Friday, April 12, 2013

South Sudan Scouting Trip March 2013

Beginning from the end, the Lord gave a great opportunity to share with a Cape Muslim brother on the short flight from Joburg back to Cape Town, on the day before Easter. Our conversation started about what we do for a living, and got more into running a business as I mentioned to him my heart to start some business (maybe recycling) in the future that would create jobs among the community I live in, and possibly even nationwide. Then, as I got into the heart behind it and and how missions is to present people with the choice to follow God as He reveals Himself, he became defensive and wanted to explain why jihad is not really Islamic as it is being carried out in the world today. I listened, but knew the conversation would turn to man submitting to God and upholding His perfect law as best he could, referring to the Prophets speaking that throughout history.

Towards the end there was a natural break as I was able to share the gospel through the Scripture of Matt. 5:17 in which Jesus says: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" (ESV). I then worked from that passage and went back over how God throughout history of His dealing with people was pointing towards Jesus perfect sacrifice in the Passover, Abraham's willingness to sacrifice the son of the Promise, and countless OT prophecies. I could see my friend was taking it in, and I felt a true seed of the Truth was planted in His heart. Let us pray together for Isgak (Arabic for Isaac), this precious son of Abraham, to receive the salvation that comes in Christ Jesus alone, him and his whole family.

Thank God that my health was good for nearly the entire trip with regards to my stomach ailments, and even now I attribute to a lack of processed foods in the diet as I seek to discipline myself in this area. I am joking with friends and colleagues here that this trip was 'my last hoora', as the first words Thandi greeted me with were: "Never again will you go this long babe." She did have a great time with her good friend from Joburg for two of the weeks, though it turned out those four days alone were quite hard on her. As it turned out, from the meeting of my travel companion Kenny (fresh off leading a DTS team to Ethiopia) at the Entebbe airport in Uganda, the trip was a real adventure and revealed much about the many challenges facing the young nation of South Sudan, though never without the hope that brought them through such a devastating civil war.

Some of you got my updates on Facebook about the rough and long overland journeys in reaching Juba and then the two-day trip up to Wau, being harassed at each checkpoint simply for being foreigners. I will share all the details in the Trip Report, as I mentioned before. We were able to spend only four days in Wau because the base staff had already applied for a UN flight back to Juba, as they needed to renew visas and one member was going on to staff at a base in Uganda. But in that short time we were able to meet several neighbors, most Muslim Darfurians, and share/pray with them, visit schools and the hospital, as well as go and pray over the YWAM land along the river Jur around seven miles outside of town. There really is a lot of potential there and the students from the first DTS went on outreach with the neighboring villagers, and so have ploughed the soil spiritually in many ways. As I said, more details to come, as well as our impressions as a family for when and where we will be making the move.

After meeting with a few friends in Juba I have not seen in several years, and being blessed by their hospitality, we booked another Landcruiser to take the much shorter journey to our base outside Yei town to the SW. In Africa you never really know how long it will take you to get from Point A to Point B, and this proved correct as our 4-hour trip ended up taking well over 10 hours so that we arrived at the base in the dark and only found one family still awake! Thankfully, they had saved supper for us (roast cabbage and rice) and were just grateful to have us arrive. It was great to see all the growth at the base with several new buildings for staff housing as well as additions to the primary school that is serving so many children. We spent a lot of time just resting and enjoying the peace, but also able to visit a local church and meet with and pray for a group of schoolteachers in training, encouraging them as they are key players in discipling the nation of South Sudan. Nearly all were committed followers of Christ.

We also had a great night with some of the Ugandan volunteers who are doing several agricultural and community development projects. As we prayed for them I really sensed God wanted to assure them of their call to this nation, even though most Sudanese were not welcoming them and they were facing many challenges just to continue the work on the ground. Just last week I got an email from the brother leading much of the planting of crops on base land through his two oxen now ploughing the soil, and he thanked me, saying the prayer was very powerful and spoke to them right where they were at. We just thank God that we could bring any kind of encouragement to these dear, hardworking brethren.

I want to just say SHUKRAN KALIS (Thank you very much!) for all your prayers and support to us in this time, and will be happy to share with you more of our impressions soon. Right now, I am just trying to get plugged back into local ministry after having a minor car accident and having our bike stolen (by one of the kids in the township I have been meeting with), and just seeking God on the most strategic way forward. MOre to come and we fully expect God to continue to transform lives in us and through us!


Some pics of Wau and Yei base in between:
  The pioneer, Josephine, showing part of YWAM's land along River Jur, a tributary of the Nile, in Western Bahr al-Ghazal Province The lush and growing base of YWAM Yei, just 20 miles east of the Congo (DRC) border The borehole on base that obviously serves the whole surrounding community, with YWAM's primary school in background The temporary base in Wau town with YWAM's two motorbikes, very useful for getting around, as everything is so spread out

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