Sunday, October 13, 2013

September Update

Dear Friends and Family,

Wow, I’ve just come back from a week in Kenya, for R&R. That means rest and recuperation. Being in South Sudan can definitely put a toll on your body. But overall, I am doing well. Jesus has been so gracious. But others are not doing so well. While I was in Kenya, there was a horrible terrorist attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi killing over 70 people. This horrible act of revenge was just sickening. I ask myself, Father, why do these things happen to such innocent people? And I know the Father knows, and He is there with those who have lost their loved ones. I did know of some who were present of the time of the attack, but they were thankfully able to get out unharmed. Many others were killed and still more were wounded. Please keep the nation of Kenya in your prayers.

Westgate Mall in Nairobi attacked by Somali terrorists
 One thing I thank God for during this time: it really brought the nation of Kenya together. Because this was an attack on such a wide variety of people, rather than aimed at a particular tribe, people of all tribes came together and wanted to help in whatever way they could. Some people donated blood to the blood banks and others were bringing food to the reporters who were trying to get the latest on the situation for the newscasts. It was just neat to see them pulling together. They need peace and I pray that this will continue to pull them together and unite this nation.

One of the Flood victims home completely ruined by the flood
On my arrival back in South Sudan, as we were flying in, I could see that we have been getting a lot of rain because much of the land looked like a swamp. Approximately 400 people have been displaced from their homes. I asked what the people were doing whose homes got flooded and have been told they are now sleeping on the road; the families and all their belongings. This broke my heart; I could not fathom having to move me and my family to live on the road while my house and all my belongings got ruined and destroyed. It has now been over two weeks since the hard rains came and with a steady rain continuing each day, these people have no way to get relief. Many have moved across the street from the In Deed and Truth compound where there isn’t as much flooding and some have gone to the market to at least have some kind of shelter. All the rain has also ruined their crops, which would have been ready soon to pick. They asked In Deed and Truth (IDAT), the organization I am working with here on the ground, for tarps and mosquito nets to be able to get through this time. Please pray that Jesus protects these people from crocodiles in the water, and with still water it is a nice breeding area for mosquitoes. There is much need and IDAT has limited resources.
The Flood Water covering one of the main roads
One of the flood victims made this makeshift shelter

Many people are on the roads because this is the highest ground they can escape to.
One little boy trying to find grass for his goats and sheep to pasture

I would like you to meet my new friend and colleague, Margit! She is from Germany and has had previous experience of working in South Sudan. She is a wonderful encouragement spiritually. She is a nurse but solely working with the CHE program here in Tonj. Working with her has been such a joy! We have traveled together to the nearby villages, seeing the progress that the communities have made. We have been encouraging them to improve the health in their homes, especially to have clean drinking water and a type of bathroom/toilet called a latrine. We are trying to implement a dish-drying rack (drier dishes attract fewer insects, ensuring greater cleanliness), and different preventatives for malaria. These can seem so simple, but when you have been living without them for so long it’s hard to get used to the idea seeing the necessity of having them. Please pray for these colleagues of ours out in their villages trying to do their best. They need a lot of encouragement.
My new colleague and friend, Margit Mueller
One of our major tasks is going out and visiting our Sudanese colleagues in their communities. We’ve been able to reach some of them, but there are some that we cannot reach because the roads during rainy season are just not passable or completely washed away. We plan to visit these when the rain has stopped and we are able to get there by road. When we aren’t able to go and see them, calling them is very important. Just staying in contact is very encouraging to them. We acknowledge their steps of progress, even if they are small, because they can make a big difference. Please pray for our safety in traveling!

Here are just some pictures of the last visit we were able to do. We had some other visitors: my boss Aunt Joy Phillips (a missionary nurse and community developer to Kenya and other countries for over 27 years) was also able to come along. Another good friend of my parents, who has stayed in Kenya previously, Bonnie Anderson, has joined us. She is a nurse from North Dakota, working here in Tonj for about two months. It’s been wonderful and very encouraging getting to go out into the community with them and see the influence that the CHE trainings have done for these people.
Margit on the left, two Sudanese ladies, Bonnie and I on the right.

In the next month, pray for Margit and me as we go to a place called Rumbek, a part of South Sudan. It’s about a 4-hour drive east of where I live. We will be going there to help with a CHE training that will be happening in this area. That will be an exciting time! We are happy that we get to be a part of this work. Please pray for good acceptance of the material and that the Lord will use us during this time! This is the first week of a four-part training that is spread out over a year’s time, so we are praying that the participants will grasp the basic knowledge of what we are training and that the implementation is widespread.

Thank you for your prayers and support! May God richly bless you!

Me and a dear little boy whose family's  home was destroyed in the flood. We are bringing him back with us so that he can stay with family that has a place for him to stay and be safe during this time.  

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