Monday, March 12, 2012

Home... but still there :-)

Flight home was loooong... but we made it and had great sleep last night. Thank you Lord for the comfort of our homes and love of our friends! How is it that we were born into the comforts of America? A question we have asked many times these last 3 weeks.

Well, we are home, but now we understand Linda Campbell's comment earlier about part of her is still there. (Linda was so loved in Sudan that the school she helped start is named Linda's School in her honor! wow!! Linda, Zavito and Samuel say HI)) Our heart's are tied to those people and those places even as we are home.

We all pray that our, and YOUR, impact in that part of the world has just begun. Our hope is that we all understand better and can network at an even more effective level with CLIDE and CLIS, the organizations in those areas that know what the people need and how to best help them develop independent, sustainable skills and facilities. So little goes SO far toward helping them have access to such basic needs as water, food, gardens, and sanitation. Everyone with a heart for the needy... in the USA or abroad, really must read Jonathan Martin's book, "Giving Wisely." It explains how money can cause bigger problems... or be very helpful for the poor and needy when done right.

Thanks so much for all your prayers. Every step of the trip felt blessed and went smoothly.

And now some pictures...
Jonathan, Debbie and Mark

Saturday, March 10, 2012

our journey home!

Heading home!

Such a whirlwind day today. Needed to start the exams at 7am so we could catch a 10am flight. No electricity... so the light was very marginal! At 9, the exams still weren't completely graded (yes, an hour before the plane was "scheduled" to depart), so we went to our room, grabbed our bags and took the ungraded tests with us. lol (Several students followed us and asked us to come back for graduation. We really got to know these men and women quite well and developed some nice connections.) So we headed out. The road was soooo bumpy that Mark tried to write a score and kept overwriting it to make it clearer, but it just looked like an out of control etch a sketch. haha Hope Director Levi can read the grades. We had to stop for gas.... the car stalled... the driver adjusted cables under the hood... but God prevailed and we made it on time! We now have an 11 hour layover in Entebbe. We leave about 11pm and arrive 8ish in Amsterdam, then on to SFO then PDX!!! a little after 8pm Sunday night. I cannot even express how smooth and powerful these weeks have been. We also are very ready to be home! Your prayers have had us covered.

The concept of Servant Leadership, learning in small groups, playing games to illustrate points and honoring and elevating others is a new concept here. Not so new to all of you, but so appreciated here... both in Karamoja and South Sudan. Both areas have dealt with so much violence, corruption, poverty and pain. (We have a smiling picture of student Aruei who lost his eye when a bullet traveled through his temple and hit his eye. As he says...They see a man without an eye, but tell them I am a HERO! He was a student but is 40ish) Finding Jesus is their hope, joy and comfort. Learning techniques to to lead like Jesus and build meaningful relationships will be life changing. Thank you Good Shepherd for investing in these people. Your financial support of the Global Outreach offering has allowed GSCC to use funds here that are teaching these people that others across the world love them and it is teaching them HOW to continue to bring Godly change to their communities. They have told us continually to tell all of you thank you for your prayers and investment in them. It is fun to see first hand what a difference GSCC is making in this corner of the world for God's people and His growing Kingdom.

Please continue your prayers...
Serving Him with YOU!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Arrival information

The Africa team will Lord willing arrive on Sunday, March 11 at 8:06 PM on Horizon Air from SFO. PRAY for travel mercies and safe arrival. We thank God for what He has accomplished through the ministry of the team in Uganda and South Sudan.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

South Sudan Update # 2

Hi Friends,
Well, one day of teaching left.   This Servant Leadership material, learning in small circles, and the teaching games have connected in a powerful way with the students.  This style and these concepts are foreign to them and they have been very motivated by them.  The activities help make long, hot days fun and they are illustrations of the concepts that help bridge some communication issues.  Thanks Marshall for all your help!

Yesterday, a student, James, with a bright smile and peaceful countenance shared of his escape with his family and the “lost  boys” to a refugee camp in Kenya.   I think it took them 2 months on foot to
get there.  He was about 3 years old.  There was great danger.  They had to travel at dark to not get shot and they had to swim across the Nile River.  (He was put in a floating canoe type thing to cross.)
This was a group of thousands!  Many were eaten by crocodiles or drowned while crossing the Nile.  His family has been in the refugee camp for 17 years.  He worships in a Christian church which must meet outdoors because they have outgrown their building.  Praise the Lord! Even under these circumstances, God has found him and provided theopportunity for him to come to this CLIS 3 year training program. He will take this information back to the refugee camp and use new ideas and skills to spread the gospel.  Such an inspiration.  His hopes are that there will be peace in his original hometown north of here soon so he and his family can return to their property and plant a church.  James is a wonderful Christian man.   Such faith… he seems so peaceful and happy… God’s peace which surpasses all understanding.

It is hard to process the emotions we are experiencing here.   It is indescribable. The Director arranged for us to be taken to Yei town today which was fun.  Jonathan says 3 years ago the market was about 1/50th the current size.  Peace has brought hope and increased commerce.  I was exited because we got to have a COLD Coke today. YAY! I have been craving anything cold.  lol That was our first refridgerated anything in over 2 weeks.  It was 96 today.

