Wednesday, February 26, 2014

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
Albino and Andrea! Great support in South Sudan.

Maureen and Agum are sweet friends!

Dear Friends and Family,
I pray this finds you all doing well! I can’t believe this still finds me in Plant City, Florida! I was scheduled to head back to Kenya on January 9th. But because of the state that South Sudan is in right now, I don’t know if that will be happening anytime soon. If you are not aware of what is going on there, please allow me to give you a brief update.

In July, when I arrived in South Sudan, the current president, Salva Kiir, sacked his whole cabinet, including his vice president, Riek Machar. The president is from South Sudan’s biggest ethnic group, the Dinka, and Mr. Machar is from the second-largest group called the Nuer. On December 15th, fighting broke out within the armed forces, and two groups quickly formed in support of these two men.  Though it began as a political conflict, it quickly formed along ethnic lines as well. The fighting has killed thousands of people. More than 900,000 people are now displaced, having run away from their homes to find safety! Most of these leaders are hungry for power, and South Sudan is an oil-rich nation. As you know, when something of value is involved, everyone wants to try to get their hands on that opportunity! Please pray for those South Sudanese who are affected by this fighting. They so desire freedom and peace to reign in their nation.
Sweet children from Church!

A sweet friend in the CHE program!

Some Boys from Church :)

What I have been up to!

This past week I have been attending a training seminar in Dallas, Texas, for community health development. This is the same program I have been using in South Sudan. So, it has been a wonderful blessing in many different ways. I got to be with other people who are interested in the same kind of work, with some working around the world and some in urban United States. Talking to them about the possibilities that could come from using this program was neat.
Also during my time there in Texas, the Lord really used the training to encourage my heart. The program I am working with in South Sudan is a four-part training that should normally last a year and implementation is done all throughout the year. Then new candidates are chosen and the process continues. The majority of my time is spent visiting the homes and encouraging our CHEs (Community Health Evangelism trainees). Right now, because of all the fighting and debating, there is a standstill for them implementing the different lessons from the trainings we have had. They really need your prayers.

The lessons we teach are to help better their daily living, to encourage them in their spiritual walks, and to help develop their communities. They need prayer to keep pushing on despite their circumstances. Right now the temperatures are very high there. A normal day would be over 100 degrees, so doing any kind of work is going to be hard for anyone. But the Lord is still working and using this program, so we just have to be patient and do our best in encouraging them to press on despite the circumstances.

The Lord had me in the US for a reason, and I believe one of the reasons was to attend this training. The training was also great because it better equipped me for the work He wants me to do. I don't know when I will be able to go back into South Sudan, but I'm praying that will be possible. I am also praying that if this were supposed to be a sign for me to find another door of ministry, He would guide and direct me to what that should be. I have a ticket to fly on March 4th to Kenya, which is where I go to get into South Sudan!

The picture above is what South Sudan looks like during the rainy season from the sky! Below is the Plane my team was able to fly out of South Sudan with in December!

Have you ever been in a holding pattern?

SO I’m just going to be honest! I’m sure many of you have felt lost or even discouraged with your next step in life! Lately, because of the cold weather, many people have been in a situation where they were in an airplane that was waiting for the airport signal to confirm that they were able to land. So many thoughts run through your head—What if we have to go back to the place where we came from? What if we can’t land because of the situation on ground? Are we going to crash if we run out of fuel? The feeling of being stuck in a plane and not having any direction or updated news can be nerve-racking.

Well, that’s kind of the situation I’m in right now. I feel like I am in a holding pattern trying to wait patiently for the signal to go or not to go from World Gospel Mission, my sending organization. I understand it’s important to have safety measures in place in case things get worse. But I think most of us realize that there’s nowhere in the world where you can feel perfectly safe!

Please pray for clear direction from the Lord as I seek His direction in this time! May you find clear direction as to where you feel the Lord desires to use you! We have all been placed in our current position for a reason! May we serve Him well today!

This is a picture of the local people in my village called Tonj, dancing on a Sunday afternoon, because they have freedom as the nation of South Sudan!  When was the last time you had a community dance party, to celebrate your freedom?

Prayer Requests:

Ø Please pray for guidance as I pray and seek the Lord to direct my steps in regards to returning to South Sudan
Ø Pray for protection in traveling
Ø Please pray for my health!
Dinka young men! They are so tall!