In this life, there are so many skills to master, things to learn and experiences to make. Life will never get boring if you stay a life-long learner. It’s been an incredible month of learning and relationship building.
For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. […] (Colossians 1:4-5, NLT)
Paul and Timothy heard of the faith of the Colossians and their love for all of God’s people. They must have been strong believers, role models in faith and full of grace to serve and help people. But how did they get to that point? Were they just more religious? Did they have more self-discipline? Maybe. But verse 5 tells us that their faith in God and their love for people simply came from their confident hope in what is to come. They lived with an ever present awareness of their final destination: heaven. I honestly don’t always have that in mind, but when I do, it changes everything. If I live knowing that my time here is limited, that there many people who will not go to heaven, that one day all the pain suffering is gone, then I will live a totally different life. I will share of my faith whenever possible, I will help and support the poor and broken and I will have joy and confidence in times of suffering and pain. All because I know what awaits me.
Since coming to South Sudan, I have learned lots and lots of new life skills. From washing clothes by hand, cooking on charcoal and mudding a house up to four wheel driving and repairing motorbikes. And yet there so many things I haven’t done and still need to learn. I love learning new things, because through that I discover more and more about myself and the person God has made. It helps me to find true passions and things I should rather give to somebody else :)
This month, I got to help making a grass roof at my friend’s house, kill my first snake, start learning the tribal language Lopit (where I will move soon), replace and bleed brakes on a car and repair a bike by myself. “Ititienu naya kai-kai” is Lopit and means “I’m learning slowly slowly”. Lopit is incredibly more difficult than Juba-Arabic and though I’m gifted in languages, I’m a bit overwhelmed. But I can see progress, “kai-kai” [slowly slowly]. And then my biggest project this month was to fix my future team leader’s bike. The problem here in Africa is to get the right parts. So most of the time, you use what you got and make it work. It definitely enhances your creativity. I learned so much and I’m really happy that it’s fully functioning now and sent off to the village. What are some things you have learned recently? Or what are some things you want to tackle now? Send me a message, I’d love to hear.
A big part of missions and really of life in general is building relationships. Through those projects I also got to know many great people like my language helper A, my fellow believer and mechanic C, a fellow believer and musician D, a tailor and many motorbike suppliers. It’s awesome to know people you can go to for help and just to share the same interests. This is a great basis to share your faith through words and deeds and encourage fellow believers.
I’m especially grateful for D, who lives in the capital and just came over for a visit. It was his first time in our church and I got to talk to him after. We met again and had really deep and encouraging conversations. The beginning of a friendship! He has a passion for missions and studies medicine. Pray that God would continue to provide for him and that God would show him his place in this world where he can serve Him. And I’m thankful for C, a great mechanic and fellow believer. We worked on a car and motorbike together and it was just such a blast. Again, we’re staying in touch, encouraging each other and sharing the same passion. I’m really thankful for my brothers and sisters here in South Sudan!
This week I finally got my motorbike that I had bought from Uganda. This is necessary for my time in the tribe as I will travel to different villages frequently. I’m really excited to try it out and learn more about offroad riding. In 2 weeks I will go to Lopit (tribe) to start building relationships and see what needs to be done on the house and what I might have to buy. I’m really excited to be there again. Pray for a good trip. And then I’m also gonna have a sending service at my church before I leave. What a picture this is that a South Sudanese local church is sending me out as their missionary. I’m so thankful to have a second home base! Pray for really great last 6 weeks here in South Sudan.
God bless you all,