Monica rises very early every morning, before her 7 children get up. She sweeps the dirt around her tukel (mud hut) with a bush limb to clear her compound of snakes and scorpions. She walks for an hour to the nearest well to pump water for her family. She hurries back to make tea for the family and begin her laborious morning, of gardening, cleaning, washing clothes, grinding and pounding grain, and shelling and pasting groundnuts. Monica is a widow, so the only help she can depend on is from her children. Physical labor is done by women in South Sudan therefore, a husband would not be of much help to her anyway. Only women and girls fetch water. Many jerry cans (5 gallon containers) of water are needed everyday for a family to survive living in the extreme heat of South Sudan.
Monica (pictured in the top left photo on the far left) hurries this morning to get all her home responsibilities finished by noon. She has a full afternoon planned with her Women’s Discipleship group. Monica is the leader of two women’s groups that meet each week in her community. Each group has approximately 100 participants. Although only one lady is literate all the ladies learn a new Bible story each week. In every session they retell the story in small groups until they know it well. The women’s groups are highly respected by the community, and have actually helped elevate the status of women in their community.
These ladies are incredibly motivated and industrious. They constructed a building themselves, making every mud brick by hand. There is no water well near the building, so every bucket of water was hauled from a distant well. The roof for their building was provided by Summit Church in Acworth, Georgia. This multipurpose building is used for worship and many other church and community activities.
Out of 19 churches affiliated by Akot Christian Ministries only 3 have buildings. The rainy season lasts for 6 months. The buildings are a real blessing during that time of the year. (The other 2 church buildings were also built by the women’s groups in their respective communities.)
Monica and quite a few of the ladies in the group are enrolled in literacy classes, which meets in the newly constructed building. ACM sponsors 8 women’s discipleship groups which meeting weekly in several villages.
A cyclic food shortage typically begins in May and reaches it’s peak in July. Our ladies groups have been working very hard to grow large amounts of food to store for the anticipated shortage. They take turns working in the women’s cooperative gardens, and even in each other’s home gardens. They try to make sure everyone is able to attend as many weekly meetings and classes as possible. Gardening requires many trips to the distant well.
As you think about your own Mother on May 13th, please say a prayer for these mothers, grandmothers, aunts and sisters in South Sudan. They are so very grateful for all that they have, which is not much by western standards. And in case you have trouble thinking of a very unique and special gift to honor your mother, let me suggest contributing toward a well for a church in South Sudan. If your mother has everything she needs, a gift of a well in her name might just really bless her. And if your mother is in heaven, she already has everything she needs, and she has fully realized the importance of everyone receiving “The Living Water”.
“The water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14.
Nhialic abi thiei (God Bless You),
Mama Ayen (Ann Rao)