In the midst of language learning, veterinarian work, community relationship development and daily life, one of my joys is storying. I love the Word of God. I love the stories that He gives us to grow our faith, our understanding, and our hope in Him. There is nothing more precious to me than being able to open the Word and learn from God. It saddens me to think about all the people who do not have that same opportunity, who do not have access to the Word due to an inability to read or the fact that no one has shared it with them. So I count it among my greatest blessings that I get to share the Word to others.
There is a village called Kassiopus located about 6 kilometers from Nabilituk (where we live). It's a pleasant walk when the rivers aren't flooded or the sun it not too hot. We have been going there once every month for many months to do a spraying project. We spray the animals against ticks. Since four of the most dangerous diseases for cows are tick-born this is an appreciated and important community outreach. Traditionally Tom would wait until the animals were sprayed and then gather the shepherds who remained and share with them a story from God's Word. The people were receptive to the Word but were often distracted by the need to take the cows back out to pasture. Another problem was that this was only reaching the men and not the entire community.
About two months ago, when all of the visitors were still here, the village invited us to go and spend the night in their village. Unfortunately I had a migraine that night and was unable to go. However, I joined them in prayer and rejoiced with them in the reports that came back the next morning. Apparently Simon had the opportunity to share a Bible story with them. As Joshua, the translator, engaged the people in dialogue the conversation continued for hours, the people actively listening to every word. At around midnight, eleven people said that they wanted to become Christ-followers!
For weeks we tried to go back to the village and do follow-up discipleship training, but various factors such as weather, travel schedule and sickness kept getting in the way. We pressed forward with prayer knowing that God was doing something in this village.
When we finally got back to the village Joyce, the woman who hosted the team last time, met us with excitement. An older man sat at the entrance of her hut. "This is my husband!" She excitedly explained, "he has been ill for three years and has not been able to come home during that time, but since you came and prayed, he is getting better! Your prayers have brought him home!" He stood and welcomed us to his home, thanking us for our prayers and for teaching the stories of God. They asked us to share more stories with them.
We have come to realize that this man is an important person in the village; he is the head elder and holds great influence over the decisions that are made in the village. He is also the father to many of the children in the village (I think he may have nine wives), so having him welcome us is a huge blessing. Joyce, being the first wife, also has a place of influence. She has a spirit of joy and interest in spiritual things. She also has the spirit of hospitality and openness.
One of the Biblical principles we find in beginning church planting movements is to look for the person of peace within the community. The person of peace is someone who has a heightened level of spiritual interest, is willing to introduce us to others (takes us deeper into the community than we could go ourselves as outsiders), and is willing to listen/obey the Scriptures. As we look at the community of Kassiopus, we believe that Joyce is that person of peace. We believe that God is already using her to open up doors in this community that we could never have opened on our own. We are praying that we will be able to develop this relationship with her and that through her we may be able to begin a church planting movement in Kassiopus.
Please join us in prayer over this community, over our relationship with Joyce, for wisdom to know how to bring the stories of God to her and the people there, and for a reliable, trust-worthy person to translate for us.
I would love to eventually be able to tell the Bible stories in Ng'Karamojong. Please pray for continued language learning and understanding (it is not easy!!!). I had a wonderful language helper named Christine (loved her!), but she had to return to boarding school and is no longer able to work with me. I am in need of a new language helper that will be faithful and patient with me as I learn. It is a tedious task to teach adults (like me) a new language! Please pray that God will provide the perfect person for me! Language is such a barrier (and I am praying for all the barriers to be knocked down!).
Another difficulty we face in going to Kassiopus on a regular basis is insecurity. In the two months that we have wanted to go, the village has been raided four times. We have tried to arrange over-night visits, but they often have to be canceled due to the insecurity. So why don't we go during the day? Because the people aren't in the village during the day, they scatter to the fields for planting/harvesting, to the pastures with the cattle, to the rivers to gather water etc. One of the great challenges of working with a nomadic people group is that they are not settled into one routine or place. Please pray for wisdom to know how to bridge this difficulty.-Summer
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