiratory infection. I was in my bed for three solid days, no strength to even eat. Today, Saturday, is the first day that I have been again in the land of the living, praise Almighty God. I am still taking Augmentin (super penicillin) but am on the road to recovery. Our little team of laid down lovers is doing some serious damage to the kingdom of darkness in this city.
I go through the streets of Aweil on our little three wheeler and all along the way, so serious, the kids yell my name, Carolina, and I touch my heart and point to them and they likewise back to me. They know they are loved. I never fail to shake their hands and hug them and smile at them. One of my team members laughingly said today that I am the most famous person in Aweil. I pray that it is because these kids truly know the love of Christ poured out for them and that He will NEVER abandon them. This is my heart’s desire.
Thursday my Sudanese team came to my compound to tell me the stories of the boys who went home. Ahhhh I wanted to weep, for joy and for the pain of their suffering. One of our pastors had to travel two days, much of it on foot, just to get two boys home. I cannot tell you how amazing these men of God are and their commitment to the Lord’s work. This pastor finally made it to the farthest remote village and had to spend the night in a goat pen with a hyena stalking him all night. He did not sleep. The father of the boy had four other young ones at the small homestead. They had been reduced to eating the leaves off of trees because the rains had not come yet. Can you imagine eating tree leaves to survive? Yet this boy proudly posed for his picture in his new school uniform and books in hand as the first one to go to school in his family. This means more to him than food. Ahhhh we have no clue in the “modern” world what people treasure and what they will do to survive.
Another one of our guys also went on a two day trek and found a single grandma at the other end so happy to see her grandson come home and is going to go to school. Another grandma could not even see her grandson in his new uniform, as she is blind and living in a small hovel, feeling her way on her knees as she digs and plants. There are so many stories of people living in such desolate conditions yet they persevere. I think so many of those whom we meet in heaven will have such amazing stories to tell of fortitude and struggle and trust always in God. For wherever we go the people tell us that they trust God and no other, they love Him and He will not forsake them. I wonder could we say the same if found in their situations? As we say here in South Sudan, “Yayayayayayaya…..”, which means “Oh I tell you, I tell you, the things I have seen…..”.
Me, I am guilty of wanting to quit when the going gets really, really rough. There is nothing worse than being really sick in a third world country. It is so hot here and there is no relief, no AC to lie in front of, no refrigerator to get a cool drink from, no nice hot soup for your soul. If you are sick here, you still have to make a fire and gather things to cook otherwise you don’t eat. Praise God for my neighbor, my friend Asunta, who kept feeding me porridge and teas. She kept a vigilant eye on me. Even wanting to have a cool shower here requires carrying a 40 pound water jug across our compound. I barely had the strength to get myself across the compound. I say all this to cause people to see how these people live year in and year out. It is so very difficult here. I lay there and I said, “GOD, how long, how long until You come??? I can’t do this anymore. I don’t have it in me anymore.” I tell you this last four months have been the hardest of my entire life and I was at a crucible. I couldn’t survive the thought of being sick one more time under these circumstances. I couldn’t bear it.
Friday night my team, we fast and we worship and we press in to God. Last night it was intense! God then revealed to us that there are many who go through the baptism of the Holy Spirit and water. And this baptism is such fun and we get so wrecked and love melting in His Presence. Ahhhh but there are few who will be willing to go through the baptism of fire. The heat is so intense that in the natural one cannot even hope to endure it. God says that you will go through the fire but you will not get burned. “When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:2 I know that anyone who has seen the power of God, the real dunamis power of God, they have gone through the baptism of fire. Heidi and Roland Baker, Iris Ministries, have been through this baptism and look at the amazing things that God has revealed and done because they were laid down lovers willing to go through the fire of sacrifice?
Jesus revealed to us that He desperately desires a pure and holy bride. He desires for the city of Aweil, the nations of the earth to be so pure and holy and righteous that His Presence becomes the end result in everything we are about. So Jesus was asking us this night, last night, how much of my aroma do you want to remain in Aweil when you leave? I wanted with all my heart for Aweil to smell like smoke, every thing not of Him burned up and charred beyond recognition, leaving only the very smoke of God. I wanted a holy and pure people made ready for the living God to encounter in amazing signs and wonders! I wept and I cried out unashamed for this and I am sure my neighbors were wondering what was going on (laughing now). Seriously I was yelling at the top of my lungs and the power of God came upon us. I tell you we were baptized anew last night in this fire. Oh God make us pure, make us holy, make us so lay down our lives, so low that we can only see the hem of Your robe and that would be too much for us to handle and remain alive.
I say all this to encourage those of you who are walking through a fiery trial or a fiery road in ministry, God will show you more when you hit this point of desperation. Oh yes, the cost is great. When you are ready to quit and become so desperate to see what the point to it all is, He will come with a deeper revelation of His love, His holiness, His purity for you, and His road for the two of you to walk down together.