Many people have told me about this “dry season” and now it is here. And it’s just like they described it: hot, dry and dusty. Other than that, I will also fill you in on my future plans. It’s really exciting, so keep on reading.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” [Jeremiah 17:7-8, NIV]
The other day, I read this passage in Jeremiah and it was just very fitting in this time. I came to South Sudan and everything was green. Super green. Everything was just growing so fast and flourishing. But now that the rains have stopped and the heat has come, you can really tell which tree has roots deep down and which plants are just collecting water on the surface.
God tells us to be planted by the water, or if not possible, to have deep roots. We need to be connected to other believers, get good input, read God’s word, be nourished all the time. Because if not, we will wither, our faith will fade, we will become tired and sluggish. There will be challenges and struggles in life, obviously. But there is a source of joy that will not run dry: Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us seek Him at all times. Let us build deep roots to him, the living water.
Not so dry ground
Dry season has come. It started mid-December, but is now at its peak. The mornings are fairly cool (25°C / 77°F), but at 9:00am we reach 30°C / 86°F and at 12:00pm we’re at 40°C / 104°F. And that’s in the shade of course. I would guess we get 50°C / 122°F and more in the sun. The color green has almost completely disappeared and all you can see is brown dirt. The wind picks up dust and so you find yourself regularly in a cloud of sand. It is a harsh environment and even for me who loves the heat, it is challenging.
Yet to speak metaphorically, the ground is not as dry here in South Sudan. I got to spend lots of time in the community this month and got to see the fruit of many missionaries before me and the strong church in South Sudan. The youth in my church has such a fire for Jesus and is hungry for God’s Word. I love the bible study on Thursday afternoons. They have great discussions and in the end are always trying to apply it into their lives. I also have many great moments and chats with good friends of my youth. We get to talk, speak about challenges in our lives and pray with each other. I’m so thankful for these friendships and praise God for how he has worked in this town!
One afternoon after our team meeting, I met my neighbor and got to sit down with him and talk. After some time, we were talking about Jesus and faith and I was able to speak some truth into his life. He has 3 children and is a very nice guy, trying hard to care for his family. But he also struggles with alcoholism. Let us pray for him that somehow God would change his heart and give him the strength to withstand this temptation. Pray that he would be a good husband to his wife and father and role model to his children. Pray that he and his family would get to know Christ.
The metaphorical ground is not so dry here in Torit. Praise God! He is working in this place and I get to witness it. It is a blessing to be here and encourage my brothers and sisters, but also to speak truth into lives who are not yet with our Lord.
This one year Inbound-Team will finish on July 17th, which raises the question: What’s next? As I’ve mentioned before, I really love Lopit (tribe) and could see myself moving there. What was initially just an idea is becoming more and more reality. But there is more! When this team is done, I will come back to Germany for about 4 weeks. Wait what?? Yes, I’m so excited to have this opportunity to go back, see my family and friends and also attend 2 weddings. This will be my vacation, so unfortunately I won’t have the time to meet up with all of you .. :) I will do a presentation in my church (specifics will be sent out further down the road), where we can have a chat. I might also make a list of times I will be able to meet up, so you can “book a time slot”. Otherwise I won’t be able to rest and will enter my new job stressed out, thanks for understanding :)
Mid-August I will then return back to South Sudan and will be part of a new outreach team to Lopit. I will live in a village called Iboni (in case you want to look it up on Google Maps), the village I’ve already stayed in for two weeks. My future team will be absolutely amazing and I’m already super excited to be part of that! Once I’m there, I will start with learning language and building relationships, as this is key. But after some time, I’m planning to do 40% media work (photography, videography, storytelling) within South Sudan and then also 60% of other missional work. This might be a sports ministry, teaching at the primary school (until grade 8) and bible studies. We will see. We’re still in the planning, but I’m already super excited to see where God will lead me and what I will be doing. How long I will be staying in the village, I don’t know yet. It will be until God calls me elsewhere. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out, I’d love to answer them.
In 3 weeks we will be going to another tribe and mountain range called Laarim here in South Sudan to see their ministry and get an idea of that place. I’m looking forward to that vision trip and to see another part of this country. We will learn a bit of the language, learn about the culture and get to see how the team does ministry. Other than that, I get to preach this coming Sunday. This will be my first time preaching in Juba-Arabic and I’m super excited.
I hope you enjoyed both the looking back of this month and the outlook on the next months / years. May God be with you and bless you!