Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Caught in the Rain

In Mundri there is often a moment when you see the storm clouds and hear thunder in the distance and you have to make a choice. You can either stay put and wait out the rain or try to beat it home. Since I rode my bike to the office today, I decided I would leave and try to beat the rain. I was about a quarter of the way home when it started to rain hard. I took shelter under a tree for a few minutes but as the rain got harder I decided I had to move, especially since I had my computer with me in my backpack. I rode to the next compound and was greeted by a woman named Susan who so kindly let me wait out the rain in her tukul. I was soaked and covered in mud at this point, but my backpack was still pretty dry. I sat and talked with Susan for about an hour. She spoke some English and little Moru since she is from Yei. I really enjoyed our conversation and hearing about her family. She was very surprised to hear that I am an only child, which is very uncommon in Sudan. Once the rain slowed down, I decided I better start biking back since I didn’t want to have to ride home in the dark and it was already close to 6 pm. The heavy rains had created rivers of mud on the roads. I kept pedaling as fast as I could to get back which resulted in mud being splashed all over my legs, back, hair, arms, and pretty much everywhere else. Some of the puddles were already several feet deep, so I got off and carried my bike over the largest puddles and just rode through the rest. I was already muddy and wet at that point anyway. When I got to our gate, it was locked! I called out to Kim, and she let me in. I was soaked, but thankful that my computer stayed completely dry. I put my things down, and went to get my things to take a shower. When I got into the tent, I saw that it also did not fare so well in this storm. Water had come in the front door and a few windows. The rip in the back also let some water in onto our beds which are now pretty damp, but not soaked. I took a glorious shower that even felt warm since I was pretty cold from sitting in wet clothes for over an hour. Now I am clean and sitting at our dining room table writing this blog post. Dinner is almost ready, and Kim made pizza for the intern goodbye party tonight. I am looking forward to good, warm food. I am sure I will be caught in the rain many more times during rainy season. I even enjoyed the last part of the bike ride through puddles and small stream since I was already wet and covered in mud.

Friday, July 17, 2009


The West End team came ready with their cameras and took a lot of great pictures. Here are just a few.

(A classroom being prepared for painting at the theological college)

(Joseph reunited at the secondary school with family)

(The team out to eat at the Arabic restaurant)

(A new July 2009 WHM Sudan Team picture)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Visitors from Richmond

The West End team has arrived safely. They arrived on Tuesday bringing with them a care package from my mom, cards from all the women in my Richmond Bible study, and gifts from friends. I received a trunk full of practical things I didn't know I would need until I got to Mundri, plenty of new books to read (including Anna Karenina), and surprises that made me laugh, smile, and even shed a few tears.

The next day I joined the team for a prayer walk through Mundri. We visited Mundri Relief and Development Association (MRDA), the secondary and primary schools, the health clinic, and some local businessmen. After our visit with MRDA, some of the team had an opportunity to join the Bishop to pray for a witch doctor who had renounced demonic control and believed in Jesus, so we split up into two groups for the remainder of the day. Although we learned a lot about how to pray for Mundri and the needs in the area, the highlight of the prayer walk for me was seeing Joseph, a Moru man who lives and worships in Richmond, see Mundri for the first time in 20+ years. As we were walking through Mundri, Joseph reconnected with so many friends and family members he had not seen since before the war. After enjoying tea and good conversation in the afternoon, we walked with Joseph to his family’s land on the other side of town. He was reunited with his brother on the land he lived on as a child. It was a powerful moment as we prayed with them and heard some of the story of their family.

The next day we had the opportunity to see a hand pump repair at a borehole, visit a local women’s business project, and visit the theological college where the team would be teaching over the following days. Friday and Saturday the team taught on discipleship, leadership, business principles, and several other topics. Some of the men also had the opportunity to meet with the local chamber of commerce for several hours. I was encouraged personally by the teaching, but I was also encouraged by the dialogues that took place during the question and answer time. The students from the theological college and church staff that were in attendance had some difficult questions about spiritual gifts, suffering, and the things that they encounter on a daily basis as Sudanese believers. Their struggles may be different than mine, but I was so encouraged by the discussions because we have the same hope.

Sunday we split up and the team preached at 4 different services in the Mundri area. Hearing Kevin preach at the church that I attend in Mundri was a great blessing. It was familiar and comforting to hear him share the gospel. The church services were beautiful and powerful and God was glorified. If you are reading this and live in Richmond, talk to one of the men on the team about their experiences at these churches, because I don’t know how to express in a few sentences the joy, humility, gratitude, dependence on God, and hope that is felt at these worship services.

Sunday night the World Harvest team got to together to have a goodbye party for Kyle. He will be leaving on the same flight that will take the West End team home on Tuesday. It was a night full of laughs, prayer, and sadness. We will all miss Kyle dearly. Tuesday will be a sad day when the team from West End and Kyle leave together on the MAF flight.

Here are some ways you can join us in praying for Mundri:
1. Hope – Our theme for the week was that the gospel brings hope to Southern Sudan.
2. Pastors Training – Pray for the men who are students at the theological college who desire to be educated despite many challenges, especially being separated from their families.
3. Elections – Pray for the upcoming elections where most people will be voting for the first time in their lives and will be casting 12 ballots with up to 71 political parties on the ballots.
4. Teachers Strike – Pray for the teachers strike in Mundri which has been going on for nearly two months.
5. Water – Pray for access to clean drinking water for the people on Southern Sudan, especially in the more rural areas.
6. Girls' Education – Pray for education for girls who often do not complete their primary education due to family responsibilities.
7. Health – Pray for health services in Southern Sudan, and pray for a disease that has been affecting many people in the Mundri area has no known cause or cure locally called nodding disease.
8. Business – One of the major challenges to business in Mundri is the fact that there is currently no bank in the area.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Enchanted Teak Forest

Recently Karen and Larissa discovered a beautiful road not to far from our compound which has become a favorite path for prayer walks for several of us on the team. We are calling this place the enchanted teak forest due to the abundance of naturally growing teak trees along the path. Many of the teak trees have been cut down for use as building materials, but this area has remained largely untouched.

Water Tower

(The guys carrying the water tower)

(Raising the water tower)

A lot of progress has been made on the water tower in the past few weeks, especially by Kyle. The summer interns, Phil and Dan, have also been working on the water tower since they arrived last week. On Friday the section of the water tower that is completed was moved to its final location and raised. There is still quite a bit more work to be done before the water tower will be functioning, but it exciting to see something that resembles a water tower standing next to the borehole.

(Welding a few weeks ago)