Jesus told His disciples in Luke to speak peace to a house and if the person received the peace then it would remain. If the person did not receive the peace then the peace would return back to the disciple. Since the civil war began in South Sudan we have been speaking peace, believing that whether the rebels receive it or not, it returns to us, and remains in us. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and He will never depart from us. This is something that we have been holding onto here in Yei. We really believe that Yei is a city of peaceful refuge.
Our Commissioner announced at the meeting held on Sunday morning that through all of the shooting last Saturday night, not a single person was killed or even injured. That is a true miracle. The shooting went on for three hours Saturday night and then in spurts again on Sunday morning, yet, no deaths, no injuries. I know that so many around the world were praying just for our small town of Yei. Even the other towns that experienced what ours did, they also experienced death and bloodshed. I tell you, God surrounds those who run into His stronghold. I think the entire city of Yei ran into the stronghold that night and your prayers availed so much!
These are the nations who have personally corresponded with us and said that they were praying. Many churches have been lifting us before the Lord, many, all over the world. Thank you United Kingdom, London, Scotland, Japan, Norway, Singapore, Romania, USA, Morning Star Ministries USA, Cornerstone Church USA, many ministries in Uganda, South Africa, Mozambique, Warsaw-Poland Prayer Room, Kenya, Canada, Madagascar, France, Italy, Ethiopia, Netherlands, Holland, Germany, Philippines, Brazil, Australia, Israel, IHOP USA, Ghana, Spain, New Zealand, Malaysia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, China, Sweden, Russia, Switzerland, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Hong Kong, and Mongolia. THAT is truly the body of Christ. More are those who are with us than those who are against us!
Monday found us making connections in Uganda in case we have to evacuate. Although it is peaceful here in Yei, the underlying tension all over the country and the fighting still going on just north of us has caused the food supply from Uganda to dwindle rapidly. The merchants are afraid to come in to the country for fear of renegades hijacking trucks or that they might not make their money back as the exchange rate has taken a huge plunge. This would cause market prices to rise severely. It is for this reason that we are concerned about whether to stay or go. Uganda is the only place to get all of our food and fuel from. I have been told that when this trouble came during the last war, the soldiers were positioned every 500 meters along the roadways to keep the roads open and safe for traders to come. If this is the case then we can stay.
When I go into town half of the shops are closed and boarded up, the traders and Ugandans leaving for a safer place. The market has always been a very loud and busy place, a very relational place with people laughing and talking, a place where every other store has giant concert speakers blaring their style of music. I went into town on Monday afternoon and I was only one of three vehicles even on the road. The market shelves were looking thin with not much produce, even then it was days old and wilting. It reminded me of living in Aweil where it took days for trucks to make it there and when they did the produce wasn’t in very good shape. There was not a single note of music being played anywhere, all was very quiet. You could almost hear a pin drop in the dust as I made my way through the vegetable and fish market. The vendor ladies were very subdued and quiet. This was so strange to my sense as I missed the banter and chatter we had with each other as we bartered and discussed children and such.
We did talk to the Commissioner and request his permission to take our children if we needed to, to go across the border into Uganda. He asked us to wait a few days to see what would happen. I heard from the Lord and was reminded that even Moses had to get the Pharaoh’s permission to take the Israelites out to the desert to worship the almighty God. If Moses had to do that then I could wait for this. I had also received an email from my spiritual mom who reminded me of a word that the Lord had given me when I first went into South Sudan, before I even knew I was to come. The Lord told me to “go into a land that I WILL show you…”. He was telling me that He would show me AS I WENT. This word that my spiritual mom sent was the same scripture but with the second part, Genesis 12:1-3. Basically God is always about blessing people, that is His forever nature, but sometimes He will put His people in the midst of chaos and suffering and turmoil in order to dislodge the enemy in that land. That’s why so many missionaries go to these dark places. This really ministered to me because I new I had an assignment not yet finished here.
