I am so far behind on all things, so busy, so in love with Jesus, so desperate for more, so blessed with all the kids, just so everything these days! I find myself working late into the night just so I can have treasured time with the kids. I just did arrive back from a trip to South Sudan. I had to revisit some of the government offices to bring updates on our children’s well-being and handle some school record paperwork.
It was 122 degrees when I hit the tarmac. Five days later when I left it was even hotter. I was on a motorcycle taxi at about 10:00 am on Friday and I remember thinking someone turned a blow dryer on in my face at 40 miles per hour! I was sick the entire time I was there unfortunately so felt even worse as I had work to do and couldn’t lie around recovering. I learned the locations of so many latrines needless to say!
South Sudan seemed calm but still very high security all around. I didn’t hear a single gunshot while I was there so that is a good thing. The South Sudanese pound is now 10,000 pounds to the one hundred dollar bill. This time last year it was about 2,500? The economy is on an extremely fast downhill spiral that is set to collapse unless something happens quickly. People were hungry everywhere. They cannot afford any food and it is the dry season. The time when they should have been planting, the nation was thrown into war so there are no crops to harvest, and so no food to eat. I was able to help microfinance one widow so she and her small girl can survive. She is going to open a small tea shop or make Kisra bread to sell to restaurants.
My heart breaks and I find tears flooding my eyes to see all the human suffering that I see. Sometimes I wonder how my heart can take it all in and not hold on to it. I weep for the children who have no control, for the widows and abandoned wives who also have no control, for the man who has lost his dignity because he is resorting to begging so his family doesn’t die of hunger. My heart breaks and I cry out to God. That is what the church is doing, crying out to God.
I was able to visit with my Sudanese pastor for the first time since I left Yei in September. We were so happy to see each other and the Holy Spirit was so present in our conversation about all that He was doing in Yei and Uganda in our children and in the camps. Revival is breaking out in Yei because the people have no other options. There is no other help, no food, no heroes coming in to save the day. John and his team go to the streets every Friday and blow the shofar and shout, “Repent for your salvation is at hand!” They then gather every Saturday at the town square and have a revival service where hundreds come every week and every week people get saved in droves. His church cannot hold the masses anymore. Jesus is moving on hearts all over Yei.
I talked with my pastor in the north in Aweil. Also my pastor friend in Akuem testifies to the same things. The people are running to the churches because there is nowhere else to go. The people are seeing their need for a savior and they know that only Jesus Christ can save the day. In the midst of chaos and war, peace is there, the Prince of peace. I always say that peace is not the absence of war and chaos but the Presence of the Prince of peace in the midst of it all! This has been our hearts desire in South Sudan, to see revival, however God wants to do it, especially however He wants to do it!
Back here at home we are in the process of registering all of our kids in school, buying shoes and uniforms and school supplies. I can’t even look at the price tag or I would faint. I laughed today as I thought about one of my all time favorite movies with Lucielle Ball, Yours, Mine and Ours. I would watch that movie and think those people are out of their mind for trying to raise twenty kids between them! Hahahaha I am laughing bec I see me in that, I must have lost my mind and gained a huge heart! It’s the only way I can do this, laid down in love with Jesus. Obviously I have help, I have a team, but it is still overwhelming sometimes.
Last week we bought a “new” used custom van that can seat ten people. Its all we can afford right now so when we need to get a lot of kids somewhere at once we rent a big flatbed truck or a huge bus. We are buying all the high school kids bikes and paying a huge price to hire a bus to take all our little ones to school each day. Remember in Yei we had our own school. Here, we live out in the woods and its too far to walk for them. We will move into our compound next weekend cramming at least 80 of us into a seven bedroom house with a garage. Every available space will be filled with triple decker bunkbeds, even the living room and hallways, until the dorms are finished in another month and a half. Yours, Mine and Ours….
On Saturday I signed all of the papers with the lawyer for Iris Ministries Uganda and so we shall be official in about a week. Next week we will try to get to the refugee camp under our new status, legally bringing aid of much needed medicines, lots of them. I am holding NOTHING back this year. If God asks me to do it, I don’t look at my bank account, I look at Him and what He wants done. He will bring it all to pass.
I am trying to handle all these things and at the same time organize my trip to the USA. I have a very busy schedule and will be in so many places; Texas, Nebraska, California, Holland, Hawaii, Missouri, all posted on our webpage at http://www.irissouthsudan.org. If I am in a city near you, be sure to come and hug my neck and bless me with your smiling face! I still have a few weeks here so don’t be in a hurry yet right?
The children are all writing their sponsor letters now and we have taken beautiful new pictures of them that you will absolutely love! If you haven’t yet signed up to sponsor one of the most amazing kids in the world, email me and I will get you started. We seriously NEED more sponsors as school fees are outrageous for 115 kids @ $30,000 USD per year. This doesn’t even factor in all the supplies they need and bussing them. So, boy could we use your help. People ask how they can help and make a difference. This is the best way. Sow into their future so that they can be a literate generation and not another generation of soldiers like their forefathers, amen?
It is late and I still have finance reports to do so that tomorrow I am free to scrub floors in our new house with our kids and measure windows for curtains and rearrange 50 triple decker bunkbeds to make them all fit and whew, just love kids and laugh with them. I praise God for our full of love chaotic lives and how He is so faithful ALL the time. I praise God for you all who still read my updates. I never know who still reads them as I don’t get much feedback so I pray some are still reading. They are just full of God’s goodness yes? I love you all so much and thank God for you!