red ribbons in the sky

birth announcement. it's a....

Kettle whistling wild, I rise to remove it from the fire.  Time for my evening tea.   I push my blue plastic chair away from my white plastic table-desk, slip arms into metal cuffs and step across tile to enter my makeshift kitchen.  There a stainless steel kettle I hauled over half a continent from South Africa sings to me of its readiness to be poured out.  Mindlessly I jostle the tea bag up and down in my cup, add sugar and powdered milk before sitting down again.

Soothing sips wrap around me warm from the inside out as I stare at this blank page and blinking cursor thinking what to write to you.  It has been a very quiet day.

Suddenly gunfire and celebratory squeals interrupt my quiet train of thought.  An all out melee of joy can be heard from all over the compound.  I smile.  The announcement is here.

A quiet day turns into an extraordinary night.  Bullets fire red ribbons into the black night sky.  There is an entire nation shouting in celebration.  We can hear cheers from our neighbors miles away.   I step out of my house and am swept off my feet with excited hugs from my children and family.

“Mama, it is here.  You helped us pray it in.  Five years. You are here standing with us.  This is your home now.  Tonight it is official: we are a new nation.  We are free.  God has answered our prayers.”

I stand long with my family under the stars.  We count the ways of His faithfulness until we loose track of numbering His gifts.  Joy again rains down from my eyes watering the dusty ground.   There are no words.

My mind flashes back to the day I first asked.   “Papa one day I want to see a new nation born.  I want to be there to be a part of its birth.”

Who ASKS such a thing?  All I can think is truly He does give us the desires of our hearts, put His desires in us so that we can ask Him for them and He in turn can delight us with His answers.

This is just a first step into freedom.  But from Yei, please let me personally announce to you my friends:  At 9:48pm nairobi time the long awaited birth announcement was given.  It’s a… nation named The Republic of South Sudan.

One day we look forward to celebrating her birth with red ribbons in the sky from fireworks displays instead of firepower.  Thank you for all of your prayers in the months leading up to and through the historic referendum period.  History has been written through your prayers.

Pray with us in the coming months as this new baby rapidly learns to walk as one who is free. Even as we celebrate referendum, we continue to cry out for revival.   Join us as we sing:

Beled Sudani, rabuna bi’laju inta.   Sudan land, God will heal you.

Beled Junubi. Rabuna bi’laju inta.  South land, God will heal you.

Beled d’nas kulu, Rabuna bi’laju intakum.  All people of this land, God will heal you.

Anina kore, Inta asuma.   We cry out, You hear.

Anina kore, Inta ja.  We cry out.  You come near.