This week I returned from Pemba, Mozambique where I always get so refreshed and full of fire for the never-ending next leg of my race. I love being able to pour into the Harvest School students, Mozambique pastors, and Iris Pemba staff. My passion is always about passion, passion for what one does in life and for what one believes in. I love to ignite passion in others for advancing the kingdom of God wherever they are. I am reminded at this point to thank my friend Tony for giving me the one thing that I have never owned in Africa, which seems to be a mainstay among most missionaries. A hammock! I am actually on my front porch, looking out at the rich harvest on our land and in our kids, typing this update while sitting and swinging in my hammock!
Tuesday was my flight date to come back to South Sudan and I awoke to the dreaded malaria once again. So from 6:30 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. I shivered and chattered my teeth and body all the way home on my flight. No malaria meds available that early and not at the airport. My teammate met me at the airport upon landing with malaria meds praise God. We are so blessed to have a good relationship with the government officials here. The immigration officials were not at the airport (one small concrete room) yet and I really felt bad so I left my passport in the hands of my SPLA army friend who is security at the airstrip. Can you imagine just trusting one with your passport like that in a foreign country? I love my Sudanese family!
It took me all afternoon to unpack all the goodies for the kids and staff as I intermittently slept throughout the day and night. By the next day I was able to work a bit at my desk. I was basically healed of malaria in only two days this time. God has given me this amazing grace to be so quickly healed from malaria and I am so very grateful for that! It is pretty unheard of to be fully restored for a white person in two-three days. For some reason we stay down longer. Hmmmm, maybe I am finally adapted to my environment?
All of the children are now officially on summer break until February. Our Library has been in full swing action with daily crafts and movies and Bible studies and all sorts of activity. I can’t even believe that we managed to survive so long without it. Yesterday I had a line outside my door of 120 children throughout the day coming to give me report cards. Like any parent I have a rewards system so I have filed through them all to see who gets what. Lots of money and candy. We made a big deal out of it. We had the sound system set up under the mango trees after church and I made the announcements like it was a graduation ceremony and all the children clapped and shouted as each name was called and gift bags were handed out! The mamas from each house carried all the bags of their kids high in the air and danced in celebration and one mama even carried a small kid on her back and danced and ululated. It was so awesome to see them take these kids as their own. Our family surely understands the spirit of adoption!
Friday morning I met with the beautiful ladies of the village and we talked about intimacy and pouring ourselves before our Lord, not looking at the church elders and priests who stand so stoic and sincere in Simon the Leper’s house in the Bible. That lady took her alabaster jar and came right in that house, not knocking, just busting in a room full of church leaders and worshipped her Lord. Jesus Himself stood almost naked before His disciples as He washed their feet. Then my team of three Sudanese women and three of my Sudanese girls began to wash the feet of these women and poured oil on them. They were weeping as no one had ever done this before. People who know me know that I am quite dramatic. It is not an act, it is who I am. I preached most of that message on my knees even weeping myself at the beauty of my Lord. I have even begun to sing in the spirit and shocked myself as I began to sing in Arabic over these women. It is truly the Lord in me doing this. My head pastor’s wife told him last week that she cannot miss a Friday because the fire of God is in that place. These women are becoming transformed in their hearts and minds as they draw closer to Jesus. It is such a beautiful thing to see because this does NOT happen in the churches here.
Today in church I brought a message that forever burns in my heart, that of John 15:7-8 where Jesus tells us that He chose us to bear fruit that will last. I told the church how they are chosen. Samuel was chosen even before birth by his very own mother to be given unto the Lord all the days of his life. I told our kids that as their mama I have given them unto the Lord and they have no choice, they are chosen! I told them that they are my fruit so they are guaranteed to last. I told them how David was anointed as King when he was fifteen but first he was a general in Saul’s army. At the end of the message I challenged the church to give themselves to the Lord’s service for them all the days of their lives and they would be generals. He has already anointed us as kings. Every single person came forward and all were anointed and commissioned as generals, whether it comes now or later, it will come.
Sometimes I look at what we do and all the work that is involved in making each person feel special and being worthy of more than a quick glance. Everyone who comes to visit us comments on this, how we are so un-institutional for being an institution technically. So we do all the little things that matter more than food, clothing, and shelter to the human heart. It’s a sense of belonging, truly belonging that matters most. This sense of belonging can only come from the Father’s heart. There is a spring of Living Water here and it is pouring out like a river into the hearts and minds of all who would come to drink.