>Growth in the Journey- Sept 3

>Beloved, What week here… Iris Sudan is now no longer confined to Yei. As of one hour ago we now have a growing church based ministry center in Kikilai- a five DAY journey over land to our east along the borders of Uganda and Kenya.

Some of you might remember John Okello, the man who on faith came clear across the country to find a home for five children unrelated to him? He came back- now with all his church leadership to visit. I had sent a letter back with him to encourage them and they ALL made the 5 day trek by faith, partly on foot through the mud, to tell me they desperately want to join with us in Iris. They said they are not interested in money, but they want spiritual oversight and encouragement and relationship. They were going to give up completely. The letter brought them such joy someone was praying for them and they weren’t alone… they actually started to go forward with church planting! To them it was a sign from heaven.

God is so moving- they came five days just to meet us and pray with us. Our new leaders got so excited they showed the letter to the regional government secretary that someone is praying for them. The official in turn wrote an official letter of invitation asking Iris to please come and start planting churches and ministering to their people. Could we help dying children there? There are no other evangelical churches there… period. It is a completely unreached area. They are desperate for the love of God and could someone please come and tell them more about knowing Him. It is so huge I am blown away and about reduced to tears at God’s goodness. I love these guys. They radiate the heart of God and are truly giving all they have. We had a fabulous prayer time and it just undid me. We all cried together for the heart of God to heal Sudan.

As you can see from the map, the movement of love is spreading! Our main base in Yei (which is a city of over 300,000 people), our new center in Kikilai E Equatoria and a church presence either through Iris Harvest Fellowships or our Harvest Revival Alliance in the areas of the lighter purple flags. The vision of fire igniting along the southern border from west to east is happening. I am just undone. All of our other bases and churches are under indigenous leadership. I held my littlest ones tonight and looked at the stars all reminding me of the promises of Jesus and I just cried. Tears of joy. How did I get to be so privileged to live the life I do?!?! What incredible mercy and grace from heaven!

We finished weekend 1 of 5 in our Journey discipleship course with flying colors today- giving everyone their very own study Bible. They are learning so much and are so hungry for more. Most of the class was baptized in water for the first time and baptized by the Holy Spirit too!

We had the Bengali battalion of UN soldiers mystified in Sudan yesterday. What to make of a little one-legged white girl standing in disease ridden, leech infested, garbage laden water in the rain HAPPYILY dunking people who then proceeds to greet them and carry on a partial conversation in their own language? Confusing.

Wait till she has all the very dark kids around her calling her mama… they whipped their cameras out and stood in the rain snapping photos of our events. I am sure it was worthy of an email home. Hey mum, you’ll never guess what happened!

We prayed for the floodgates of heaven to be open but we got a bit of a literal reply! Everyone got baptized in the rain as we celebrated our new family in the Lord. Our one lady in the course, Betty, stole my heart. Her husband’s business burned down in June and he lost his mind she said right after. He hits her sometimes and hides in the bush talking to himself. Then she developed an eye problem where they told she’d be blind by Christmas. We are praying for healing but have plans to send her to Uganda for a simple procedure to fix her eyes if need be. Then she was cooking and her tukal caught fire and burned down and she and her 4 kids have nothing. One pot, one change of clothes and one spoon. When she came, she was wanting to commit suicide and came as a last ditch effort to try and find something worth living for. Her eyes began to respond to God’s healing touch and we loaded her up with clothes and supplies. She left with a song in her heart and a smile on her face looking forward to weekend # 2 in 2 weeks. How good is our Jesus!!!!

So quite the week! Our trip to Juba got postponed due to a family emergency in our lead Revival Alliance pastors family- so we will be going next week instead to meet with key government leaders. I am relieved to have a slower week where I can spend more time with my kiddos and hang out a bit at home. I am amazed at all Jesus is doing. Thank you for your love and prayers! Everyone of you are such a part of all that is happening…

Love and hugs in Jesus- Michele