I have been inundated with three different languages this week, trying to keep them all straight in my little brain – lol! And it’s only going to get crazier. As the Lord has been widening our tent stakes and expanding our territory, so have we been reaching people with different languages. We now minister to three people groups on a regular basis. The Congolese in Lasu (speaking Lingala), the Kakwa in Morobo (speaking Bari) and the people of Yei (speaking Arabic). I am now hearing the Lord tell me that it is time to go back up to Aweil, just south of Darfur and minister there again! They are the Dinka, or Mwanyang, as they prefer to be called.
I am trying to organize a short trip there in October, pending God’s timing and provision, with some of my team to host a conference there among the Dinka in our new Iris Harvest Fellowship Churches and to stop on the way back to host one in Juba in our Iris Harvest Fellowship Church there for the Mundari people, yet another language. I am so very excited at so much amazing opportunity and privilege to reach so many different people groups in one nation! This is LIFE, this is the Gospel! GO and disciple! It is the very air I love to breathe, camping amongst my brethren in amazing places sharing the love of Jesus and the living Word and watch them come alive under Holy Spirit revelation. Just yesterday as we were coming back from the Congo border I said to myself, “I can’t believe that I get to live this life!”
Our discipleship training in Lasu Congolese Refugee Camp was life giving to so many there. There were church leaders from the three churches represented in that region; Catholic, Episcopal and Pentecostal. Nine thousand refugees live here permanently. We taught on when “new” life begins, the Person of Holy Spirit, Baptism by water and by Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit and not going back to “the Law” of Moses once they have received these things under the New covenant. We literally saw people come alive as revelation kicked in. By the last day they were asking if we are going to come back and baptize them in water. Many of these were the ones baptized as babies but now they are old enough to realize they need to repent AND be baptized. We will go back to do this. It was too late in the day yesterday by the time we finished teaching. They also want us to come back and teach on Holy Communion and many other things. Their hearts are bursting with hunger to know more. Holy Spirit touched them all and baptized them and many received the gift of tongues. It was an incredible week. He was truly glorified and lifted high, so high.
Already tomorrow morning I am headed out for the week to teach at YWAM South Sudan at their DTS School here in Yei. They have heard of this teaching and want the same for their students. God is really on the move and His Word is penetrating hearts everywhere, in every denomination, in every ministry, hallelujah! I haven’t taken a day off to rest since I arrived from the USA on 8 August but the joy of the Lord has truly been my strength. I cannot explain or contain the joy that is inside of me these days. I literally have a deep well of joy that pours out living water and it renews my strength daily. I am passionate about all that Jesus has given me to do and so I press on toward the goal, in Christ Jesus.
Our oldest girl is finally settled in University in Uganda and what a journey it was to get her there. $2,000 USD later, she is settled in her small room with all new furnishings. We literally had to buy her furniture as the small huts that are leased out have no furniture. We had to buy everything from bed to chair to table to cook stove to bathing basins and all that! Her entire year’s tuition is less than what it cost to get her “started”! I guess I am sounding like any mom in the USA huh? For Africa, that is still a lot of money to get a kid in school. I pray that she excels in all her studies and in her Christian walk on a university campus, where many things can pull one away from one’s walk.
The children here in Yei are on spring break still and we have them busy in the garden, digging and planting. They have also been receiving special tutoring from our new missionary addition from the USA, Crystal. She is amazing and simply loves to teach and tutor the children. This is what we have been praying for forever, someone who loves to teach school subjects and has great grace to do it with so many children. I am so excited to see their learning improve. The older children have started checking out books from my small library as their hunger for spiritual things increases. These kids actually like to read while on holiday – lol! A mother’s dream come true.
One of our young Sudanese friends called us this week with terrible news. He is our regular motorcycle taxi driver. He is a Christian and is so humble and full of love, not typical for motorcycle taxi drivers. He took two men to a distant town on his bike. They refused to pay at the end of the journey and beat him down, leaving him for dead, and stole his bike. He lay on the side of the road for over an hour, people driving by and not stopping. Finally an SPLA soldier stopped but accused him of being a criminal and that is why he was beaten. Justin finally convinced the SPLA guy that he was the victim and they actually caught the guys and got the bike back. Justin was injured badly, his head having a concussion and his jaw fractured or deeply bruised (can’t trust the xrays here). As soon as he was settled in the Yei hospital he called us right away. When we came and prayed with him, tears were rolling down his face. He was just happy to be alive and see his wife and baby again. This was the second time Justin was attacked, the first time he was stabbed. I offered him a job but the pay is so small compared to what he makes driving the bike. We are praying for God’s will to be done in his life and him to remain strong in his faith.
Lastly, our next big project to undertake here at Iris South Sudan is to build a building in the center of our compound where the children can sit down at a dinner table to eat and come together for teaching when it rains. Right now they eat sitting on their porches or under the mango trees. The older children are asking me for sit down tables and chairs as they are tired of sitting on mats like babies. I told them to pray for the building first! When it rains we have 70 teenagers cramped into our small office alcove area, which is about 30 feet by 12 feet. We are literally shoulder to shoulder, knees tucked, crammed together on Youth Night when it rains, which is almost every night this time of year. I told them, pray for a building. And so we do and expect. I have already planted stakes in the ground. Once we get the building we will have our very large family across the globe sponsor tables. I think it would be so amazing to have tables sponsored by different countries! The children would so love it.
May the Lord bless each of you this week as you press on toward Him. May He increase your awareness of the joy resident inside each of you and may it be a bottomless well springing up to renew your strength!