Blog: October 17, Saturday
It is amazing to me that even after eight years spent learning as much as we can about the beautiful culture and people of South Sudan, there is still so much we do not have a clue about! I have felt more clueless and helpless since we moved to this refugee camp than I ever have in my whole life. Today was yet another day that I felt like I really had no idea what was going on around me. Let me explain.
About two months ago when we first arrived to this new area, I started going out to a distant camp where the Ingassana tribe live, to help teach a group of women who are very new in their relationships with Jesus. It was a joy to go out there every week. Their faces were bright and eager to learn and we became fast friends. Since that time, many more people from this tribe have asked for this same teaching. They want to know what the Bible says! So now, some of our teammates are coming out together twice a week and breaking into different groups to teach in different parts of these more distant camps.
As a team and also on our own, Eli and I have been praying and asking the Lord for guidance. This ministry seems HUGE. A tribe of over 100,000 people, who have in the past wanted nothing to do with Christianity, now are begging for us to teach them! How do we do this? We are just a handful of people who still understand very little of this cultural context and whose Arabic is still limited, especially when it comes to teaching the Bible (which should be our expertise!) So why has God chosen us to meet this vast need? I honestly don’t know, but it’s thrilling and terrifying all at the same time. It keeps us totally relying on God and recognizing that we are clueless and that it’s not about us at all. We are just the vessels. It’s all about our amazing God who has been preparing peoples’ hearts and who wants to offer them His hope and new life!
Speaking of God preparing hearts, we heard something so extraordinary today. A man who recently joined our small Bible study groups was sharing a bit of his testimony this week. He said that for two years he’s been having a recurring dream where a man urged him to read a little white book. He never understood where he could find this white book until he arrived in one of the Ingassana camps last week and met a man who had a little white book that looked exactly like the one in his dream. Do you know what it was? A small booklet that Eli’s been using for teaching the Bible chronologically! For two years this man has been dreaming about this white book and now here he is finally getting to learn what it’s all about. Isn’t that incredible? Doesn’t God work in such miraculous ways?!
Y’all, it is testimonies like these that keep us doing what we’re doing. To be honest, there were times today that I asked myself,
“Are we really doing any good here?”
“Is this teaching sinking in?”
“Are we doing this right?”
Yes, we do flounder at times. It’s taken several weeks to figure out the best way to teach these groups of people. You know why it’s so complicated? Because there are soooo many people who want to learn! Isn’t that a great “problem” to have? But we keep moving forward, we keep doing our best, trusting that in our weakness, He is strong and that He will fill in everything that we leave out. It’s messy. It’s complicated. We fumble and make mistakes. But it is exciting to be putting God’s Word into people’s hands and teaching them the truth that it holds.
So will you pray for us every Thursday and Saturday as we drive a half hour from home to minister God’s Word as best as we can? There are a myriad of circumstances that happen to prevent us from going – no vehicle, unrest in the area, sickness, miscommunication, etc. Pray that we will press on, making ourselves available to the Lord. Pray that every person that comes to hear and receive God’s truth will then go and share it with someone else.