Saturday, July 27, 2013

Greetings from South Sudan

A city called Wau, South Sudan

Greetings from Juba, South Sudan. We interrupt our normal weekly devotional posts to share my reflections on my Mission trip in South Sudan. May you be comforted.
Being in South Sudan for a few weeks, I read my bible and I am amazed how scriptures which did not make very much sense, are screaming with meaning now to me. The South Sudan people remarkably remind me of the people of Israel, strong, defiant, resilient, a dedication to their culture even in the worst of circumstances. A war for over 40 years has not made skeptics of them, but raised a people still filled with hope, hope for a better life. The war was a time when the gospel spread and now being here as this new nation celebrates two years of independence, I see a group of committed Christians who are ready to move forward with life, acknowledging that the very fact that they are alive is an indication that God is at work and not done with them yet. Just like Israel, the people of South Sudan against all odds have a nation, a land they call their own and the will to press forward.
The streets of Juba, South Sudan
You know sometimes the Lord whispers a call to a strange land and does not tell you the fullness of the mission until the appropriate time. South Sudan for me has been a whisper which by the grace of God and the support of many friends and family has been so far, amazing beyond words.

This call to South Sudan has lead me in my first few weeks, into the privilege of teaching 30 Pastors and Church Leaders, young and older men and women (27 men and 3 women) in Lietnhom South Sudan. They are on fire for God, committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ because their lives have been changed by the Lord.

Their testimonies range from demon possession, the worship of soil, trees or animals. They narrate how they offered many cows and chickens to their gods so that they will have peace. They speak now of how they heard about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the one who offers hope and eternal life. They trust now in Jesus as the one who sets them free, the one who brings them peace. It is this truth that leads them to seek to be better equipped to do the work of the ministry. Some of them have their own congregations, some are evangelist, others teach Sunday school classes, while others are teachers in the local schools. They came from different areas of service but they all share one story, lives being transformed with peace, joy, provision, healing and a great desire to teach others about the one true God they have found.

I see in their eyes during this first week, a desire to know the truth, a desire to be the example of love, just like Christ. I also see a pain that the past has brought, a battle of forgiving the most hurtful of sins. They have stories of people they know who have killed their mothers, their fathers, who have burned their houses, stolen their cows or have beaten them because they shared their faith. It is with this melting pot of experience that our classroom simmers, cooking up, we hope a renewed mind of The essentials to Christian Ministry.

As we teach and learn together we share with these vibrant pastors and church leaders that Christian Ministry is all about service. Service expressed in loving God and loving one another, the great commandment and the great commission. We get into the word of God together, to see examples of how others were called to Christian ministry. We read the Bible in Dinka language (the local tribal language) and English. They share their own stories, we have a time of testimonies where some in the class share about how they encountered the Lord and how He has changed their lives. Even in broken English, they share the difference faith makes and we are all encouraged.

Three weeks of ministry in Lietnhom has been filled with life giving stories another one involves two women coming to new faith in Christ, underneath a big tree where we gathered for fellowship. The Lord did His work, I just showed up to be used, and enjoyed the ride. I am currently in Juba for a few days in route for the city of Yei. I hope to blog on my time in Yei and finally about my time in Juba before I head back home to Dallas. I will update with more pictures when I am back home because it took me two days of trying to upload this one. So I hope to share some more with you soon. Thanks for your prayers. Hope you are comforted by these stories in South Sudan. Until next time, read, share and be comforted.

1 comment:

  1. I am so happy that this mission has turned out to be for you much more than you could have imagined. It's great to hear the stories - really helps out things into perspective for those of us go have never had to live through war and the atrocities that come with it. May u continue to be blessed as your journey continues and bless you for hanging in there to load the picture above- that must have been frustrating but it is appreciated- there4 it was not in vain.


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