Can I just tell you I feel like I’ve lost an apendage? Being without my camera this week was so hard! As I spent time in the village every day, I tried to take it all in so I could give it to you in word pictures so you could “see” it, too. But I think the personal stories will have to wait until another day...
The training time in the mornings got better each day as we learned from our mistakes the previous day. That’s what being a disciple is all about. The twelve dudes with Jesus had a learning, trying, failing cycle going on all the time.
Some of the same old problems of this area kept coming up as we went out. The church has told second wives, people who grow tobacco, men who didn’t get married in the church, etc. that they can’t be born again. Some of these people can’t change their situation in life, and so this proclamation by man leaves them hopeless.
I know my group had conversations that were hard to have and hard to hear.
The last day the groups went out, we took some “good will” items. We had been looking for terminally ill people, HIV positive people, and pregnant women all week, so we could bless them. We took BGR (Baptist Global Response) buckets to the sick and Maama kits to the expectant mothers. The buckets have things like a plastic mattress cover, sheets, towels, lotion, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, 300 vitamins, socks, straws, and plastic gloves (As a side note, you can volunteer or donate to BGR at THIS LINK. They are doing a lot to fight the famine in the Horn of Africa).
The house my group identified had two pregnant ladies and one very sick grandmother. She has a wound on her foot that won’t heal (probably because it is not kept clean). It’s rotting, and the “poison” of the wound is moving up her leg. Her son would like her to get it amputated, but she feels she is too old for that procedure (and I might have to agree).
While we visited with the family, shared a Bible story and gave a testimony, I sat by her and fanned the flies off her wound for one hour. That’s at least one hour out of her day that her wound got a break from those germ-carrying, pesky things. I really hated to leave her, and I’m not sure how much more time she has. The family was beyond grateful for the bucket and didn’t even have words to express their thanks for that and the 2 Maama Kits.
This sweet grandmother told us she identified with the story we told the first day we visited. In the parable of the Four Soils, she said she was the soil with the thorns. The worries of her wound and her sickness have choked the Word of God out of her. We prayed over her both days, and I hope to return to the village in September and see how she is doing. You can pray for her, too. Her name is Neria.
Here are some of the sick people that our different groups found:
An 18-month old burned with hot milk by his mother because of jealousy???
A man dying, lying in the sun, in the dirt, with no one to really care for him.
A lady whose dress caught on fire when she was cooking, and she couldn’t get to help fast enough.
Here are some of the comments from our students after the last day:
"I feel like I can tell stories to my neighbors and those that live around me now."
"I had never ministered to “sinners” before – like talking with drunk people."
"I feel like God has given me courage like it says in Joshua, 'Be strong and courageous.'"
"This was the first time I had ever laid hands on a sick person."
"This was the first time in my life I’ve ever given my testimony."
I don’t know who all was praying for this camp, but you affected more than just life-change in the students. So many people in the village were touched, loved on, taught, prayed for, and had their lives changed as well.
At the camp, a few were unsure of their testimonies, one girl was hearing voices calling to her (not good ones), and there were some students from some mixed-up backgrounds, so your prayers were necessary for them.
Now, all these students are seeking ways to help their own people! And they took ownership of their ministry. By the last day, they were saying to us adults, “We’re going to do it like this...” Most adults didn’t do anything on the last day in the village because the students were following the lead of the Holy Spirit and doing so well on their own.
THIS is how we work ourselves out of a job…
And that's a good thing!
We train the nationals to take the Word of God to their own people (Sudanese and Ugandans) in their own language (Alur, Lugbara, and Juba Arabic)! And multiplication of disciples happens.
Isn't God good?!