Things have been quiet in Yei concerning rebels and wars and rumors of wars. The fighting is still sporadic around the nation, mostly in the area of Bor which is about 200 miles north of us and on to Malakal. I did just check the internet today and have since learned that we have retaken Bor, which is a good thing, and the two sides have agreed on a cease fire. Toward the end of this week I began to see trucks coming in from Uganda with supplies. This of course caused happiness to abound in me. By Thursday the market had mostly returned to normal although some shops still remain closed as people assess the situation from afar, in their own countries. We here at Yei Children’s Village take it day by day as we wait. A few NGO’s have come back in, one from ZOA, one from ACROSS and two from Harvesters. I am hearing that the rest of the Harvester’s doctor team is coming next week. Happiness abounds even more in me!
This week there was still much sickness running through our camp as we were carting children to and from the hospital. It is actually just a small clinic type place with some rooms and a small lab and a handful of nurses and a “doctor” or two. These are not really doctors, mostly men who might have taken a few courses on administering medications and doing basic care. Almost everything is treated with quinine, antibiotics and Ibuprofin. They just triple whammy people hoping to get it right. It is very difficult for us, or rather me, because we/I have to take meals three times a day. Each trip is an hour and a half roundtrip over dirt paths/roads, taking at least a five hour chunk from my day. It gets very tiring to say the least.
I still have one boy, Antoine, that we are seriously praying for. He is a very healthy 15 year old who got attacked with this illness that everyone else got and now is having a problem in his lung. All of the symptoms point to pleurisy, which is something I had when I was in the Navy years ago. There is no doctor in Yei who can diagnose this. I have set up five prayer teams of five children to lay hands on him and pray for him every half hour throughout the morning and we are treating him as best we can. Our only other option is to send him to Uganda with my area manager which I can’t do because if my area manager is gone and something happens with the war, I am stuck alone with no connections or inside information help. God seriously has to show up and help or else…..?
Update on Antoine! Yesterday, when we listened to his lungs it seemed that the left lung was collapsed as we heard no movement or breathing from it. After the prayer teams prayed we then reassessed and found his lungs fully open and breathing normally! Yesterday morning I had to fight fear and frustration, really fight it, and get a plan from heaven. That plan was five people, five teams, a boy on each team, every half hour prayer, laying on of hands, with children leading the teams, not missionaries. I have learned not to question what I am hearing. I have learned that God loves unrelenting, not a grain of doubt, faith in Him. It is such a struggle sometimes. Even me, as I have seen much, I have to fight every feeling and stay focused on what I know about God. Antoine still has pain but he is breathing normal. We are giving him meds for the pain and inflammation and still thanking God for what He HAS done
It seems the more I step up our worship of God the more the enemy attacks, seriously. We have to get breakthrough, we just have to, and so we press on and press in, living from the secret place, waiting for wisdom in all of this. We gather together, the children and I and our other missionaries and we worship and pray together corporately four times a week. The children come hungry, so hungry. This morning I was in my house worshipping the Lord with the three other missionaries before they left for the airport. When I opened my eyes there were three of my children who had slipped in to join us. They are hungry for more of Him. This is so amazing. We wait expecting. We no longer come and beg and plead for revival, we come expecting.
I guarantee you that there will be attacks, big ones, when you set yourself up to go after revival and the most intimate place with Jesus. Last Saturday was our first gathering for serious corporate prayer and worship where we have decided to go much deeper with the Lord. That day I encountered a situation that could have put a root of offense in my heart and cause me to not be passionate about our coming night of worship. I chose to pluck it out before it could impale me. Wednesday night was our second gathering. Again another situation occurred and I did the same thing. I saw it for what it was, something to cause offense where I would look at me and not God and what He wants for and with us.
On top of all this, the children are sick all week and last night when we wanted to gather again Antoine gets attacked. All of the other days where we weren’t going to meet, nothing happened in our day. Again I am reminded of Dalton Thomas’ book Unto Death where he quotes another writer, “the periods and places of quiet are exceptions to the rule and more often reflect the church’s willingness to accommodate to its hosts culture.” Basically, status quo brings status quo. I want revival, change, renewal. So do these children. They are downright tired of war. They want to do something about it and refuse to sit idly by and wait to see what will happen. I LOVE THIS! I want to usher this in with them. These ones will see the kingdom of heaven. It is for everyone, all nations, all walks of society.
A few years ago on the backside of our property we laid two concrete foundations for building more missionary dorms. Since then they have laid dormant, the foliage growing all around it. The Lord has seriously put it upon my heart to make one of these into a “Prayer Hut” so that the older children will have a place to go and dwell with God. I walked out there today and stood upon this foundation and looked out over the land. It is on the high point of our land. I offered it to the Lord as an altar, as a testimony of His fai thfulness to us. As soon as I get the go ahead, after hearing from the Lord to stay here in South Sudan, I am going to begin the building program for this place. The children are so excited.
Today, Sunday, we went to the Nuer refugee camp and had church! There are probably about 300 living there with just a tarp for their shelter. They have no blankets and it does get cool here at night where one needs a blanket. There is no one but the church to care for them. They cannot leave the compound for fear that they will get beaten or shot by the Dinka. The two UN guards and the SPLA at the gate raised their hands in thanks as we drove through with a dump truck full of our kids singing as we came to bring the Good News. We shared Jesus and learned that there was a great mix of religions. At the end most raised their arms to receive Jesus as their “intimate” Savior and they also received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the gift of tongues after a short teaching by me. I think they were very encouraged and we promised to return in a few days for more intimate time of discipling and playing with the children.
I looked at these tall, warrior marked men and thought how afraid they must have been to run all the way here, straight into Dinka SPLA territory, looking for refuge. I told them that we have declared Yei a city of refuge and that God will not forsake them here. That is a bold statement but I felt the Lord say to tell it. My heart burst with love for these Nuer people. I looked and saw our children sitting among them and began to count the tribes represented here. There were Bor Dinka, Bahr Al Ghazal Dinka, Nuer, Mundari, Kakwa, Congo, and Ugandan. I saw the scripture in Revelation where every tribe and every tongue will confess the Lord as Savior and smiled. This is His church, no walls, no barriers, just all of us sitting under a mango tree worshipping one God.
I bless you on this Lord’s Day and I pray that you will have opportunity to impact a “tribe” in your neighborhood today. In Psalm 2:8 it reads, “Ask of Me and I will give you the nations”. The Lord impressed upon my heart that He will give us “a heart” for every nation when we give all of our heart to Him. I am asking for the NationS.
All my love to all nations,