Thursday, February 9, 2012

Update from Among the Least Reached of South Sudan

Apfoyo ri ni... (literally "I appreciate you and that your day is going well")! That is the beautiful local language of Acholi, spoken in both Uganda and South Sudan. Plz refer to my Facebook album to be able to view photos from where we are living... First of all, we are alive and well here in the beautiful new nation of South Sudan, in the lush (even in dry season) Acholi Mountains...we are facing many challenges that are to be expected with pioneering in a virgin land, though one of the major ones has been working alongside with the more prominent Catholic Church. Even now, our only communication to the outside world is through the JRS (Jesuit Refugee Service) compound next door to our fledgling compound, which has been seeking to start a church just in the village below where we are living and their catechist is now claiming we are "seducing" Catholics (nearly all nominal) to join us in fellowship instead of going to their chapel. So, please first pray for understanding to come on both sides and the spirit of Christ to enable His Church to go forward into the Unreached of Issore, and particularly the village of Singili, where we are now living and reaching out to (after having spent several days digging a pit latrine, with local help, slashing and burning the land and then clearing it out to be able to pitch our tents on--it is a big land not too far from a nearby stream and we are even starting construction on two local huts for long-termers to stay there). Secondly, Busi has proved just how mighty of a missionary she is, with one old lady nearby always greeting her with "Abuba!" (meaning 'very old woman'), whereby Busi replies very clearly, "Abuba!" She usually begins each morning coming out of the tent (after she puts her boots on) saying "Hi!" whereby a group of children sing back in perfect unison "Hi!" She has had a very healthy appetite and even has begun greeting her food and drink: "Hi posho!" (local maize meal) and "Hi tea!" She takes and eats nearly everything the local children give her (roasted maize, pomnegranate, mango, papaya,etc), so we are really praying! The rest of the team really loves her and has taken to watching out for her. We have seen God's hand of protection so heavy on her (even since our first two nights in Kampala when her mosquito bites got infected badly and the wounds are only drying and healing now), and we are getting used to cleaning nappies all the time;) It was quite a rush getting into our first site back on the 12th, as we had wanted to take advantage of the YWAM Arua base vehicle being available to take us with foodstuffs and other items, because we knew from then on out we would be making the 4-5 hour hike down on foot. Even as we came down yesterday as a team for the first time, the bush took its toll on us and we are doing our best to rest up before heading back up. We really thank God for moving Uncle Bud and Aunt Darlene to give us their baby-backpack for Busi, as that has enabled us to do a lot of travelling with relative 'ease' (I use that term loosely). We have been blessed to be moving with two Acholi-speaking YWAMers, Bosco and William, though they each have families of 7 children and so have been coming and going to see they are situated back in school. Our team of 5 (including Busi) is also joined by a Rwandese brother named Higiro Eric, who truly exudes the joy of the Lord, and is among these people for his 2-year Frontier Missions outreach. It has been great to work together, and share what God is doing in our lives and speak out His truth and purposes over this place of Issore, a long-neglected people ( Jeremiah 24:5-7). Our first time going into the heaart of the spread-out village of Singili (where we are now living) brought us firsthand into contact with a ritual sacrifice of a goat, and they had promptly asked us to leave as only the elders could take part in carrying out the age-old ritual. The next day, we got word that that very night they were dancing for the spirits to accept the sacrifice and cleanse the wrongdoing committed, a healthy baby died in his sleep. It is so tragic and heartbreaking to hear, but also not surprising when the leaders of the people invoke the spirit of death into their presence. After hearing this, I shared in our first fellowship a week ago out of 1 Corinthians 1:25 about "God's foolishness is wiser than man's wisdom", emphasizing that God is greater than any cultural traditions we try to form to understand our world, and God calls us to seek out His great wisdom and incorporate into our local cultures, which is glory to the risen Christ! We know it will take time for the Word to seek into the hearts of the people, but trusting we are here at the right time, in obedience to His call and He will do it......... PRAYER POINTS: - Wisdom (esp. with one influential, but controversial, leader in the community who is open to Gospel) - The building of compound to go on smoothly in Singili--that it be a place of peace and the presence of the Lord going out into every home in the area - Strong in the Word (Spiritual Battle) and Prayer (Speaking out Truth) - Learning the Language (only a few know Juba Arabic, which I am picking back up, but I prefer learning their heart language anyway) - Love for the People (continue to receive from the Lord) - Kingdom Partnership with JRS and Catholic church (understanding of who YWAM is) - Football ministry (Bosco will bringing a new ball, as the one we brought got a pancha) - Strategies in overcoming Illiteracy...we have Acholi Bibles, but also looking at teaching alphabet not only to children (we have one brother named Manya learding to read Acholi with us through the Bible; he was baptized last week and we are now discipling him) - Continued health and grace with food/water - Growth in teaching local brethren to read God's Word in their own language, and they would in turn teach others (now beginning Discovery Bible Study groups together, modeled from Floyd McClung) - People will understand they are called to gather others and minister the Word, not only a foreigner, as they grow in the truth of who God is for them...would not be expecting a Church Building, but we would leave behind a movement of church planters among them - We are deeply conscious of the need to raise up Spirit-empowered DISCIPLES who can make godly decisions on their own in all circumstances, and not mere CONVERTS to our 'YWAM-brand' of the faith... Pray this can become a reality in spite of confusion from Catholic adherents, and the people having been neglected by the Church for so long....... Lastly, please be aware communication is a major challenge here (with phone networks not getting any coverage) and so it may be another month before you hear from us again! Thansk for all the prayers! APOYO MATEK! Pakha Lubanga (Praise God)

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