|At Eliza's house in 2013|
Since being back in Melut, I have treasured my sweet friend and helper, Eliza. She has worked with us in our home since the day we first arrived in Melut in 2012. She has been an auntie to my boys and has a special bond with Joshua, has helped me understand cultural things, knows how to help and is always eager to support me. Lately she has been very helpful with gently asking people to come back later when they come to see me while I’m busy homeschooling the boys. She has helped in our home, running to the market, sweeping and cleaning the house, washing clothes, which has to be done by hand, and watching the boys when I need to go somewhere. It is because of her help that I am able to take part in ministry opportunities outside of our home.
|Learning how to make zalabia (doughnuts)|
Besides Eliza’s help in our home, she has also welcomed us into her family. The boys and I have spent many times in her home, drinking tea, laughing, and playing with her kids. Eliza’s son, Sunday, and her nephew, Riel, have been very special friends to our boys, especially since we’ve been back this time.
|Such fun friends!|
This last Thursday night Eliza showed up unexpectedly at our house. She said she had some news and sure enough it was quite the surprise! Out of the blue her brother and sister had arranged for all three of them and their children to move to Juba, the capital city of South Sudan in the south. I knew that Eliza has been very concerned for her two older children lately because the schools here in Melut haven’t been functioning since Melut lots a lot of their teachers during the unrest. Those who had money and education, moved to safer areas to get jobs. So we have been without teachers. This opportunity arose, so Eliza decided to take it. She had less than 24 hours to pack up her house and four children, plus her 5 nieces and nephew, to travel to Juba.
I can’t express how painful this was! Eliza was very kind to express her gratitude to us for our friendship over the years. She shared that she doesn’t even recognize the difference in our skin color or language any more. We are family. Tears were shed by all. We are thankful we got the chance to say goodbye and have closure, but we are also really feeling our loss of such a special family in our lives.
I have been amazed though, how God has been acting on Eliza’s behalf just in the last few days. First, Eliza was shown favor at the airport and only had to pay half price for their airplane tickets. Second, we had contacted missionary friends of ours in Juba asking if they knew of anyone who needed househelp because our dear friend Eliza was moving to Juba and needed a job. We said we couldn’t say enough good about Eliza. Less than 24 hours later, only hours after Eliza arrived in Juba, we heard back from this missionary friend that TWO people have need of help! I had the joy of talking to Eliza on the phone last night, hearing how her trip had gone so smoothly and God had provided a place to stay with a relative and then I got to tell her that there were TWO job possibilities! All I know is that God has a way of showing us what His plans are for us!
The last two days have been a little sad as I’m missing my sister, Eliza, and realizing more and more how different life will be without her around. But I trust this is God’s path for both of us and I trust that it is good.
|Joshua "helping" Auntie Eliza make fried fish (2012)|