Monday, 5 December 2011

A Quick Note From Me!
Every morning I see a Didinga sunrise and little children come over willing to hear me as I utterly confuse them with my beginner Didinga. I love this place! I have so much to learn! There is so much I just don’t understand about the Didinga people. My team is perfect! Each one is different and already I feel like I have a family here, people to pray with, celebrate with and learn with. School starts in February, so I have only a short few months to learn as much Didinga as possible before I start teaching. Pray with me that I would be diligent to learn as well as have ears to hear how to pronounce things and a mind that remembers. J 

Weak, Weak Kiwagas!

The sun is setting in a beautiful mixture of color behind the clouds, I hear children laughing as I s walk down the foot path to Manuno’s house. I look down at my calloused hands and can’t help but smile. I remember the first day I took this little path to Manuno’s  house. I was going to stay with them for a week to get full immersion into the culture and language I had memorized“Hello” and “what’s that?” in Didiniga. The rest was going to be charades.
The first day we went to work in the fields and after about fifteen minutes Manuno pointed for me to go back and rest. Didinga people have this idea that Kiwagas (White people) are very weak and must rest often. I wanted to get a realistic view of their lives and I didn’t want to be treated like a guest. I lifted my arm and pointed to my muscles and said, “No I am strong, I am from Montana!” Though she doesn’t know a lick of English and wouldn’t know Montana, she smiled and said the equivalent to “Okay.” After hours of weeding in the hot sun I husked corn and then de-cobbed corn, then we put the corn in the sun to dry, then we put the corn into a semi hallow log, then with a long piece of wood raised high above my head I would pound the corn until it turn into flour…After thirty minutes my arms felt like jelly, pride alone was causing me to stand. ”Kadimi Mam” she said as she grabbed my hand and a few jugs …I was so thankful to get away from the poundy thing, I gladly grabbed one of the jugs and followed her. We went down the mountain to the creek, she filled them up then lifted the 40 pound jug on my head…at this point I knew my limitations, I was going to die. “Manuno, I cannot so this, I am weak! REALLY WEAK!” I said again in English, she got the picture…could have beenbecause I was literally falling over. She put the five gallon on my head as we trudged up the hill. By the end of that day my mud hut looked like a castle I slept hard only to wake up and do it all again. Everyday Manuno’s was a new adventure I never knew what the day would hold. I was able get a small view of what it looks like to be a Didinga woman living in Nagishot and more importantly I was able to make a long lasting friend…I am sure you will hear more about Manuno and her children and husband Romio.

Adventures in Thought- A Taste Of What God Is Doing In My Heart.

Living in Nagishot can be hard, no personal space, always wearing a dress, walking everywhere, doing laundry by hand, cooking from scratch, no refrigeration, bathing in a bucket, no one speaking English hence not talking much, filtering water after it’s been taken from a creek or the rain, living in a dark mud hut full of spiders while sleeping soundly to the mice playing around you, bedbugs(little vermin!) and sickness….okay I just told you all the challenging things about living here, there are a lot of good things too and some of them are the things listed above. In all this though, God had been teaching me about faithfulness. Being faithful through and in spite of it all. Passion can flee quickly when you are cold, tiered and miserable. God is calling me to be faithfully passionate to Him and His will. To be faithful, like He is faithful. To wake every morning and be self- motivated to learn Didinga, whether I feel like it or not. Pray for me as I strive to be passionately faithful to God and what He is calling me to do.

