Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sleep Update

Thank you to all of you who have been praying! I realized today that I sent out an update in my January prayer letter, but forgot to post an update here. Praise God, I have been sleeping well for several weeks now! Even after I started sleeping, I was still emotionally and spiritually in a haze. Praise God again that prior to the team retreat God brought me back to a place where I could pray and process and out of the haze I had been living in for weeks. The team retreat was encouraging and restorative as were the days I spent at Lake Mburo. Even now that I am back in Sudan, I am sleeping despite the oppressive heat. I am thankful for sleep as well as space in my mind to read books, journal, and process life in Sudan.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Which Way to Lui?

Bethany and I embarked on an adventure early Sunday morning. We had been planning a bike trip to Lui, which is about 14 miles by road from Mundri for a few weeks. Our plans changed though once we heard of the deteriorating road condition. A lot of the road is more like a washboard these days covered in small ridges spanning the whole width of the road. I was also not looking forwad to continually being engulfed by a cloud of red dust when a truck passed. Last minute, we decided to take the shortcut. We had heard of the shortcut, but we didn't know the condition of the path, where it started, or where it let out. Michael gave us the GPS, a satellite phone, and tools for bike repairs along the way, and then we were off.

After crossing the bridge, we started asking people about the path, and some soldiers pointed us in the right direction. We passed through a few compounds where we continued to be directed towards Lui. After about a half hour we were on a clear path with tire tracks from motorbikes that we could follow.

The shortcut was beautiful! We passed under mango trees, through large clearings, over small rock formations, and beside fields being prepared for the rainy season. This month the mango trees are FULL of green mangoes that will be ready to enjoy in about a month. Overall the condition of the path was good, but being the middle of dry season, there were some sections that were covered by 2-3 inches of sand. I wiped out once on the sand as we going down a hill, but continued with only a few scrapes and bruises. After about an hour and 45 minutes we passed through a compound and asked the way to Lui. We got some strange looks, and they told us to keep going straight. We biked a few more feet and realized we had arrived in Lui.

We spent the rest of the day resting and talking with Heather and David at their home in Lui. They are good friends, and I am so thankful for their hospitality and for the wisdom they have to share from 50 years of combined missionary experience.

The next morning we set off back to Mundri on the shortcut, which I think is about 9 miles. We made in back in only one hour and twenty minutes, which is pretty good considering it takes 45 minutes to get to Lui by car on the main road.

I really enjoyed biking to Lui on the narrow wandering path with Bethany. It was a perfect way to enjoy God's creation in Mundri, especially in the early morning before the heat of the day. I am looking forward to biking to Lui again soon.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dry Season Oasis

Kenneth, one of the county water officers and our friend, had been telling us about his first year of dry season gardening for a few months now. This week I had the opportunity to visit his garden with Larissa and Michael. Kenneth said he isn't a vegetable man but he is a water man. I would say he IS a vegetable man and a water man and even an entrepreneur.

To get to the garden we rode on motorbikes to the compound of Kenneth's uncle. We then walked for a few minutes on dry and dusty paths and past many lifeless rainy season gardens. After turning a corner, we walked straight into a dry season oasis! Everything around was vibrant green and the ground was damp. The land is next to the river and is surrounded by dead branches creating an obstacle to keep stray goats away from the tomatoes, okra, beans, collards and other greens.

We met two of his daughters who were at the garden that day to keep away any monkeys or goats looking for a snack. Kenneth, being a water man, has a pump, pictured above, that gets water from the river to the plants. He runs the pump every other day to keep the plants alive in the extreme heat even though the cost of fuel can be high. Other dry season gardens in Mundri may use a foot pump or people simply carry jerry cans from the river to the garden. Growing things in the dry season in Mundri is hard work! It requires a lot of time and attention.

Kenneth desires to learn more about agriculture even though his garden is already beautiful and is producing many crops in its first year. We are excited to learn from Kenneth and other friends about the Moru dry season gardening methods. Hopefully we can also share some ideas from Larissa's gardening experimentation or Heather and David's many years of experience with agriculture in Africa. I knew nothing about agriculture when I arrived in Sudan, but living with the Moru people and with Larissa, I have learned a lot.

Seeing people work hard as a family to grow food in the dry season has given me a new picture of the verses in Genesis 3 and the effects of the curse on work. Yet as I see people work hard and sweat to grow food, despite all the thorns and thistles and the resulting lush gardens, I am thankful for foretastes of the complete restoration to come. I look forward to the time when everything will be made new.


Gen 3:17-19 "... cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

Rom 8:20-21 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

Rev 22:1-3 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.

Monday, February 15, 2010

To Uganda and Back

I want to thank all of you who were praying for our team vision retreat. We each had the opportunity to share the vision God has placed on our hearts for ministry in Sudan over the next year. We each also were able to share our personal histories and the stories of how God has worked in our lives. We played water polo, sang praises under the stars, and enjoyed the sounds and smells of rain.

After the retreat, Bethany, Anna (from the Bundibugyo team), and I went to Lake Mburo for 2 days of vacation. We enjoyed beautiful views of God's creation, delicious food, game walks, boat rides, lounging in the sun, and curling up during the rain. I was so thankful for comfortable and quiet spaces to pray and journal!

I am now back in Sudan, reconnecting with friends and settling back into life. My first night back in Sudan I was flooded by the feeling of being home again. Although it was hot and dry when I left for Uganda, and it is now even hotter and dryer. Tomorrow I will give the final exam for the S1 physics class and Wednesday I will visit the dry season garden of county water officer.