Sunday, 28 December 2014

Student of the week.


Locorro is all rascally boy! Every day he wears a green button down shirt, which having long lost its buttons, exposes his bare belly and chest. That, along with his simple cotton pants, raggedly cut off just below his knees, seems to fit his wild, free and Huckleberry Finn personality.

 Locorro is a leader. He is loud, REALLY loud and determined.  He is outgoing, talkative and competitive! He's the commander and disciplinarian of the boys and really most of the class. He tries to be good and always obeys me when I ask him to run around the building for misbehaving...which is a fair amount of the time. :) He does well in school and comes regularly. He definitely adds a lot of chaos in the school day, wouldn't be school without him.

Pray that Locorro would come to know Jesus.
Pray he would use his leadership skills for encouraging others to do what is right.
Pray I would know the best way to love and encourage him every day.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

A Bankrupt Heart.

A few weeks ago I was having a particularly rough day. Like everything that could possibly go wrong was indeed going worse! Listen, living amongst an unreached people group can be hard. You see sin all around you. I mean really presumptuous, evil and cruel people and it's hard. It's hard being surrounded by so few believers. It's difficult working in an area for three years and not seeing much fruit from your labors. (But hey, I'm not complaining...yeah, okay I am.)

I sat looking into the eyes of one of my ten year old students who had a smirk on his face after hitting one of his fellow classmates. He kept saying disrespectful things and my anger kept rising.

Finally, I grabbed him by the shoulders, looked down, not even able to look him in the eyes and said, "Dang you..."except it wasn't dang, it was the other word, the one with a mn at the end.

Yep, I'm a missionary and I cursed at a ten year old. He didn't know what I was saying, he doesn't know English, though I'm certain he could tell I was angry. The moment I said it tears started to fill my eyes, not because I said the curse word but because at that moment that was exactly what I meant.

"Go to hell, I don't really care anymore. "

Wow, I might just be the worse missionary ever.

For the following week, every morning I woke up and stared at my grass thatched ceiling with this sad overwhelming feeling.

I don't love Didinga people.

I've nothing to offer anymore.

I am spiritually bankrupt.

Last week I heard a sermon on the parable about the man, who in the middle of the night had a visitor. He didn't have bread to feed this guest and so he went over to his neighbor and knocked at his door. "I have a visitor, please give me bread." The neighbor had already bolted his door and was in bed with all his children and told the man to go away. Yet, the man was persistent and knocked harder and harder. "Give me bread, you MUST give me bread!" He had a visitor and had nothing to offer, he NEEDED bread! Eventually because of the man's tenacity, boldness and annoyance, his neighbor got up and gave him what he asked for. (See Luke 11:5-13)

Jesus used this parable as an example of asking God for His Holy Spirit, which when asked for He promises to give.

He says,

"   If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" Luke 11:11

I am bankrupt.

I used to think that ministering to others was more like me coming to God with my debt of $200 dollars. I put forth my $2.50 and ask Him to spot me the $197.50. Now I see that in actuality I don't have ANYTHING!!! Without God's Spirit, I am very presumptuous, evil and cruel.

I need bread...because I have none to offer of my own.

I need God's love for Didinga, I need God's love for people, because, as much as I'd like to pretend I'm bursting at the seams with it... I'm not. This I know, God loves Didinga, He loves them so much He sent His son to die for them, for us sinners! I need that kind of love!

I've been thinking about the story where Jesus goes to Peter, James and John after they had worked hard all night and caught nothing. Jesus tells them to throw out their nets into the sea and try again. Peter proceeds to tell Jesus how they had fished all night but, because Jesus said so, they would do it. Of course as the story goes, the moment their nets hit the water thousands of fish jumped into their nets until the boats almost sank.

Then, Jesus tells them that from then on they where going to catch men. (See Luke 5:1-11)

For the first time, while reading this story I asked myself the question... So, who caught all those fish, the disciples or Jesus?
Seems a ridiculous question to ask with such an obvious answer.

