Saturday, November 27, 2010

BNTC Water

John has been hard at work on the Bishop Ngalamu Theological College water project over the last few weeks, and water is now flowing into the tank! Praise God!

We learned a lot from the Hai Salaam water project, and we are still learning a lot about working as water engineers in Mundri, Sudan.

At BNTC instead of building a new tank, we rehabilitated a tank that was abandoned on the college campus. The picture above shows John and Michael checking out the structure a few months ago. I was on the ground since I am afraid of heights. =)

I took this picture of the tank yesterday. It may look like the tank just got a new coat of paint, but I can assure you that there was a lot more to the process getting the tank ready store water and connecting the water pipes the tank.

We started by removing the riser pipes and hand pump from the borehole. Some of the pipes in the borehole were the blue PVC pipes we brought to Sudan last year as a trial. It turns out that the pipes crack often when the water office staff use their normal tools to remove pipes from the boreholes.

Kids gathered around us as the work continued for most of the morning.

John did the final wiring on the solar panels on the roof of a building near the borehole. For now the wire crosses from the roof over the road to a large tree and then goes down the tree into a trench in the ground. In the future we will probably bury the wire at a depth of at least 1 meter under the road.

On work days it seems that usually around 1 pm just when you think you can finish all the work before lunch which is around 2 pm in Sudan, something goes wrong. As the pump was being lowered into the borehole, it got stuck about half way down. It wouldn't go any lower, but it also wouldn't come back up. We stopped the work, prayed, and sent the water office staff to town for their lunch break. After confirming in the final depth of the borehole to be sure we hadn't hit the bottom, we decided to just pull really really hard until the pump came back up. Praise God it came back up, because I really have no idea what we could have done if it was truly stuck. We found that a metal hook that is attached to the pump was too wide to enter into the lower section of the borehole. The hook is used to tie a safety rope to the pump so that if the pipe breaks the pump won't fall to the bottom of the borehole, and you can then raise the pump with the rope.

We bent the hook into a flatter shape, and then the pump was lowered into the borehole with no problems!

It was almost 4 pm by the time we got everything connected and water started flowing out of the tap. Well, it was trickling out. We have some troubleshooting to do over the next few days since it seems that we have a problem with the connections at the solar panels.

This morning we were at Hai Salaama for prayers and to dedicate the Hai Salaama water project in the name of Jesus Christ. BNTC is near Hai Salaama so John rode over on his motorbike and there is now water in the storage tank!

Praise God for the water that is flowing at BNTC! We still have to build several taps and dig several hundred more meters of trench, but it is always a great moment when water starts flowing into the tank.

Thankful Hands

I am so thankful for our Thanksgiving celebration!

Jomima, Mary, and Silivia who all attend Mundri Secondary School joined us in giving thanks to God. I love laughing with these women!

The day started with James and John killing the turkey we bought a few weeks ago in Juba. I will spare you the pictures of the turkey while it was being prepared.

The final product was truly a thing of beauty and it tasted fabulous!

We had a true feast! Many of the foods we served are available locally, but are prepared differently. I was truly thankful for pumpkin, which is currently in season in Mundri. I was also thankful for cranberry sauce which came from America thanks to Linda and Ginny!

After dinner we took a break from eating before serving the desserts. We took that time to write 5 things we are thankful for on each of the fingers of the construction paper hands.

Collectively we thank God for...

Family and friends in Sudan and in America
The Thanksgiving feast
Cool nights and rain
Every living creature
God's patience
Games including Bananagrams, Dutch Blitz, and Settlers of Catan
Singing and laughing
Paradoxes of the Kingdom of God
The gift of life
God's provision
Jesus Christ who died on a cross for our sins
Beauty in Nature
Cold showers
God's blessings
For the opportunity to study at a school
Differences in people and cultures around the world
A stable marriage at home
God's love for us all

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I Asked the Lord that I Might Grow

We sang this hymn last night during our half night of prayer. The lyrics have been running through my mind all morning.

“I Asked the Lord That I Might Grow”
by John Newton

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.

’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”

Importance of Rest

Living in Sudan over the past year and half, I have grown to see the importance of rest. I am not talking about just physical rest and sleep. After over four months in Mundri, needed emotional and spiritual rest beyond my usual weekly patterns of rest. My thoughts were always scattered and anxiety was building in my heart. It was becoming more difficult to love people and show grace to others as I was increasingly impatient and judgmental. It is so easy for me to fall into patterns of unbelief when things are so crazy in my mind and heart that I am not spending good times in relationship with God.

Praise God because he provided for me to go to Arua, Uganda for a week or spiritual renewal and rest. I spent the week at the beautiful home of a missionary couple we know well. I read books, prayed, journaled, took naps, and had good conversations with Heather and David. At the end of the week, I was ready and excited to get back to Mundri.

Things are in full swing here in Mundri. We are celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow with many of our Sudanese friends. The kitchen will be a flurry of activity as we take turns using our one small oven until we serve the food. Saturday we will be gathering with many members of the Hai Salaam community and the water office staff for prayers and to dedicate the water project in the name of Jesus Christ. Our Sudanese friends are registering to vote in the referendum at locations all around Mundri. We may even be replacing the hand pump at Bishop Ngalamu Theological College with a solar powered submersible pump this Friday. John has been working hard with a team of Sudanese men to get this project completed.

Looking at the calendar today, I was struck by the fact that I will be leaving Sudan in less than six weeks. This also means that the referendum for independence is scheduled to happen in about seven weeks. Please pray for peace and justice in Sudan. Pray for us as we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with our Sudanese friends.

If you are looking for a book to read over the holiday season, here are few books I have read since I arrived in Sudan that I would recommend.

When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett
King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild
What is the What by Dave Eggers
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell