>Where to begin to tell the miracles of this journey so far? And we are only on day five!
Right now I am typing this on waning battery power in the semi-lit interior of a very lovely mud hut so it will be a quick note.
DAY 1, FRIDAY:
We left Arua after my final email check in Uganda and bounced along to the border at Kiboko-Kaya. The crossing went smoothly and instead of the guards being the horrible corrupt folks I had been warned they were, were so helpful and kind I was amazed. We then journeyed to Prayer Mountain where we spent the entire day talking to a man named Pastor Tijwok. I told him about the thoughts of networking the existing church even though my heart is church planting… but I didn’t want to plant in the backyard of another life giving church. But how perspective can change once you are IN a place!!!
He came at this from a whole different angle and said—many have tried for years to bring revival to the existing church and it has started and stopped because the denominational leaders really don’t want it—they like their control. This is coming from a respected Sudanese leader in the Body of Christ here… wow. He looked me straight in the eye and said—we desperately need NEW churches to bring revival—go for the lost—follow what God has put in your heart. We will stand with you. I just about started to cry because he is the first person I have met since leaving Pemba who has not almost rebuked me for wanting to plant churches here. He went on to say then when God is moving through you and the new believers you can have a voice to speak life to those that are hungry in the existing church. He went on to say, that anyone who said S Sudan was reached and churched did not understand what Church really is. He said sure everyone can say they are ECS or EPC or any one of the 7 major denominations in the area but they never go to church except to be married and buried and usually go to witch doctors in between and affirmed it’s actually is a much harder area to reach than the Islamic north b/c they have in some sense been inoculated to Christianity here.
So scrap the revival network for the moment, we will be planting churches. I almost breathed a sigh of relief b/c that is so much my heart anyway. I prayed much of the night on prayer mountain and Jesus said- listen to him about this. My heart resonates as well. I asked Him to take me back to that visit to orphans dotting the landscape and looking at them again I began to wonder if they were not the ones Tijwok told me of—orphaned from the existing institution.
We had a fantastic time of prayer at the southern gate of Sudan—Kaya—it is the southern most point and the point geographically I saw revival fire break forth from. We prayed and prophesied Isa 35 in Arabic and English and poured some prophetic anointing oil on the land a friend made for Sudan especially based on that passage.
DAY 2, SATURDAY:
One of Tijwok’s leaders Moses accompanied us to Yei to show us the compound we migth be renting. I have had so many words given me about being a Moses in this hour for this nation I think it was pretty prophetic a leader named Moses just happened to come to introduce us to the compound. It was a 4 hour journey of miracles and what an introduction to my new home. We stopped on the way to pray for Moses’ wife who was suffering from extreme stomach pain and burning. When I asked if I could lay hands on her stomach and pray she said yes and promptly removed her shirt! That wasn’t what I meant but OK…well… here we are. I held her and prayed and when we were done her whole countenance had changed. I asked her how her stomach was and she said the pain had left. I tried to interview her enough to make sure she just wasn’t honoring me but she really was feeling better. Thank You Jesus.
Then the closer to Yei we got—the worse the road became. Almost like WHAT road? All I see are dips and ditches… kids on the side or the road would all be yelling as we trundled past “Kwahja (white person) give me money” That pretty much summarized the sentiment all over here. What have we done to create a generation that only knows aid and handouts? That doesn’t know true dignity… What does love look like here? Oh Jesus show us one step at a time.
We got to a point in the road, an intercessor actually saw as she was praying for my journey the day before I left: I had a picture this morning when praying for your travel. There was a gap in the road – maybe a ditch where a bridge had washed out or a gully made by rushing water that was next-to-impossible to cross. Anyway, it was a miracle-required-here moment. I saw the wheels literally glide like on open air across this small expanse of space that ordinarily would cause a vehicle to stop and chop down a couple tree branches to create planks to cross over on.