I mean, the fish were in the disciples' boats and they were caught using their nets, but it was Jesus who caught these fish!!!

I can't help but link the parallel in catching men. Perhaps this was a part of what Jesus was teaching them in this miracle? That catching men would only be possible by the power of God. Not in their own strength. Their own strength caught them nothing all night.

I'm gonna be honest, sometimes in life and ministry I feel pretty worthless. It's like I've fished all night and caught nothing. I mean, I've worked hard. Really hard! I can get frustrated. I was trained for this! I'm a pastor's kid; I went to Bible school; for goodness sake I'm a missionary!!!!!

But really, I am nothing. Without His Spirit, I am nothing but a well mannered sinner.

So today (and by God's GOD'S grace), everyday and most likely at various points of the day, I'm going to be asking for bread (His Spirit).

And since it is Jesus who tells me to put down my nets again...I will, because He catches fish. Oh yes, He catches evil, presumptuous and cruel people and transforms them by His Spirit!

We are spiritually bankrupt, but by God's divine power He has given us everything we need for life and godliness. ( 2 Peter 1:3)

Zec 4:6; Then he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts."

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Student of the Week: Sarafina

Sarafina has a gentle and kind spirit. There is something about her that brings calm and order wherever she goes. When she first started school, three months ago, she couldn't put the numbers one through three in order and didn't even know how to hold a pencil. Now, she not only can write numbers one through twenty she is also on her way to reading!

Sarafina is quiet, and never finds the need to draw attention to herself, yet she is always sure to give me a firm handshake and a little smile every day after's like our thing. Yeah, she's definitely one of my favorites. I am very thankful for Sarafina and the quiet gentleness she brings to each day.

Pray for Sarafina.
Pray she sees Gods, kindness and love toward her.
Pray she seeks for truth with all her heart and grows in it.
Pray she continues to come to school and enjoys learning.
Pray she goes to God with all her troubles and problems and finds Him, as he truly is, faithful.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Student of the week: Sunday.


 Sunday is tall and skinny and often has her hands on her hips with a big smile. She is extremely dramatic and easy to read with her responsive facial expressions. The hardest school rule for her is to whisper...she can't. She'll often loudly ask or say something, quickly put her hand over her mouth, and say it again in a sort of whisper, but so dramatically that she might as well yell. She's has a loud boisterous laugh, is liked by all and brings much joy to the classroom.

Pray she would come to know and believe in Jesus. 
Pray she would be a bold witness for Christ
Pray Sunday would have good, encouraging friends that would band together and live for Jesus. 
Pray Sunday would know the joy of The Lord and delight in Him! 

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Student of the Week: SKYE


Skye is that student that copies everything I do and is very eager to please. Never missing a day, she is always at school or waiting for me at my house an hour before school even begins. Her eyes brighten with any compliment or praise as a wide smile spreads over her entire face. She is often raising her hand so I can look at her work and say "good job," to which she wiggles in delight.

 if I show even the slightest displeasure or correction, a look of complete doom covers her face! Skye is a student I can count on to do what I ask. She patiently listens to me and often helps me when I'm struggling for words and explanations in Didinga. She's one of my favorite students!

Pray Skye comes to know Gods' love for her! 

Skye's father died when she was young, pray she knows God as Father and believes in His love and delight in her. 

Pray her character is not wholly shaped by others, but that she would find her confidence and security in Christ.

Monday, 28 July 2014


Sometimes I struggle with discouragement. I feel frustrated that the people I
work so hard to disciple still constantly make poor choices and don't follow
Christ! I feel like there's a basket of bountiful fruit one moment but then you
realize one piece is rotten and the next thing you know the whole bunch is
inedible, and you feel like your time's been wasted and you have to start all
over again!

