Friday, June 29, 2012

Yuna's Story

Told June 28, 2012
       When we first moved to Sudan in 2007, one of the first friends we made was Yuna Bulan. At that time he was our compound manager so he handled a lot of the business on the compound – coordinating the cooks, workers, guards, etc. His family lived right outside our compound: Martha, his wife, and their 7 children. During our 3 years in Yabus, we grew very attached to Yuna’s family and felt like they had invited us to be family with them. When we left Yabus in April 2010 for our first home assignment, we didn’t realize how much life would change for them.

      Later in 2010 Yuna moved to Melut, South Sudan to begin studying at Gideon Theological College. At that time the school provided for boarding students but did not house their families. After the referendum and vote for the North and South to split in mid 2011, troubles began to erupt in our Yabus area. Our SIM teammates had already been evacuated so Yuna decided to travel to Yabus in November to check on his family. Yuna told me that shortly after he arrived home to Yabus, God spoke to him in a vision. He saw a man telling him he needed to get his family and leave the SIM compound. God didn’t tell him where to go, just that they needed to go. So the very next morning he sat down with his wife, children, and their closest friends/neighbors and told them seriously how God had spoken to him and they needed to gather some food and clothes and leave as soon as possible. He also went to warn other neighbors but they didn’t want to go. They walked to a small remote village called Damo, a 45 minute walk from Yabus. Only 2 days later, bombs dropped on our SIM compound! After the bombings, a neighbor found Yuna and his family and brought a large piece of shrapnel, saying there were pieces of shrapnel/metal all over his compound. Someone surely would have been injured, maybe even killed if they’d stayed!

     One Sunday while all the believers were in church in Damo, suddenly a large group of soldiers loaded with guns and artillery showed up. They said they had come to protect the civilians. But again God spoke to Yuna, telling him to leave. Yuna didn’t know where to go but he thought it would be good to find caves near the river where he could hide his wife and children (his youngest is 3 years old.)  He and a good friend searched for a safe place and God provided 2 very large caves where they moved their families and hid for weeks as they heard antanov planes coming daily and bombing nearby.

      Finally Christmas arrived and they decided to celebrate by going fishing so everyone could eat fish on Christmas day. Yuna’s eyes were huge as he was telling me this story because he said they took nets out that morning and caught so much fish he felt like one of the disciples when Jesus told them to put their nets down on the other side of their boat. They had enough fish to last all of their families for several days! So they came out of hiding for that one day and ate and celebrated. Yuna said at one point while they were eating, mind you it was Christmas day, they heard the sound of an antanov plane and sure enough saw it in the distance. They quickly hid and waited. It ended up totally bypassing them and leaving.

        After hearing part of Yuna’s story today, I was amazed at how God has been growing his faith. God spoke to him 2 times very clearly to move his family and indeed it was for their safety. There are many other incredible stories we’ve heard from Yuna and his wife Martha. I hardly know how to respond. I can’t imagine what they’ve been through. I can’t imagine what their children have gone through! In the last few days Isaac and Yuna’s son Jeremiah have really started hitting it off and starting a neat friendship. Isaac taught him how to ride his bike and fly a kite. Today Yuna told me that all his kids were up late last night talking about how happy they are to be back with our family, remembering the Yabus days.

      I had just sat down to start typing out this story tonight when I heard a soft knock on the door. When Eli answered the door, there stood all of Yuna’s kids, bringing us some cooked fish they’d had for supper. I invited them over to the computer and showed them pictures from our years in Yabus. They had such a great time pointing out their friends and themselves in each picture. It was so wonderful seeing their smiles as they remembered home and those who had been there. It breaks my heart to think that Yabus SIM compound might never be the same again. And neither will these families. But we press on in God’s strength.

     This year Yuna got to bring his family – all 7 of his children – to the college to live right here on campus with him. What a blessing! Martha, his wife is expecting # 8 in a few months. We don’t know what is ahead but praise the Lord, we have stories like this to look back on God’s faithfulness, in order to keep trusting and believing that God has a great plan for their lives and ours.

Eli and Yuna eating monitor lizard together in Yabus - 2007


Seth and Anya said...

wow! Thanks for sharing this story! Reminds me just how faithful our God is! i am sure he has big things in store for Yuna and his family! ~Anya

Poll Nike said...
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