Please pray for our last day and a half here.  We are excited to start our journery home… especially Jonathan… he is missing his Janie. However, it will be hard to leave in many ways.  We have made many friends and want to see their lives and ministries grow.  You can’t help but fall in love with these people and be inspired by their faith.

We have finals Saturday morning. Then will scurry to the airport for an 11ish flight.  Sounds like a tight timeline, but there is no security or baggage check or boarding passes or lines so it will be
quick.         Love to all from mdj

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

South Sudan Update # 1

Hello Everyone,

Sorry we haven’t been in touch.  There is no internet on the compound where weare teaching.  This message is being kindly delivered to the internet in town by someone else for us.

The students at the CLIS school are pastors and other church leaders whose passion for Christ and to share the good news is inspirational to us.  They are in the third year of their 3 year program.  They spend 3 terms of  4 or 5 weeks here then go home for 3 months.  Students really sacrifice to be here.  They travel by foot, bus, motorcycle and even boat.  One gentleman travelled 17 hours to get here.  He actually had to travel down and across the Nile River.   Two to 3 day travels are common.
The students’ knowledge of the Bible is impressive.  We have a couple guys who can answer in detail, often quoting the book and verse, virtually any question Jonathan can throw at them! 

Please keep praying that our messages on Servant Leadershipare clear and that the students understand the concepts and can bring them back to their churches  and apply them.  They are responding well to learning in small group circles through discussion and are enjoying a variety of learning games/activities that illustrate the lessons. This is a fun way to teach, too. 

Your prayer cover is needed and is felt by each of us.  We have felt well and have handled the conditions better than I would have expected. It has to be your prayers. Despite the 95 degree weather, no AC and 6 - 50 minute sessions of teaching (8am-4:20pm) daily, I’d say we are feeling energized and encouraged by each other and our students as we plan the daily sessions and deliver them.

We have had many amazing African experiences.  The bush surrounding our compound has been burning on the horizon since we arrived. The air is smoky.  Late yesterday afternoon two of the bush fires  headed straight for us! Flames and huge red glow.  These are BIG grass fires.  Bosco obviously has dealt with this before. When it was clear that the fire was near and was headed straight for our property, he calmly went and lit a series of small fires on our fence line andback-burned toward the fire so that it would stop the fire from coming onto our grounds. If the fire spread the wrong way, he would put it out with branches of large leaves.   He also did this to save several grass roofed huts.  The fire came all the way up to 2 sides of the property but caused us no harm.  Truly amazing to experience for us, obviously a part of life for the people of Yei.

Mark delivered a message in Chapel today on discipleship and did great.  Lucky me gets to speak again in Chapel tomorrow.  Marriage is difficult here for many reasons, so marriage will be my topic.  Jonathan speaks Thursday.  Oh man…this is a growing time, but NO is jus tthe wrong answer.  It is nice to have a warning this time.  J

Well, thanks again for joining us here in supporting usthrough prayer.  We will send another update as soon as we can.  We are on this campus until Saturday morning.  Then we begin our journey home…  Although this time has been a blessing, we look forward to being home with YOU.  God Bless each of you!

Monday, March 5, 2012

As we wait to hear from the team continue to PRAY for them as they have started teaching at CLIS in South Sudan. PRAY for health, strength and stamina. PRAY for a great connection between the team and the students.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Leaving Karamoja-

Last night was our last night with our new friends... so bitter sweet to leave. Touched beyond words by tender hugs and pleading eyes... especially Joyce who said, "Please don't forget me." She lives in Karamoli, Dr. Val's village. She is a widow and life is hard but she is filled with Christ's love. Another man, in English I didn't understand without hand motions, wanted me to have a picture of him and me taken... I will have the picture... he will never see it, but he wants us to remember him. He wrote us a note with his name, his wife's and each of his 6 children... and kind words of thanks for us coming. About 70 people attended atleast a few days... so there are so many stories and we took many pictures. I will try again to post them. It was actually really hard to leave. We felt like we were just beginning to make meaningful connections with them. I really can't imagine never seeing them again...

We left on MAF this morning. We were told it was a 9:40am flight. At 9:45 and no plane, Dr. Moses called and was told it was changed to 11:45am. Things do not run as in America. lol We enjoyed a peaceful time at the airport with the 1 other passenger. no baggage ticket... boarding pass. haha The pilot checked us in as we boarded and put our own bags in the plane's luggage compartment. We are now back in Kampala, Uganda and we leave tomorrow at 8am for Yei, Sudan. Fortunately the rain Jonathan kept predicting didn't hit while we were in that small plane!!! It did come, accompanied by thunder and lightening and was a torrential downpour!

And speaking of Jonathan... I know you all know he is fantastic... but you should see him here! He connects with the people, remembers so many of them from prior visits, chats with locals and teaches with analogies and passion that these people are riveted by. God is using him in mighty ways here and Mark and I are learning so much from him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot imagine doing this trip without him here. The culture shock is immense and he brings us right through it and makes it all feel just right.

Well, dinner calls soon and I am in desperate need of a shower... I look like I've been backpacking for a week.

Please pray that God blesses the seeds that were planted in the pastor's hearts last week and grow into mighty change in the people's lives and their community. Also, Monday we begin 5 days of teaching in Sudan. We ask your prayers that we communicate all that God wants us to and that the students come prepared and the message is well received.

Love to all from each of us...
Debbie, Mark and Jonathan