It was exactly what she described—the bridge was washed out and we had no choice to try it anyway or turn back. I remembered the word and with the driver’s consent said go for it. 2 other trucks were turned over on their sides preventing passage in the possibly passable areas so we were left with the worst part of the ditch to navigate. We got stuck with something catching the under side of our SUV which cased us to teeter with 2 wheels spinning over the air and no traction. So I am corabashondai-ing away under my breath and like 25 Sudanese guys surround the vehicle sitting on the one side of the SUV that was over land to give it traction and we were miraculously able to go. Of course then they all wanted 10 USD a piece for their 5 minutes of work. I very sweetly apologized saying I did not have that kind of money but here, have some bananas. They all reached in and grabbed the bananas like vultures and went away grumbling.
We finally arrived in Yei and I stopped into meet Harvesters—the main western orphanage in town—little America bless em. Looks like a camp in the Arrondikes. Good people though. Then to meet ACROSS and start inquiring about a Juba Arabic teacher. They invited me to the Westerners fellowship the next day and got out a map and told me about the unreached areas through out southern Sudan.
Finally in the evening we arrived at YWAM and I settled in.
DAY 3, SUNDAY:
We went to church and it was positively DEPRESSING! No wonder Tijwok practically begged me to plant churches. They are all singing hymnal hymns and it was so dead I about fell asleep. The sermon was so confusing even with translation I still have no idea WHAT the guy was preaching on. By afternoon I was frustrated and tired and wondering what in the world God was saying in all this. I went back into town to try to find email and all was closed… probably good or you might have had a tale of woe!
I turned up early at the westerner bible study and met Poppy the leader. As I shared my heart and I felt led to tell her my dream in April of coming to town and someone handing me an orphanage to adopt and begin Arco-Iris with. Her eyes got HUGE, and she said there is someone you have to meet and goes running to get them. I wind up sitting down with a UN type aid lady who was not a believer and I shared about Arco-Iris and my heart for children and she goes running to get a UNHCR vehicle to take us to this orphanage that has broken her heart. Eight kids sleeping with holes in the roof, not enough food, rats nibbling their toes at times, one lady who was raped and has an epileptic daughter so ill she cannot handle it (the girl has more demonic stuff than real epilepsy). They are desperate and looking for someone to take over the place and are going to be evicted in less than two months with no place to go.
We were escorted in an UN vehicle to 8 of the most beautiful children you have ever seen. They left me with them to go get the priest who has been trying to help them out a little. When I met the priest he was very hard to read and we will see what his true motives are. If they are willing for Arco to adopt the project and let it become our starting point fine. I’ll take the kids and the mom and move in to Tijwoks next week. But if they just want me to fund their project—sorry can’t do—my pockets aren’t that deep. But the ex-pats and even some of the Sudanese are saying WOW this is God you came here NOW.
They have called a community meeting Sunday afternoon to discuss options and invited me to attend. Please pray they are willing to give us custody of the children. I just fell in love with them. When the UN lady and the priest came back we were all singing worship songs! They remarked—YOU already have them singing! Wow! The UN lady just shook her head the whole time saying I can’t believe this—I can’t believe this—you are sent as an answer—I don’t understand. I told her Jesus has a heart for these kids… well Somebody must she replied—I can’t believe this. I was in despair over it the day before—I can’t believe this.
I returned to Poppy-Anne’s and they all were sitting on the edge of their seats to find out the scoop. They had been praying and are River folks! She is a nurse and he is an architect, builder and dean of the ECS Voc-tech school and they both have said just let them know how they can help. Wow God! What had started as a total dirge of a day ended with the looks of a dream beginning to unfold.
MONDAY, DAY 4:
Got to find email praise God! Yei is a dusty pit of a town but I great hope and expectations God has an outpouring that will bring life into this wasteland.
Spent a good bit of time talking with on of the students at the DTS here—John of the Mundari tribe of the north and basically begged me to come and do outreach and plant churches that have life among his people. They only have ECS and Catholic and are almost completely unreached. His heart is so broken for his people and he seems to have such a gentle, warm spirit. He is voraciously hungry for more of God. So once dry season comes it looks like we may have outreach to Mundari-land. Things are unfolding…
TODAY– MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!
Please keep in prayer the meetings this week with leaders and community and the teaching of the DTS. Also we are only 30 miles from the part of Congo where the LRA has amassed some reported 10,000 troops and the peace talks are not going well in Juba. Kony and the LRA is putting threats again out there to this area. Nothing imminent but definite an item for prayer.
Thank you for loving me and praying for me and our work here! God is moving!