Teaching on Sin, Forgiveness and Reconciliation among other topics during a seminar in the Nuer village of Ruoth Nyibol near Bentiu back in 2006
Salaam takuun naskulu ta kanisa.... (Is it peace with you all people of the Church?)
I realize it has been awhile since I last updated this blog, but I have been getting into the mold of American working life. As I said before, I am really grateful to the Lord for the opportunity to work in this time, though I don't plan on going on much longer as my lovely fiancee will be arriving this weekend. Excitement does not begin to describe how I feel about this, and I am really looking forward to the relaxing time spent with family and taking Thandeka to all the places of my youth.
I wanted to make it known to everyone a hopeful new development in the geographically centralized area I have been sharing about in my long-term vision for Sudan. That is, Bentiu, Western Upper Nile Province (though now Unity State) in the northern part of the roughly demarcated South Sudan. This predominantly Nuer (the second largest tribe in South Sudan) area is not only strategically politically and economically for the nation as a whole (which has consequently put its inhabitants in much danger with fighting over oil reservoirs, etc.), but also for the Lord's Kingdom of internal transformation going forth into everyday society. The people here are very churched since missionaries first went in the early 20th century, though discipleship is a nearly unknown concept, as I found out back in 2006 when myself and two Sudanese brothers went on a YWAM scouting trip down the river Nile for six (6) full days from Juba, then hiked (and swam) overland for a full day, and finally came into Bentiu by catching a 3- hour ride with a UN worker. Of course, the town itself is easily accessible with its airstrip, but we were a little tight on cash at that time, and part of the purpose of our journey was to: (1) Travel (and suffer) as the locals do, and (2) meet with County Commissioners and church leaders along the way to share about what YWAM does and put on a few short seminars. Overall, a very trying but great journey, and on our way out we were able to catch a ride with an NPA food aid plane with no seats, saving us a good number of days.
Now, one of those brothers who is actually from a village near to Bentiu, but fled the area as a young boy back in the early 1980s when the Northern Islamic government (GOS) was daily dropping bombs and sending in slave raiding parties. He fled to neighboring Ethiopia until the Communist regime there changed hands in 1991, whereby he and his fellow "Lost Boys" were forced to flee again, back across crocodile-infested waters and eventually finding refuge in the northern Kenya refugee camp, Kakuma. As I shared in my email update, this Nuer brother, William Keah Chuong, was one that I discipled and learned from when I staffed at the Yei Sudan YWAM base in 2005-06. Since then he has been studying medicine in Kenya and Uganda, and has now just contacted me to say that he is back in Bentiu where he and his new wife are planning to plant a YWAM base. Now, I have been in touch with him (in fact this is the brother that was supposed to go along with our team up to Malakal, which is about a day's journey east of Bentiu by river, but backed out because his cousin was shot dead in Juba) and I have shared about my heart to start a training center that begins in Bentiu area and sends out Sudanese missionaries to surrounding communities and eventually nations, but I never realized his heart was in this as well. Obviously it is though, since he is now in the process of acquiring land for the site. Here are some of the numbers, though the borehole (well) cost seems a bit steep:
1. Boreholes for the base to be drilled and preped
2. Money to secure the full payment which amount to 4500$/borehole and 7500$ land complete payment and 2500$ for children ministry tukuls and the kitchen.
(Tukuls are a Sudanese generic term for the mud huts most sleep in, known as dwil in Nuer)
William emphasized to me the increasing number of street children/orphans coming out of war-shattered homes in the town, and express how crucial it is to have a ministry geared specifically towards them. There is another friend of mine that does just that and is also based in Bentiu, so I am putting them in touch to be able to hear each other's ideas and learn about the best way to address the felt as well as unfelt needs of this easily corrupted generation.
I have shared about this area and pioneering a base here, with the possibility of local chiefs and one MP friend from Khartoum being able to give us land through the government, but that was in a village some distance from the rapidly growing town of Bentiu (meaning "place of regret" in the local Nuer--will need to do some serious spiritual mapping with that name, and get to the source of some strongholds). Hence, the need to buy land from the local authorities partitioning it off. But please join me in prayer for this vision and the beginning of its physical infrastructure. I will be checking into how I can be sending some of my support money up to William once I find out more about where he is at in the process, knowing full well that these things take LONG in Africa in general, and particularly in the New Sudan. As they so often say in the local Arabic... "Bukura, inshallah" (Tomorrow, God willing). In other words, tomorrow maybe something will happen, most likely not until badbukura (day after tomorrow:)
Yet, in the spirit of new things in Christ Jesus, this is something Thandeka and I will be praying into and see how best to be commissioned off from our base in Cape Town to help pioneer a work with or nearby to William and his wife.
Shukran biAlla (thanks be to God)
Salaam naskulu ta kanisa.... I realize it has been awhile since I last updated this blog, but I have been getting into the mold of American working life. As I said before, I am really grateful to the Lord for the opportunity to work in this time, though I don't plan on going on much longer as my lovely fiancee will be arriving this weekend. Excitement does not begin to describe how I feel about this, and I am really looking forward to the relaxing time spent with family and taking Thandeka to all the places of my youth.