Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Last Week in Mundri

I am leaving Mundri one week from today. I have started to say goodbye to friends like Jomima and Silivia (pictured below), and I am sad. It is a going to be a busy week as I visit friends, attend celebrations for the new year, wrap up things at the water projects, and pack up our houses. I am also really excited that I will be seeing my parents in two and half weeks!

Please pray for me this week as I prepare to leave Mundri! Pray that I would have good times with God even in the busyness of this week. Pray for my goodbyes.

Pray for me in the next weeks after I leave Mundri. Pray that I would have time and space to process everything that I am feeling and thinking. Pray for me as I travel from Sudan spending a few days in Uganda and London and then finally arriving in Florida. Pray for me as I transition back to life in the US.

I am keeping this short, but I wanted to quickly share my prayer requests, because I need prayer!

Friday, December 17, 2010


Last night Larissa and I needed to decompress. I had been grading Physics exams all afternoon and Larissa was working on her expense reports, and we were both mentally spent.

Since it was just the two of us for dinner, we scrounged up some leftovers, and then moved into the living room for a pretty perfect roommate relaxation night.

I set up the projector and DVD player, and we put in disc one of the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice.

I sat down to enjoy the movie and finished giving myself a pedicure. There are few things I enjoy more in Sudan than the feeling that my feet are clean. They don't stay that way for long, but it is still worth it, especially with the Shea It Isn't So Foot Cream that Linda brought for us!

About half way through disc one, we paused and decided to bake Andes mint chip cookies together. Yum! We watched the rest of disc one while enjoying warm cookies and cold drinks (milk with ice cubes for Larissa and cold water for me).

Now that it is the morning, Larissa is off to give her Biblical Counseling exam, and I am off to deliver the Physics grades to the secondary school.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Basketball in Mundri!

Basketball makes its Mundri debut!

I'm not sure what to call the whole assembled thing that John and Phil built. Is it a goal, a basket, or a hoop? Whatever it is called, we are very thankful for all the hard work John and Phil put into bringing basketball to Mundri! John was drenched in sweat after digging a hole over a meter deep into the hard Sudanese ground to support the weight of the iron pole and solid mahogany backboard.

We have been playing with the Bishop's children who are in Mundri for their school holidays. After only a few days of practice, Bishop's two teenage sons have already passed my limited basketball skills. =)

Monday, December 13, 2010


During this season of Advent, we have been taking turns preparing an Advent meditation for Sunday evenings. We sing Christmas carols together and light the candles of the Advent wreath. Bethany and Larissa have also been busy in the kitchen baking Advent cookies every week with real butter flown in from Kampala specifically for Christmas.

This Sunday was bittersweet for me for a lot of reasons. We are now a team of four people, and since John and Phil had been our guitar players in Michael's absence for the past several weeks, it was hard to not to miss them. I was also missing the Masso family, Kim, Melissa, and all the voices that have been a part of our Sunday worship in different seasons of our team.

This week I lit the candles in the Advent wreath, and as I was moving around the wreath I was hit hard by the realization that after we light the Christmas candle I will have only a little over a week left in Mundri. The wreath seemed more like a painful reminder of the fact that I will soon be leaving the place I now call home.

As we continue to pray for peace and justice in Sudan in this season of Advent, I was also filled with hope and joy as we sang carols about the Prince of Peace.

O come, Desire of Nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid thou our sad divisions cease,
And be thyself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

During dinner we were listening to Andrew Peterson's album called Behold the Lamb of God: the true tale of the coming of Christ. If you haven't heard it before, I highly recommend you buy the album. I was encouraged especially by the song "Deliver Us" which was inspired by the years silence between Malachi and the New Testament.

"Our sins they are more numerous than all the lambs we slay
These shackles they were made with our own hands
Our toil is our atonement and our freedom yours to give
So Yahweh, break your silence if you can "
~ Deliver Us, Andrew Peterson

Anyway, those are just some of my unrelated thoughts from the third Sunday of Advent. I pray you will all encounter Christ in new and real ways this Advent season!

Okari Church

Bethany and I attend a small church called Okari Sub-Parish Church. It is mud building with a grass roof and mahogany 2x4's as benches. There are strips of African cloth hanging from strings running up and down the church in bright beautiful colors. There are A LOT of kids at church every week. About 80 adults attend most Sundays. Okari is now our church, and we are not considered visitors.

Last Sunday Bethany and I were running a bit behind schedule. Usually we aim to leave on our bikes at around 10:30 realistically leaving at 10:45 to get to church at around 11. We arrived at church last week around 11:15. After we were seated, the pastor paused to tell us the verses for the old testament and new testament readings that we missed. Church was well underway. At Okari church the preaching is usually in Arabic and translated into Moru. I sometimes get a few key words, but usually I don't understand much. I am so thankful for the pastors at Okari, who usually call my name and give a one or two sentence summary of the key point of the sermon in English just for my benefit.

Today Bethany and I were surprised when we arrived at church. Good thing Bethany had learned the Moru word for surprise last week! We actually got to church at 10:55, and there were only two or three people sitting in the church building. Shortly after we sat down in the near empty church, a van filled with young adutls from Mundri showed up. It was the drama team who had come to Okari to perform dramas about HIV/AIDS and about the referendum. Then we saw the Sunday school kids processing towards the main road, and after asking around, we found out the commissioner of Mundri was coming to church today (pictured above). When his car got close, the commissioner got out and walked the rest of the way to church surrounded by all the children singing welcoming songs. We sang several Christmas carols in Moru this week including "I Saw Three Ships", evidence of the long history of British missionaries in Mundri. I didn't understand much of the speeches given by the commissioner and other community leaders, but I did catch that they were encouraging everyone to get radios and listen to the new radio station called Miraya FM which broadcasts in English and Juba Arabic. It has been big news around town for the last several weeks. Church ended like it does every week with everyone lining up outside the church to greet all the other church members by shaking hands, kind of like a receiving line. Bethany and I left before the dramas because we had a team Advent celebration planned for that afternoon.

During the church service, Bethany were surrounded by a group of children who are now pretty comfortable with us. Sometimes children are afraid of us at first. The activity for this weeks church service for several of the young girls was to compare their hands to my hands. They found all my birth marks and freckles and traced patterns between them with their fingers. They were also fascinated by the Japanese fans Bethany and I always bring to church to help us cool down after the bike ride.

That was just a small glimpse of the past two Sundays at Okari Church.

If you see me at a church service in the US, you might convince me to demonstrate the hand shake dance or the hand warming three clap applause which are both typical at church in Mundri.

I am so thankful for Okari church, and I am looking forward to celebrating Christmas with my church family!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Team Blogs

I am so thankful for my teammates in Mundri! You may already be reading all their blogs which are linked to my blog, but I wanted to highlight a couple of recent posts by teammates.

Dedication of the Hai Salaam Water Project:

The Daily Diversion: A look at a typical day in Mundri:

Papparazzi: A photographer visits our team: