Living Water CT seeks to transform a community into a Bible-based community–but that does not mean it needs to look like a westernized community. The Dinka culture is fascinating and we do not want to change anything about it, except the parts that are in conflict with teaching from the Word of God. God’s way transcends all cultures.
Allow me introduce a precious family who has demonstrated the transforming power of the gospel. Samuel was raised in a cattle camp in South Sudan. He wanted to go to school, but was denied that privilege by his mother, “you are a small boy and can not go away from me and your people in the cattle camp”. Samuel decided he was ready to take the “Mark”, which is the rite of passage to manhood in the Dinka culture. Dinka men bear scars on their foreheads that denote the particular clan of which they are a part. The people of Akot are from the Agar clan and their Mark is seven parallel straight incisions from ear to ear.
The procedure is the most significant event in the life of a Dinka male. A solemn ceremony is held with several boys who are ready to to pass from childhood to manhood. The boys sit on the ground in a row, each making a hole in the ground in front of themselves. A designated community elder questions each boy to determine if he is fearful. He proceeds to cut deep marks with a very sharp knife across the boy’s forehead as the boy is answering his questions. If the boy cries or shows fear he is to be killed. The blood must drip into the hole in the ground in front of him. This event marks the end of childhood. The young man is to take on his role as a Dinka man. In Samuel’s case, it meant he could go to school without his mother’s permission. He attended primary school and went on to learn mechanics and driving.
Samuel’s oldest uncle chose Monika, who also grew up in the cattle camp, to be Samuel’s bride. His uncle told Samuel that Monika was to be the wife of Samuel’s father, because Samuel’s father died without having any children. Samuel’s mother and Samuel’s uncle bore children, including Samuel, for the deceased brother. The deceased brother’s lineage must go on. Samuel smiles when he says, “so my sons are my brothers”.
Samuel has pastored a church now for many years. He also works for Akot Christian Ministries (Living Water Community Transformation is known as Akot Christian Ministries in South Sudan). We have seen him mature into a godly man of solid faith.
Monika was one of the first ladies to join the women’s ministry group in 2007. She leads the morning devotions at one of our primary schools, leads weekly Bible studies at two large women’s groups, and is one of the leading seamstresses in our sewing school. Monica is starting her own business of making school uniforms for our two primary school students.
We have observed the amazing transforming power of the gospel play out in the lives of this wonderful family over the past few years.
In Luke 2:10 the angel proclaimed, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people“.
So when we think of Santa and snowmen, remember that is a very narrow prospective on Christmas. The good news is indeed for all the people.
Ann Rao, President and the Board of Directors
Living Water Community Transformation, Inc
If you would like to partner with us in this exciting mission you can make your donation by check or online by going to our website.
Stock Gifts: Giving That Goes Further
Another option for making a contribution to Living Water Community Transformation is through giving appreciated stock. Appreciated stock is a good way to contribute to LWCT because capital gains taxes are not assessed and your contribution goes further. You can give more by giving stock and your contributions support LWCT’s work in South Sudan.
You can transfer your stock electronically to LWCT’s account by contacting Don Steen, Treasurer, firstname.lastname@example.org, 205.515.7758, or Ann Rao, President, email@example.com, 813-969-3511. To transfer stock electronically, you need LWCT’s account number and DTC number. You may also give stock certificates. A form is available that must be completed when giving stock certificates.
Year-end Giving Reminders
In order to receive IRS contribution credit for donations made in 2015, donations must have been received by LWCT by December 31, 2015 or postmarked by midnight, December 31, 2015. LWCT can also receive donations in 2015 for people who wish to receive IRS contribution credit in 2016. The donor just needs to specify that the donation is for 2016.