O Love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee,
I give the back the life I owe, That in Thine ocean deps its flow may richer fuller be.
O Light that followest all my way, I yield my flickering torche to Thee,
My heart restores its borrowed ray, That in Thy sunshine's blaze its day may brighter, fairer be.
O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to Thee,
I trace the rainbow through the rain, and feel the promise is not vain, that morn shall tearless be.
O Cross that liftest up my head, I dare no ask to fly from Thee,
I lay in dust life's glory dead, and from the ground there blossoms red Life that shall endless be.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Home at Last

              “Are you ready to go?” I looked up to see the smiling pilot standing at the door of the little room operating as the MAF terminal. The small airport was just outside Entebbe, Uganda, and this was the second time I was in the building. Just two days earlier I had brought three months of supplies to the hanger and crawled into a small plane, only to discover that there was a mechanical problem and that we could not fly.  To my great joy, the very next afternoon I was called and told that I would be able to fly on Thursday. So, here I was again, praying that I would be able to fly to Nagishot, South Sudan. After over a month of preparation in Kenya and Uganda and years of God directing, I was anxious to reach my new home.  I gathered my small bag and put away the cup that still held black coffee in it and followed the pilot. “Which one is ours?”  I asked, looking at the thee planes on the strip. The pilot pointed to the smallest, a 205, sitting a little distance away. I couldn't help but smile, this felt hard core missionary. (The Didiga people call it the mosquito and it fits quite well.) As I was climbing over the pilot's seat to get to the passenger side, I looked around the small cabin in great anticipation for the flight ahead. "It can get loud,” the pilot said simply as he handed me some large orange headphones. He prayed for safety and then we were off.

              As soon as we were in the sky I became utterly fascinated with the world underneath me. The rolling hills had so many different shades of green contrasting the red dirt that seem to get darker as it covered the earth. The tall acacia trees hiding the small medal buildings and huts as people went about their day. When we flew over Lake Victoria in all its glory, shimmering blue and silver as it reflected the clouds above it… I drew in a breath as I looked in awe. The hours went on as I continued looking below at all the beauty of God’s creation. We stopped in Juba to get my visa stamped and got a warm “Welcome to South Sudan” in a heavy accent. I grinned as I got back on the “mosquito,”  the next stop was Nagishot…my new home. The closer we to Nagishot the darker the clouds appeared, the small plane struggled through rain and clouds. Finally the pilot turned to me and said, “You see that over there?” His head nodded to a huge mass of dark clouds, then out through the darkness I saw the huge shadows of the Didiga mountains… it was beautiful and frightening! “That is where you are supposed to be…but I might have to drop you in Torit.” My heart sank…Torit.  It could mean still another three day delay from my destination, maybe even longer, since there is no transport except plane or hiking. I looked at the clouds, nodded and said, “Whatever you think” I have waited so long, what’s a few more days I thought.  All I could see around me was darkness, the plane was going up in down in turbulence. The pilot looked at me and asked, “You okay?" I put my thumbs up and looked out the window. In reality I was feeling nauseous and pretty frightened; I looked out the window at the threatening dark sky and I started speaking to God in my heart, “Okay, what if I die? What if I crash and die, then what? Am I not in Your hands even now? Do You not control the wind and the clouds? If I die, is that not even also a part of Your sovereign plan?” “Thank you Father for bringing me here, thank You that I am always in Your hands. It is Your hands that control this plane, and You have all power over demons, satan and this world. I trust You. Do whatever you wish, I am Yours and I trust You …I really do.” Such joy filled my heart that I could have laughed out loud.  Such peace, I felt more secure than the threatening mountains themselves. From that point on I was enjoying the ride but also trying to keep nausea to a minimum.

          “Let’s try to get around these mountains. There might be a way on the other side,” the pilot said. It was only about fifteen minutes later that pilot said without looking at me, “That’s it..”  I looked down at the runway that was really more of a trail on the edge of a ridge. We started down trying to land in the pouring rain, but we were unable to.  Rising up again, he tried from the other direction. Down we came again, this time splashing in the mud and coming to a rumbling stop. The pilot breathed a sigh of relief. I looked out the window and could see two of my teammates, Jonathan and Trey, waving franticly with huge smiles. I came over the seat out of the plane and into the pouring rain. “Welcome home,” where the first words out of Jonathan's mouth, and it really was… I was finally in Nagishot, my home!

Thank you for your prayers! I am here, praise God! I am home, home at last…