Don't get me wrong, I have a burden for these people! There's a deep sadness
and a pulling of the Spirit of God for the old woman in Tuba (a village west of
us) and the children with charms and bells on their feet to ward away evil
spirits in Thuguru (a village east of us), for my friend Fakira who lives next
door, and the pounding feet dancing away outside my hut even as I write!
Okay, I'm getting off track...

This story is about a monkey and about how God can use the every day
happenings to penetrate profound lessons into our hearts.
I was feeling especially discouraged one morning. It was one of those days in
which all I wanted to do was curl up on my bed and eat imaginary chocolate
and cry. Unfortunately, it was also one of those days where there was a list of
things that needed to be done, so I got up and began to accomplish my 'to do'

Suddenly, I heard a commotion. A group of children were playing, or rather
abusing, a baby monkey. I don't know why the children here like to torture
animals. They are normally sweet children but when it comes to animals they
burn them, tease them, pull their tails and enjoy the reaction they get from the
poor creatures. It. Makes. Me. Angry! I've been known to raise a child to level
of the eyes and say, "How would you like it if I treated you the way you're
treating that puppy!" I told them to "leave the monkey alone!" One of the boys
picked up the almost now limp baby monkey and brought it over to me and
dropped it into my hands. "It's yours! " he said as he giggled and ran off to play
soccer with the other hooligans.
 So here I was with a whimpering, adorable, little baby in my hands. There was
only ONE thing I could do... claim her as my very own! (Hey, I have a pet
monkey, how cool is that!!!)

After asking some questions I found out that this particular monkey (a Red
Patus) lived in the lower lands, a pretty far distance from Nagishot. Some men
had shot her mother and carried the monkey for three days, during which time
the little thing didn't get any food or water. :( Upon finding a group of boys,
they left her with them and continued their journey. The boys pulled her tail and
threw her back and forth between them until I came out and yelled at them.
After hearing this sad story of the poor monkey and the cruelty of people, I
named her ChaLee. A word sandwiched from two Didinga words. The first
being Chaman. (Happy/joy) and 'ah Leelee' meaning (sad/anger/sorrow) and
just like that, I had a pet monkey who I pretty much adored! But it was more
than that, I felt like ChaLee was a gift from God. She was a little bit of my own
Giligins Island, right here in South Sudan!

Within a few days ChaLee was a normal screaming, disease carrying, food
gobbling delight! Well, I thought so anyway but before I took on this monkey, I
forgot to do some very important missionary things. 1: Pray. I didn't pray. (Not
very missionary of me) 2. I didn't ask my fellow missionaries if they would mind
me having a screaming baby who would one day turn into a living terror. (Not
very considerate of me) 3: I had NO clue the amount of work and attention a
baby monkey required. (I'm not ready to become a mommy!) I was up every
night with my baby monkey every few hours giving her food, singing her 'rock a
bye monkey' and somehow in the day still trying to keep up with teaching,
chores, Bible study, meals etc. My attention became divided and my eyes had
dark circles under them. My fellow missionaries shook their heads as ChaLee
screamed through dinner times and I would smile at them sheepishly.
She took a lot of time, she was a sleep deterrent, and was a distraction to
ministry. Yet, I was reminded that God has placed so many wonderful things in
this world to enjoy, many gifts and these things can either be just a distraction
from my ministry or they can be the very avenue to which my ministry has it's
greatest value. Even though the monkey seemed at first to be a distraction to
ministry, I determined to make it an opportunity be a faithful example of how to
be kind and a good steward with whatever dropped in my path.

It was a surprise that the monkey lived through her first day, let alone the next 
two weeks. She had days on which she was rambunctious and screaming and 
days where she seemed lethargic and sad. I wondered nervously if she would 
live. I sometimes left her outside on her own when it was sunny. She was very 
good about staying close. Well, one day I fell asleep in my hut for about thirty 
minutes and when I came out, she was nowhere to be found. I began to call 
her and I went searching.

