Thursday, November 29, 2007

Yuna's Story

The rains have stopped and black strings of ash dance in the wind. The annual ritual of burning the grass that has grown wildly for the past few months has begun. The night sky glows with fires sweeping across miles and miles of savannah; quite beautiful really. The lack of rain has made the roads passable again and suddenly a flurry of activity is taking place in our little town of Yabus.

A few days ago I spent 10 hours driving on some impressively difficult roads in order to pick up some church leaders for a conference we are having. I took a guide, Yuna, and at one point he pointed off into the bushes and said, "let's go over there". He led me to a large rock and a small shack that had been built over a hundred years ago out of stones.

Yuna then let me know the history behind this delapitated home. Slaves, lots of slaves, were gathered from his tribe and brought to this location. They were then "sorted" and the strong ones were taken up north to be sold. The rest are said to be found in a deep hole in the rock we stood on. Amuna, the woman who ran the slave trade, was a bertah and Yuna is an Uduk. Even to this day, there is deep suspicion between these tribes and they both live in Yabus.

Bethany and I have stepped into a place with deep scars. Lift up this place, these people, our lives to God in prayer. Nothing short of a complete change of heart can bring peace. Nothing but forgiveness gives hope for the future.

Above: Yuna visits the place his enslaved ancestors were brought

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Yabus Thanksgiving

We thought of you all so much yesterday but were quite content and grateful for our first Sudanese Thankgiving. It was a blessing and encouragement to our hearts.

For our meal we had chicken, rice, and pumpkin pie for dessert. I can't believe it, but the pie was PERFECT! It was so exciting for me seeing as I had to make do with ingredients we had and baked it in a large metal pan on a charcoal fire! I put about 2 inches of sand on the bottom of the metal pan, put the pie pan in, covered it with a metal lid and put more coal on top. It worked beautifully. I think I might try making brownies next.

We invited Kassu and Meseret and their family, David, who lives behind us, and our two visiting teachers who will be teaching our pastor conference this week. We went around the table and each shared what we're especially thankful for this year.

Our pastors' conference kicks off tomorrow. We'll be hosting 30+ men here on our compound. So we've cleaned out 2 tents, 3 large huts, and the room next to David behind our house. We'll have lots of people around for the next 2 weeks. I hope all goes well making sure they're all taken care of, fed, and all that. What a blessing to be a part of this!

Here's a picture of my beautiful pie. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Where's the Pepto?

It's funny how we have not had to seek out adventure, it simply crawls into our lives here in Sudan. A knock at our door at 3:30 pm turned out to be our fabulous guard, Daniel. He motioned excitedly for me to follow and indicated that the camera was an obvious necessity. Sure enough I found myself admiring a very large lizard, probably something related to the monitor lizard. Daniel had found it crossing the path and commenced sending it to lizard heaven. As I snapped a couple pictures, Daniel informed me that the skin was a present and the meat was delicious. I thanked him for the former but was looking for the exit on the latter. Nope, too late. Nyai, the tallest Uduk we know, had showed up with some coals and was getting the fire started. An impromptu barbeque started and in a couple minutes we had a small gathering. I was handed the tail a few minutes later and to my surprise, found it incredibly delicious! Eat large lizard- I guess I can check that off my to do list.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Back in Yabus

Hi Everyone,
I couldn't believe how exciting it was for all of us as we landed on the Yabus airstrip and saw our friends waving frantically! It is SO GOOD to be home - we really missed everyone here.

We had very good trip. We did it in 2 days which made it easier with the kids. Thursday we flew to Lokichoggio, Kenya which is right on the border of Sudan. We spent the night with a new friend, our AIM AIR pilot, and his family. Then early on Friday morning we flew to Yabus.

We've spent today (Saturday) unpacking everything, handing out gifts we brought for friends here, and getting the boys transitioned AGAIN. Evan's been clingy but that is normal.

Thank you for praying for our trip. We will truly enjoy these next few months here in Yabus before we leave again for Christmas. We are so thankful that Yabus feels so much like home. Our three weeks in Kenya were wonderful - we saw lots of friends, got lots of rest and good food, spoke with many family members and friends on the phone, and arrived back here refreshed and overjoyed to be back. That's the way it should be!

Monday, November 05, 2007

A Refreshing Weekend at Lake Naivasha

We've been looking forward to this weekend away with our close friends for a long time. They work in a country north of us but came to Kenya for a conference. We drove 2 hours out of the city to a beautiful lake lodge and stayed for two nights. We ate buffets at every meal, took long naps, went on a boat ride and saw giraffe, hippo, gazelle, and many types of birds.
Now we're back in Nairobi and wrapping up things here before we fly back to Sudan on Wednesday, Nov. 7th. Please pray for safe travel and smooth adjustments back to life in Yabus.

Our friends: the Clermont Family

With our friends at the lodge

Fun in the pool