Sunday, 26 August 2012

Bible Study ROCKS!

Some of the group before Bible Study.

It is Saturday.  Bible study day.

It doesn’t usually start to rain until the afternoon, but this morning we woke up and found the ground covered with wet “foot fungus” dew and rain clouds looming overhead, threatening to soon pour forth their unwanted blessings. 

Our group decided to share a meal together the forth Saturday of each month, in addition to studying God’s Word.  This was to be our first such meeting.  Each member of the small group volunteered to share in the meal’s responsibilities.  Some would bring firewood for cooking, others greens, salt, beans or cooking oil.  Others brought flour for bread, while still others were in charge of the cooking.  The hope was for everyone to share in not only the meal, but the preparation itself. 

I walked out into the pouring rain down the little trail, which by now was a flowing steam leading to where the Bible Study meal was to be held.  I had a bucket on my head full of dishes and chai.

Marafu and Lokulong each carried their own heavy loads of firewood. 
 Here in Didinga men do not carry firewood.  It is beneath them.  Yet, here two coming of age men not only carried firewood, but carried it through the pouring rain.
These two good guys sat down and for the next three hours cut wild greens, fanned the fire and helped prepare the day’s meal. 

Slowly the whole group started to gather around the cooking fire.  All of the cooking supplies were accounted for, as everyone was faithful to their promises. 

The menu was worked out last week – bread, a very special treat here in Didinga was to be prepared.  Little did we know that it would take eight hours to bake over the open fire.  The group was patient and several of those hours were spent happily singing along with my guitar, talking and laughing together.

Around 4pm, three hours later than expected, we finally prayed and ate the long awaited and only meal of the day.  It was fantastic!  We ate until our bellies bulged, until we couldn’t eat anymore.

Marafo pretending to be Bob Marley on the guitar.

Cooking the bread over the open fire.

This group is the best!

The guys playing around under mama Miriam's watchful eyes.


The long awaited bread!
And then… the study began.

First of all, we should tell you that this study took us one full day and another full morning to plan.  We are studying Genesis 3, the fall of man.  Of course, we have studied this portion of the Bible in the past, however we continue to be incredibly amazed, challenged and moved by its depth and beauty.  The Word is alive and we have been blessed in this process of sharing it here.  

Even though there were three languages being spoken yesterday at the study, a deep and obvious understanding was present.  We were together.  We were close. 

While reviewing the many ways that Satan masquerades himself we asked the group for examples of Satan’s disguises.  Boy did we get some responses…

In real Didinga fashion, with everyone talking at once, seeming to aggressively yell at one another, stories of witchcraft, drinking and friends encouraging sacrifices to the spirits were shared.

Even though the hour was late, and most of us had been there for more than six hours, no one was rushing or wanting to go.  In fact, others who happened to be passing by, sat down, empathically joined in the conversation or listened from afar.  Babies nursed, toddlers ate and played at our feet.  The bread continued to cook.

The lesson ended with a discussion of God’s great grace and mercy.  We spoke of God’s never ending call to those in hiding, of His clothing Adam and Eve therefore covering their shame, His protection from the Tree of Life and the promise of a Deliverer.  

Once our teaching was finished Marafo instructed us all to stand up, move back our chairs and dance.  And we did!  We sang song after Didinga praise song and danced and laughed together.  It was beautiful. 

We just walked home through the damp, “fungus feet” grass.  The sun set hours and hours ago.  Once we put down our things, Kim and I turned to each other and immediately started giggling, hopping up and down, dancing, hugging and praising God. 

Living in Didinga is not always so easy.  The romance is pretty much gone.  It can often be extremely lonely and frustrating.  There are times that we feel as though we are wasting our time, fruit is so rarely seen.  The daily disappointments and the plum monotonous hardwork, are rarely the stuff those enticing missionary novels are made up of.  There are times we even wonder what in the world God has us doing here.

And then, there are days like today.

Give us monotony, loneliness, misunderstandings and frustrations, if God wills it. 

It is worth it! 

Tonight we go to sleep peacefully with a deep joy this world, even with all of its many jewels, could never offer.  We are happy.  We are blessed to serve here in Didinga.

Thank you for praying!
  • We praise God for answered Bible study prayers, His encouraging us with His obvious presence and for the amazing work He is doing here in Didinga.
  • We leave for our scheduled timeout of Didinga this coming Saturday.  We are thanking God that the group still desires to meet in our absence.  Pray for continued momentum.
  • Please, please, please continue to pray as we wholeheartedly believe this Bible study’s life is dependent upon prayer.  Thank you for serving beside us!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

-Just another day in Paradise.

Often when I am discouraged or feeling overwhelmed I go for a walk, sometimes I pray, other times I am just silent and breathe in the air and look. Silence, can wake up the noisy soul more then scores of sermons.  I look at the towering mountains and fields ready for planting; I see deep green grass blanketing the earth and wildflowers playfully moving with the wind. I look up at the turquoise sky tinged with the majestic crimson of the sun. God’s creation busting forth in a love song and seeming to shout tenderly “He is good, He is loving, He is real!” I encourage you today to take a walk and enjoy Gods presence. 


Sunday, 5 August 2012

Bible Study Begins!

 Preparing the lesson beforehand.
Talking about the Sovereignty of God through Creation
 Since April Kim and I have been praying intentionally and planning carefully for a weekly Chronological Bible Study.

Two weeks ago, with fear and great anticipation, while constantly reminding ourselves that the study is not ours, but God’s alone, we began what will be a 35 week journey through the Bible.

Our hope is to build a firm foundation through the Bible, which will highlight God’s character, giving a clear understanding of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.  We believe that God’s Word is powerful and will not return void.  We pray that God will use this study to transform Didinga lives for His glory.

Please join us in praying for God’s will to be carried out through this small fellowship:

  • Translator - There are 3 different languages currently represented in the group – Didinga, Juba Arabic and English.  Mirium, a faithful old mama, is an Arabic only speaker.  This could present a communication problem in the future, as Kim and I do not speak Arabic.  So far, God has provided capable translators.  Please continue to pray for this provision.
  • Hungry Hearts – Currently there are seven people coming to the study.  Please pray that they would be faithful in attendance, committed to learning and sharing freely both their burdens and joys and that their hearts would desire God and His Word above all else.
  • Communication – Pray that Kim and I would present the Gospel in a clear and culturally relevant manner.  Pray that we would have wisdom and not be blinded by our own culture and that we would never compromise God’s Truth for own or other’s artificial comfort, but rather cling to Truth in love.
  • Give Thanks – We thank God for this opportunity to share His Word with the Didinga people.  We have been greatly encouraged these past two weeks in our ministry through this study. 

God is faithful!  God is so very good!