Sunday, June 14, 2015

A healing balm for our hearts - a visit with Melut friends!

My friend Atong with baby Elizabeth
 This beautiful friend of mine, Rachel (Atong) has been my closest friend from Melut since 2012. We have been through so many hard things together - grieving the loss of her baby born in 2013, followed by the loss of her mother only months later. We have shared our hearts like I never imagined I could with a friend from such a different culture as my own. Atong is a woman with a very strong faith and a beautiful heart. When the fighting returned to South Sudan at the end of 2013, after a very very difficult year for her family, Atong moved to Nairobi, Kenya with her 7 younger siblings. She put all her brothers and sisters into school and pressed on in a very new country.

Now almost two years later the Lord has blessed her with a beautiful daughter she named Elizabeth after Atong's mother. Her Dinka name is Achol, which means "replacement" because Atong lost 2 babies before little Elizabeth. Elizabeth is a miracle baby herself. She was born with spina bifida and had to have two major surgeries at a very young age. She is now a thriving, healthy 4-month old baby girl! God is amazing!

Baby Elizabeth

We all think Elizabeth looks like her aunt, Rejoice

Another of Atong's sisters, Akuot

We shared a beautiful day together, eating and drinking Sudanese coffee and catching up on the last year and a half since we've seen each other. I had a bunch of pictures and videos on my camera from our last weeks in Melut so I shared those with them. It was neat to see them recognize friends in the pictures and I think it was very meaningful for all of us to look through those memories together.

With my sweet Sudanese sisters, Apach on the far left and Atong

With little Elizabeth
I had some fun picking out little gifts for baby Elizabeth since this was my first time to meet her. Here she is sporting her new sweater that I bought for her.

Apach with their live doll

Auntie Claire snuggles Elizabeth

Eli figured Elizabeth needed some "Baba" time since her daddy lives far away in America.
I am so so thankful that the Lord gives us these special gifts of reconnecting with our beloved friends from South Sudan. It is these beautiful friendships that keeps us in this war torn country. Our hearts will forever be in South Sudan and will belong to these amazing people!


Danielle said...

So encouraged to see the way God puts people in geographical places to walk through difficult times with. Praying for you all!

Shari and Dave said...

Dear Eli and Bethany,
Thank you so very much for the updates and the sharing of your hearts and needs. Our hearts have been knit to yours as we have grieved with you, even as you continue to praise and trust God though bewildered about the whys and what next. Even in your grief, we have seen faith spring forward.

We have taken great joy when Eli has returned home safe to you and the boys, for indeed his home is both with God and wherever you, Bethany, and the boys are. We too have rejoiced when you have been united with friends from school and from S.Sudan.

We have been greatly concerned about your friends in S. Sudan and prayed as you have asked.

We rejoice in the generosity of those who sent money and love and prayers to you all. God has not forgotten you or the South Sudanese people who are looking to Him in faith, to supply their needs, which are many at this time. How our love has multiplied as we have seen the suffering of you all and our brothers and sisters in our Lord in S. Sudan, and yes, those who will be saved including those who have sought to destroy. God too wants their hearts to surrender and receive His Beloved Son. May it be!

Love and hugs, Dave and Shari