Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Wild Weekend

Lately, I've been finding myself in situations that are so new and different for me that I am eager to share it with you. Because I find so much joy in getting to live life in South Sudan, I wish I could share every detail with you, wish I could take you right along with me!
In my last blog post I shared how Thursday Bible study went in Gendrassa. None of it happened as I'd planned and yet I drove home that evening with peace and gratitude in my heart because I knew God had worked, He had spoken through His Word, and that was all that mattered.

On Saturday, Eli, the boys and I headed out to Yusif Batil camp, about a 10 minutes drive past Gendrassa. The new believers there have constructed a small place of shade - several poles stuck in the ground and a tarp over the top. It provides shade from the sun but boy is it hot! There was already a good sized group there when we arrived and they were eager to begin. We met a new fellow who spent 10 years in Uganda so he speaks English and is literate in English and Arabic. He used to be a muslim but learned about Jesus in Uganda and is a follower of Jesus now.  Apparently last week when we couldn't make it for Bible study because of car troubles on the way, he stepped up and taught the group who had gathered. Isn't that beautiful how God provided?

Our friends told us there was a big wedding taking place in the neighborhood so the women wouldn't be able to come because they were busy helping with wedding festivities. This week we studied Genesis 3 and after reading through it several times and some good questions and discussion, it was so neat to hear some of the men re-tell the chapter in their own words and in their own language.

Towards the end our study, Eli and I got a little distracted as the wedding party arrived with singing, chanting, and the blowing of cow horns. Soon after that, a group of men started dancing and then whipping each other! We were quite startled, as were our kids, until the men in our group explained that this is their culture and part of the celebration. I didn't have my camera but here is a picture I found on Google:

Soon several ladies that I've been getting to know out there came to get me and invited me to come meet the bride. I was ushered into a very crowded tukul (mud hut) where the bride was sitting and her friend/maid of honor sitting right next to her. They had very somber, serious looks on their faces. I greeted them and offered my congratulations and then all of us filed outside where a large group of women crowded around the bride and her friend as a special ritual was performed using oil and beads.

A man, who was a relative on the bride's side, dipped his fingers in a bowl of oil and then wiped it on the bride's forehead, neck, wrists, and ankles. Then the bride dipped her fingers in the oil and did the same process for her friend. It was fascinating. After the oil, friends and family of the bride gathered around with a large bowl of beads and started putting beads all over - around her head like a crown, on her arms and upper arms, around her waist, around her neck and even on her legs. She looked beautiful - how I wish I had a photo! Once the beads were all on, they began cheering and dancing and singing around her. It was incredible. Weddings in South Sudan are one of my favorite things!

The next day was Sunday and we decided to drive out to Gendrassa again to join them for Sunday morning worship. It was so neat to see this baby church conduct their service in their own way. After a time of greeting and fellowship after the service we headed home and brought my friend Manahil with us. She is going to take part in Eli's seminar this week on how to study the Bible and then teach it to oral learners. We organized a place for her to stay here in Doro so she wouldn't have to commute the distance every day. So she spent the day with us here at our house, along with a few other friends who came to visit in the afternoon. I decided to go all out and made juice, tea and then made coffee the Sudanese way - roasting the beans, pounding/grinding and then serving it with ginger in little Arabic coffee cups.

Enjoying coffee with the ladies

Eli and the men sat under our giant Baobab tree and played Uno while they drank coffee 

The cherry on the top of the whole evening was that we had a friend come for dinner, all the way from Burundi! You heard right! Our dinner guest was Dr. John Cropsey, a teammate of Eli's two brothers who work in Burundi. John is here in Doro for the week trying to do 500 cataract surgeries! It was so neat to have him here at our house for dinner, knowing that in a month, it will be reversed and we will be there in Burundi with them! (Yes, we are going to Burundi for Christmas for a big Fader Christmas!)

Dinner outside
So that was our weekend. 
Monday morning, bright and early, Eli began his Discipleship Seminar but I decided to take Monday and Tuesday off from home school and use the beginning of this week as my "weekend". 

Needless to say, we feel ridiculously tired every night and can hardly keep our eyes open past the kids' bedtime!

1 comment:

Sandy said...

So fun to see John in your picture! I love the thought of a big Fader Christmas in Burundi! I hope you post a few pictures of your time with family. :)

Praising God for His work in South Sudan!!!