Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Week Recap in Photos

This was our last full week before the new semester starts back at Gideon Theological College so it feels like we've been trying to squeeze in as much as we can! One of the most exciting things this week was seeing our new teammates' homes finally being finished. Here you can see both of their houses are up, painted, and they even put up some tarps to provide some shaded area between them since the weather is above 100 degrees every day.

Meanwhile, not far away, our house continues to progress. This picture was taken on Monday and it's already come a long way.

Another project this week was working on the new latrine for our teammates. Eli spent some time down the deep pit slapping cement on the walls.

Over the weekend the boys had a campout in our yard near the river. They put up several bug tents, had dinner roasted on the campfire, complete with homemade marshmallows, and had a blast with their friends. I slept inside in my comfy bed but loved hearing the giggles and laughs drifting through the windows.

It is fun to have some new friends for the kids to play with. Joshua and William shared the job of licking the cake batter bowl today.

Our friend John had dinner with us a few nights ago and tried tacos for the first time. He enjoyed them so much he had three!

We are now looking forward to a weekend and hoping we can slow down a bit and catch a breath before school starts up on Monday.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Introducing MORE new teammates!

We would like to introduce another new family who just joined our team here in Melut yesterday! Jonathan and Amie Cross from Washington State have four children: Providence (far left), Rosemary (on the right), William (standing) and Daniel (being held by his mama.)

Eli hired a truck to transport their things from the airport an hour away to their new home in Melut on GTC campus. All the children were so excited to greet them and welcomed them with special songs and drumming.

The girls jumped right in to making friends. The girls on campus are thrilled to have more girls to play with.

Karen Heska (who's been here a week now) and her neighbor Mary, welcomed Amie to her newly finished house.

First thing the very next day the Cross children had already joined in the Nile fun. Isaac and Evan made new fishing poles out of bamboo and fishing line for the girls and showed them how it's done.

This afternoon while all the kiddos were having rest time we had a 2 hour orientation meeting under the shade of a tree within ear shot of all our houses. :) We are sooooo thrilled to have a growing team.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Little Fishermen

The boys spent most of this weekend fishing. With the river level going down, fish are biting like crazy. Granted most of the fish they're catching aren't very big but they caught 20 yesterday and had a fish fry with their friends.

Fishing right outside our house

I was concerned about the hours they were spending in the sun so I took a bedsheet out to make some sort of makeshift tent so they could at least sit in the shade. It was such a windy day they didn't even need to prop up the sheet. I just tied the corners to the fence and the wind held it up!

The boys hangin' out in the Fish Shack

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New Teammates arriving today

We would like to introduce David and Karen Heska and their 18 month old daughter Rachel. This sweet family of 3 just arrived in Melut, South Sudan today to join our small team here at Gideon Theological College. They will be staying with us in our house for the next week or so while David builds a prefab house for them and they hope to stay a full year in hopes of returning long term.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Lots of Building going on in Melut!

Though the planning began way back in October, our supplies and building materials have finally arrived in Melut. We have seen a lot of activity in the last 3 weeks with several plane loads of prefab housing and a few truck loads of cement, iron and other building supplies from a nearby city 3 hours away. It's very much been a team effort!

Eli has spent the last 4 days working with our new teammate Jonathan Cross, to put up their prefab house. Once the house is complete with electricity connected, he will fly back to Kenya to bring his wife and four children to Melut.

3-room house put up in 4 days! Now for the touch ups...

Not far away, our house continues to progress slowly but surely. Last week the foundation was poured and this week...

...the trusses went up for the roof. Our builder has been dividing his attention between 2 projects but starting this week he will be able to focus more energy on our house so we're excited to see what gets done.

With the long, full days of work, it's important these guys take time to kick back and relax now and then. On Saturday afternoon we enjoyed a nice gathering with our neighbors and friends here at GTC.

The boys were delighted that little donuts were on the menu!

Monday, February 04, 2013

Dedicating the new GTC boat

Gideon Theological College has been blessed with the donation of a boat to use for our college's ministries and for revenue for the college. Once the boat finally made it to Melut, we held a special thanksgiving and dedication service to thank the Lord for this boat and commit its use to God and His glory.

We are asking God to provide a Christian boat driver who will be a man of integrity and trust.

We also spent time rejoicing and singing together

After the service we enjoyed a special meal together as a GTC family.

After the meal we all went to the river banks and each family had a ride on the new boat.

Some of the passengers looked a little worried as they first set out but they returned wearing big smiles!

The boat driver is one of our newest SIM teammates: Jon Cross. Look for more news on his family to come...

It was such a fun day to be reminded of God's good gifts and to celebrate and have fun together.

Though we are safe in Melut, people are really suffering in other areas of this country!

By Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada

Posted on 30 January 2013

“Just stop the planes.” That was the plea made by the feisty, determined Khadija when I interviewed her in front of the remains of her home in a small village in Sudan¹s Southern Kordofan state last week.

If only it could be that simple. It certainly ought to be.

A month earlier a lumbering Sudanese Antonov aircraft had passed overhead and unleashed a deadly cargo of five bombs in rapid succession. Khadija was at the nearby market at the time and therefore escaped injury. But when she hurried back to her home, pure horror awaited her. One elderly woman, unable to run, had been literally blown apart and Khadija later undertook the grim task of collecting her neighbour’s body parts.

Khadija also found that her tukul had been burned by the bomb and that all of her clothing and worldly possessions had been destroyed. Another woman, just passing by at the time, lay with a shrapnel injury in her foot.

Khadija’s story is one among very many that I heard. This campaign of death, fear and destruction against the civilian population of Southern Kordofan has been ongoing for close to 20 months now.

Indiscriminate bombs are wantonly rolled out of the back of the Antonovs, flying high above, with no ability to guide them to proper military targets. And, inevitably, many of the bombs fall where civilians live, sleep, grow food, go to market, fetch water, pray or attend school.

This relentless campaign of death raining down from the skies has killed or injured untold numbers of people over the past 20 months. Its impact, however, is more insidious than the harrowing toll of deaths and injuries alone. Because by now the mere mention of an Antonov, let alone the sound of its approach, is a source of panic and terror.

People run for the nearest foxhole (nearly everyone has dug one in their compound) or they run for the safety of rocks and caves in the region’s Nuba Mountains. And they hide and they wait.

And everything about their lives is turned upside down. While fleeing and hiding they cannot tend crops. They cannot look out for livestock. And day by day, therefore, food supplies have dwindled to nothing.

Add to that the Sudanese government’s cruel refusal to allow independent humanitarian access to this area so that food and other relief can be distributed and the gravity of this crisis has become beyond measure.

There is absolutely no doubt that this indefensible bombing campaign violates international humanitarian law ­ the repeated indiscriminate air attacks, as well as possibly direct attacks on civilians, by the Sudanese armed forces, constitute war crimes. So why does it attract so little international attention? Security Council resolutions urge and encourage but do not condemn and deplore what is happening. The Sudanese government plays games with UN, African Union and other officials, promising that aid access will open up, but consistently failing to follow through.

 was asked “why?” at every turn. “Why don’t we matter? Why doesn’t anyone care about us?”

Or, as Khadija put it, “why doesn’t someone just stop the planes?” That is precisely what has to happen.