This week I want to share just one story. It is a story of what the favor of God looks like when the Bible said that Jesus grew in favor with God and with man. Favor doesn’t just happen on a consistent basis in every life. It is something that even Jesus had to grow in. Even though He was the King of the world, He, as a man, had to grow in favor. You have read testimony after testimony of how we have received so much favor over the last couple of years. The years before these years were a hard work plowing the ground and plowing the furrows of our hearts, so that God could plant more in us and cause His favor to rain on the seed of obedience and perseverance.
Last year we endured a season of radical obedience and a real battle for our very lives and the lives of these children, a battle to persevere and not quit. It was during this time that this very same spirit of not quitting was rooted and grounded in our hearts. And it was a testimony of growing in favor with God and the government as we continued to stay in His presence and to visit the government offices day after day, gaining their trust through a humble spirit and going low and slow. We had barely gained their trust when there was so little to trust in their country, both foreigners and indigenous alike.
When we finally arrived in Uganda, we had an entirely new battle ahead of us. We did not want to register as refugees for the sake of the children who had already been labeled orphans. Also it would have required that we leave our children in the camps for a period of time, which we refused to do. We simply had no choice to plow ahead. We immediately began working with the government authorities of the South Sudan Embassy in Uganda and the Uganda Immigration office. All were very kind and wanted to help but again, every “I” must be dotted and every “T” crossed. Again we needed permission from the top government officials in South Sudan as well as the Embassy here in Uganda. Two mountains were now before us.
We produced mountains of papers on each child, had blood drawn, photos taken, forms filled out and all turned in months ago. And we waited. And we got yeses and then no’s and then yeses and then wait and then….
We got a call from the South Sudan Embassy on Monday that the government in Juba, South Sudan has approved us and it’s a go! A team of six immigration people showed up at our house on Thursday in our little town two hours away from Uganda with fancy high tech equipment and computers and cameras and photoscreens. They told us that they have shut down their offices and the entire team is here until we get the job done. Today is Sunday and we are only about two thirds done.
Can you even fathom what this means. The government shut down for these kids! They came at no cost to us but the cost of a passport and lodging at our local guesthouse. They have worked non-stop, seriously, late each day and all weekend. This does not happen in the real world. Have you seen such a thing? I hear the Lord say, “Look I am doing a new thing. I am causing My goodness and mercy to follow you, it will come to you. The head of the immigration office is even a soldier and he says that he is so impressed with the care that these children are getting that he wants to write a report and send it to all the government offices to tell them that we can be trusted. That we are really doing everything we said we would do for their children. They see that the children are happy and healthy and loved truly. He had us all take a group photo with them in it. He even asked if he could bring his daughter here because he sees how we raise our children to be morally and spiritually well.
We have had many long talks these last four days and I just have to say that with so much negative publicity coming out of South Sudan, there is really also a lot of good people and good going on behind the scenes, people who don’t require the spotlight who are really caring for their citizens. Now when I pray for this country I have so much more to be thankful for. Each of our children will have a passport and will never be a refugee, able to freely move between the two countries as we will in the future to come. God has known the end from the beginning and has set the hearts of men to accomplish His great purpose. I love putting my trust completely in Him. It takes so much weight off of my very small shoulders. He carries what I never could.
Our journey will still continue as now we will have to buy the visas of Uganda once we get the passports. These visas are $100 USD and we will have to get 93 of them every year. If you would like to sponsor just one child for a visa, please inbox me or answer this email or message me and we can give you instructions on how to do this. Your child will have his picture taken holding his passport all stamped and send you a thank you letter. We can’t do any of this without our friends who help us, also on the front lines of this journey with us. God bless you and may His favor grow for you as you keep trusting and following Him!