Thursday, December 24, 2015

12 photos for 12 months in 2015

Flying back to Africa 
The year 2015 started with packing and preparing to return to Africa after a refreshing and wonderful home assignment. We returned not knowing if we'd be able to go back to Melut or not but after a quick survey trip that Eli made in February, we believed God was leading us back.

The boys were thrilled to get back to fishing in the Nile River!
 We arrived back in Melut as a family at the beginning of April. After being gone since the fighting in December 2013, we were overjoyed to reunite with many special friends.

Our small Melut team celebrating our 1st month in Melut
Playing Uno in a bunker at the UN compound
 Sadly our time in Melut came to a quick end at the end of May after only 6 weeks in Melut. Rebels approached via the Nile River so we evacuted to another team base and a few days later to Nairobi, Kenya. We were so sad to leave our friends and home but so thankful to the Lord for His protection, especially over our children who didn't witness any of the violence.

With my life-long friend, Emily Greene
 While we waited in Kenya and processed everything that had happened, the Lord provided a very significant gift to aid in my healing - my dear friend, Emily Greene flew from Uganda to spend a week with me.

Our new home in Doro, South Sudan
After about 6 weeks in Kenya and much prayer and guidance, we decided to join the SIM team in Doro, a base only 4 hours by road from Melut. One of the amazing things about being in Doro is that we are now where many of our friends from Yabus and Melut have fled for safety in the refugee camps. During our 1st four months in Doro, God has continued His healing process in our family by not only reuniting us with old friends but by providing new friends too.

The boys with their neighborhood friends
Eli's one-on-one discipleship
 Not only has God given us many special new friendships, He's also opened many doors for ministry for both Eli and I. Though Gideon Theological College is closed temporarily, Eli continues to use his gifts of teaching and discipling in Doro.

Bible Teaching under a tree
 We arrived in Doro right at the time when the Ingassana tribe and several other tribes who have never had a chance to hear the gospel and receive Jesus Christ as their Savior started responding and asking for Bible teaching. Eli and I jumped in though it was very stretching for us to teach in Arabic and with tribes we haven't had experience with before.

Bethany with Ingassana ladies who participate in a weekly Bible study
Our 2015 Doro Team
For Thanksgiving our team gathered with lots of delicious food and shared all the things we've been thankful for in 2015. It was so good to reflect and remember how our God has been faithful and to remember all the blessings He's given us. Looking back at 2015, our family experienced its share of grief and pain but in the midst of that He's given us great joys - a new home, new friends, a wonderful team, and a fruitful ministry. 


The added extraordinary "cherry on the top" for our year is that we get to celebrate Christmas with most of Eli's family who has gathered in Burundi where 2 of his brothers and their families work as missionaries. Oh, what a year! We look forward to 2016 with great anticipation because we know God holds us in His hands.