Sunday, May 29, 2016

A New Family and a New Name

A few days ago we heard that some of the local Mabaan believers were organizing a special Sunday service with the Ingassana believers from both Gendrassa and Yusif Batil camps. It was a wonderful joint effort with Samaritan's Purse offering a vehicle to help transport people the long distance. They brought a tarp (as you see pictured above) to make an extended area for people to sit.

I want to share two of the highlights of our morning:

The pastor leading the service gave an opportunity for people to stand and share personal prayer requests. A young man who has just started coming to the Bible study in Batil the last 2 weeks stood up and explained that now that he's become a follower of Jesus and left Islam, his father and mother have kicked him out of their home. Instead of moving on with the service, one of the pastors encouraged him to come to the front and gave an invitation to any other new believers who were being persecuted or being rejected by their families because of their decisions to follow Jesus. A group of about 10 young men gathered at the front and then the rest of us circled around them, placing our hands on them and then we prayed fervent prayers over them - for courage, hope and perseverance. When the last Amen was said, most of us had tears running down our cheeks.

The other highlight for me was when a young man named Mohammad came forward and requested that we, the church, give him a new name. He no longer wants to be known as Mohammad. It didn't take long at all before we all decided on Emmanuel - God With Us. We made sure he knew what his name meant and then we all gave him a big round of applause - a new name for a new life.

After the service we gathered in a circle outside and though it was dreadfully hot we sang and danced until the sweat was dripping in the hot sand. People all over the neighborhood came to watch as Southern Sudanese from three different tribes, plus the crazy white people, danced and sang with giant smiles on their faces.

Just when I can't imagine being more amazed, God dazzles us again with how He's moving and working among refugees here in Mabaan county! God is constantly doing big things.


Megan Manne said...

WOW!!! God is so faithful and both of these stories of Him working gave me chills. Oh, how He loves us all!! Thank you for always sharing with us, Bethany. You are loved, friend!! <3

Jared Staples said...

So exciting to hear what God is doing! I love how the church renamed this young follower of Jesus! Thank you for the pictures!

Audrey said...

Wow! So excited for Emmanuel and him living out his new name! I also loved hearing about the 10 men whom you prayed over for courage and hope and perseverance as they experience persecution for being followers of Christ. So amazing what God is doing! So proud of you and that you get to be a part of this!

Larissa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larissa said...

My name is Larissa. I am a student in the USA, and I am trying to learn more about the Ingessana people for a project in the one-year Bible program I am doing. I came across your website and was wondering if you would be able to give me more information about the Ingessana people. I have ten specific questions in mind, but the most important of those questions are the following:

-What strategies have been used to reach them for Christ (past and present)? What is the status of the church? 
-What is the greatest challenge currently in communicating the Gospel to the Ingessana people? 
-What is the religion of the Ingessana/What is the relationship between the tribal religion and Islam, and how does that affect their daily lives? What kind of Islam do they practice? Do they still worship the sun?

I would very much appreciate any help or resources that you could give.
Thank you for your time,