We are so truly blessed in this country. We have many many things to thank God for everyday. It is good that we set aside a day to reflect on the goodness of God. However, I am afraid most of us take much for granted. In most parts of the world life is much more difficult, and just having a roof over one’s head is reason to give thanks. We think of our forefathers at this time of year, who began the tradition of Thanksgiving Day. They were actually suffering and struggling just to survive, yet they praised God for the basic necessities of life.
A team of 9 just returned from Akot, South Sudan. As usual, we were humbled by the grateful attitude that we witnessed by people who are barely surviving. They constantly thank God for things like “food for today, for the rain, for saving them from a cobra bite, for deliverance from malaria”. We go there to be a blessing, but come away feeling blessed by the Sudanese.
In April you heard about a young woman who was destitute. Josephina’s story broke our hearts. Her mother had just passed away, her father a year before. She is the oldest of 6 children, had a toddler of her own, and was pregnant with her second baby. Her younger siblings were all under the age of 6, and they had become Josephina’s responsibility.
This 21 year old woman’s husband was a drunkard, and physically abusive every time he returned home. In April our team visited this family and took a gift goat. Akot Christian Ministries’ women’s group began to minister to Josephina. In August a couple of our team members visited Josephina. Her husband, Moses, was home at the time. After a time of prayer, he was convicted and made a remorseful commitment to stop drinking and abusing his wife. “You will be very proud of me when you come back Mama”, Moses stated.
This picture was taken earlier this month. Josephina is now working at ACM as a cook. Notice how her countenance has drastically improved.
I indeed was very proud of Moses when we visited this month. He has been sober and attending church regularly. Because the family home is a long distance from a church, Moses created his own church. He cleared some land under a beautiful Abeyi tree and built benches for about 50 people, right next to his home. Now his wife and all of his small children can attend church regularly. The Director of Church and Pastor Development for Akot Christian Ministries (our organization’s name in South Sudan) made a commitment to pastor this new church.
The picture is of Moses giving his testimony, with Peter, our director, translating. I had the blessing of giving the message at the inaugural service of Kanisa (church) Abeyi. To God be the glory!
A New Sister
We had the honor of having Pastor Edward Dima, the President of the Baptist Convention of South Sudan, and his beautiful wife, Rose Dima on our team this month. Rose is a gifted women’s Bible teacher in South Sudan. She blessed us by teaching at both of our women’s conferences. Our meetings are held outside, under a shade tree. A passer-by stopped to listen as our ladies gave one testimony after another about the faithfulness of God. I was not aware that the woman remained at hearing distance for a couple of hours. She came forward after the teaching and requested to speak. She introduced herself and said, “I have been listening to all of you. Can you tell me how I can have God in my life”? After sharing the gospel, and making sure she understood, this precious soul
professed Christ as her Savior. Hallelujah!
Fruits of Our Labor
Praise the Lord, we have come to the place of being able to just observe the Sudanese carry out projects that we have introduced.
On this trip we had two physicians and a nurse, who examined all of our primary school children. However, the Sudanese obtained all of the vaccines and supplies, organized the procedure, and immunized all of the children without our assistance. Multiple injections are required for some of the vaccine series, and the Sudanese are keeping the proper records of the scheduled doses.
We became aware that our schools have become known as the best schools in the area. The State Minister of Social Affairs told us that a recent survey of the schools in Lake State revealed that our schools ranked as two of the best. Several other unsolicited individual testimonies reflected the same opinion. Praise the Lord!
Fruits of Our Labor
This team worked very hard and accomplished so much. We completed all the school exams and immunizations; held a two day Servant Leadership Conference; two days of women’s conferences; a men’s discipleship conference; multiple training classes for Pastors; sewing classes; visited 6 churches; visited the Minister of Social Development and Religious Affairs; made arrangements for the delivery of a shipping container; met with the World Food Program Director; and spent hours in meetings with ACM leadership. We finalized many plans for our school construction project. Much time was devoted to the plans for our new Agriculture project, including the purchasing of a new mechanized pump and generator for our farm.
Pictured are the all-stars from left to right: Pastor Rob Miller; Pastor Edward Dima; Pastor Don Steen; Bala Rao, MD; Rose Godwin, RN; Judy Doll; Ann Rao, RN; Rose Dima; and Salil Jacob, MD.