It’s good to be back in South Sudan and after 2 weeks I feel like I have settled in again. But it’s a rough year here … it is the middle of rainy season, but there is no rain … nothing …
“How can I tolerate your merchants who use dishonest scales and weights? […] Your citizens are so used to lying that their tongues can no longer tell the truth. You will eat but never have enough. Your hunger pangs and emptiness will remain. And though you try to save your money, it will come to nothing in the end. You will save a little, but I will give it to those who conquer you. You will plant crops but not harvest them. You will press your olives but not get enough oil to anoint yourselves. You will trample the grapes but get no juice to make your wine.” Micah 6:11-12, 14-15 (NLT)
Over and over again in Scripture, God uses nature - his creation - to call people to repent, often through a lack of rain. (e.g. Jeremiah 17:1-8; 1 Kings 18:41-46) It is dry in Eastern Equatoria, the state I live in South Sudan. Fields are dying, the harvest is little, people are suffering. But the people - especially in the villages - are also holding fast to other gods, bringing sacrifices to “rainmakers” who claim to have the power to bring rain. But nothing … “How can I tolerate …?” God deserves to be solely worshipped, there is no god beside Him. He alone is in control over this world and He alone can bring rain. Our prayer is that people repent and turn back to their Creator. Lord, have mercy on these - your - people! Please pray for South Sudan.
For 5 weeks, I was able to visit family and friends, attend 2 weddings, got engaged and sat either in airplanes or at airports. It’s good to be back in South Sudan. To be honest, it wasn’t easy at first. All the moving around in Germany, traveling for 5 days to South Sudan and having to wait for my team to come back, so I can finally move to Lopit, I was a bit lost at first. What am I supposed to do here?
But God’s plan is perfect! I visited some friends, had a really great time with my colleagues here in Torit, repaired my motorbike and was able to start reading a bit in my mandatory books for this year. But there was more. I was able to go on a trip with a colleague out to Lopit (where I will be staying) to repair a solar system and do some practical work. Being there, I could also have a look at my house, greet my neighbors and drop off some of my stuff. It was a great trip. And tomorrow, I get to go to another tribe to set up another solar system, install a water pump and do some other practical help. God knows why I had to wait these 3 weeks before moving.
Most South Sudanese are farmers. They grow maize, sorghum, ground nuts, sweet potatoes and cassava. And often their harvest is all they have. It’s their only source of income. They have to rely on God’s provision of rain and sun as well as His protection from plagues, insects and thieves. It’s a totally different dependency on God than what I know from the West. This year has been a very difficult one. The first rains came in March, about 1 month early and so everyone started planting. But that lasted only 2 weeks, followed by another drought. The next rains came in May and again lasted just a few weeks. The same thing happened at the end of July .. The fields are dry, the harvest is little and the people suffer … It’s hard to see people who don’t know what next! But it’s also a chance. Especially in the villages, many people worship other gods and bring sacrifices to “rainmakers” who are supposed to bring rain. God deserves our undivided worship, He’s the only one to deserve worship. And He’s the only one responsible for rain! Pray that people would repent and turn to God in this time. And pray for our fellow believers that God would somehow provide for them.
I have another 2 weeks before I move to the village. For one week, I’m going to another tribe with my colleague to do some practical work and then we have a gathering with all missionaries in South Sudan. After that I will move, set up my house and start building relationships. I’m very excited to finally live there and explore what village life is really all about.
I’m again and again overwhelmed by all your support, prayers and encouragement. Thank you! Let me know how you are doing and if I can pray for you.