So we wait to hear from the Lord. I have been so amazingly blessed to have with me two missionaries from the Harvest team that came for Christmas from Mozambique. Four of them came and two decided to extend their time for three more weeks. They have been absolutely amazing with the children and the many outreaches we have done. This compound is transformed because of their help here and the time that they have spent with our children. I sometimes think they are angels in disguise sent to watch the children as I tackle the administrative hurdles of this season. There has been such an outpouring of love from the body of Christ for us here at Iris South Sudan that just keeping up with FaceBook and email has been a challenge, BUT a very good challenge. Please don’t stop writing and encouraging and praying for us. It is most welcome for sure. In this one week alone I have received requests to sponsor six children! Thank you Jesus!
Tuesday morning brought us news that there was a group of refugees from (can’t say) who are seeking refuge here in Yei. They are living under tarps on the (can’t say) compound. You have to remember that there are no NGO’s around so there is no aid whatsoever for all of these that are displaced. The compounds are here and the South Sudanese staff is here and that is it. There is no access to money or supplies. Our pastor is one of the leaders of a church alliance in Yei where the different churches gather together for prayer or aid or emergencies. They have called all churches to mobilize food and clothing and bedding for these refugees. The Lord really spoke to my heart and we gave 90% of our reserve food stock and kept only 10%. That’s a bit opposite of the 10% tithe but I would rather give the more than the little, giving out of our widow’s mite, so that we can truly bless those with nothing, giving our best to them, and seeing an explosion of love and blessing in return so that we can give even more. God has blessed us to be a blessing. In Genesis 26 the Lord told Abraham to stay where he was in a land of great famine and Abraham would never lack. I claim this for us here at Iris South Sudan.
Yesterday our two visiting missionaries and our pastor and a handful of children set off to minister at the prison and the hospital. The children were almost arguing to get on the truck as everyone wanted to go. Our children do not fear persecution or intimidation or being made fun of for the sake of the gospel. They have seen and are seeing that in this time of terrible suffering across this land that we have to continue to keep going hard after the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. I have been talking to them a lot about revival and holy desperation. We are seeing a famine in our land as people are running from homes and cities. We are seeing that if something doesn’t change then we will die, we will literally die.
The harvest is rich and plentiful right now and just because we are in the midst of a war torn land we cannot cower in our tents and houses. THIS is the perfect time for kingdom advancement. On Wednesday we went to a small nearby village and they were so surprised to see us there. What? People are still doing outreach during these terrible times? Those were the looks on the faces. Many were so encouraged, in the village, in the prison where no one had been since the new year began, in the hospitals and in the marketplace. Even now as I write this the children are practicing their singing to go to another village outreach in an hour. The harvest is so rich and we want the storehouses full for the glory of God so we go!
Last night we gathered at our church and we chased after revival in our land. Fires were burning all around as it is the season of fires and clearing land. I asked them, do you want to see revival in South Sudan or are you just as comfortable if you don’t? Do we just sit comfortably while people are literally dying from civil war all around and hope it doesn’t come to us or do we cry out for revival to come so that we can truly live? Last night we danced and we worshipped and we prayed until we could no more. This morning we all woke up like we were hung over, voices raspy, eyes tired, but hearts fully alive and burning for Jesus. They asked me, can we do this again tonight? When will we reach a point where we are tired of wars and rumors of wars? When will we cry out for revival or die? That is where my older kids and I are these days. We thirst and hunger to see a move of God that will change a nation. Otherwise we die.
Are we comfortable in our comfortableness or are we willing to face death to see revival? All of the great revivals came out of sacrifice and fire. I have learned that revival does not come to those who wait or even cry out. Revival comes to those who expect and are willing to give everything at all costs to see it come, those who are starving and hungry and desperate. Desperate people do desperate things. I pray for holy desperation to hit us all, in every country, to see revival come upon the earth because my heart refuses to take the pain of death and suffering forever. My heart cries for revival. Will you stand with me? Become desperate for your nation, for the nations of the world. Bless you all so much for loving us and praying for us and giving to us and just for being the body of Christ, one in Spirit, for His glory!