Then the clouds above became darker and the wind started to blow. I was 
panicked. My monkey was out in the rain and I couldn't find her! She would be 
cold! She could die! My neighbor heard me yelling, and she came coming out of her hut to help me by screaming 'ChaLee!' The woman was flaming drunk. She did look half concerned, but the other half was giggling while stumbling and grabbing my 
hand for support. I started asking around the area until one boy confessed that 
the monkey had been stolen and was about a half of a mile down the path. 

I was fuming mad and thankful for the long walk to where the monkey was said 
to be. I knew the monkey would have been handled roughly, and anger toward 
the whole Didinga tribe rose up in me! "I'm so done with the Didinga!!!!! " I fumed in my mind. "I'm just going to leave these mountains and tell them 'that's what you get for stealing my monkey!' That will show them!"

I'm ashamed for how shallow my love was at that moment. I placed a monkey 
and my hurt feelings over a whole tribe of people who don't know Christ. 
Thankfully, I realized this before I happened to pass a hut where I heard the 
frantic screams of ChaLee. She had escaped her captors and ran to a nearby 
hut and was crawling up the grass roof. I was able to get her down and hold 
her poor little trembling body. The woman of the hut felt terrible for what the 
boys had done and offered many apologies. 

I walked home with the monkey in my hands and my drunk neighbor hanging 
on my arm, telling me that my monkey would now die and that I must give it 
breast milk and that I owed her soap for all the help she gave in finding the 
monkey. I ended up giving her a little soap (since my monkey did spoil her 
clothes) but rejected her other suggestions. ;)

ChaLee seemed content to be in my arms for the rest of the evening and fellow
missionaries took turns holding her. She seemed to perk up that night and ate
and drank. I was encouraged and thought she might be alright. I wrapped her
in a blanket and placed her next to me as I slept. I awoke around 4:00 A.M.
from her little cry and realized her breathing was shallow. I hoped she would
live and yet if not, I prayed that God would let her die quickly. Within the next
30 minutes she died.
I sat there in the early hours of the morning thinking about creation and
suffering and death; the effects of man's sin. I began to long to see the creation
around us redeemed. I began to long even more to see the Didinga redeemed.
Oh, that they might be freed from sin and bondage to know joy and peace! I
began to think about Jonah and his little plant whose shade he cared more
about than the millions of people who didn't know their right hand from their left
in Ninivah, and I began to see how my love needed to grow for the Didinga

I buried my little monkey in a small nearby forest in the drizzling rain. I laid her
gently in the ground, wrapped in her little blanket and I went on with the day's
activities, but it left me with so many thoughts.

 I know this seems like a sad story, but I am very thankful for my little monkey.
She was like a precious gift from God that taught some very important lessons I needed
to learn. She taught me about faithfulness to everything your hand finds, about
a love for people that does not alter when hurt, about letting things go because
love is an action best shown amidst adversity. And one day....not even creation will suffer the effects of our sin.

"There we shall make songs out of our sighs and music out of our
mourning...only let us be patient."
Charles Spurgeon.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Student of the Week: Amani.


I have thirty-nine students. They aren't just children that I see between the hours of nine to one. They are a constant part of my life throughout the day. I love these guys! I've decided to highlight one student a week, so as to introduce them to you as well as encourage you to pray for them with me!


Amani is Linda's little sister. Amani tries very hard at school and because of this is doing quite well and is ahead of the other children her age. She is very grown up and mature and comes to school regularly and on time, with her book and pencil in hand. She takes learning very seriously and tells the other children to 'quiet down' if they are misbehaving. 

Pray she would long for truth.
Pray she comes to know God.
Pray she seeks for opportunities to hear about Jesus.
Pray she would believe in Jesus Jesus' work on the cross for her and that she would grow and not lose heart.

Thursday, 17 July 2014


I have thirty-nine students. They're not just children I see during school hours, they are a constant part of my life throughout the day. They bring frustration, joy, laughter, craziness and encouragement. I love these guys! I have decided to highlight one student a week, so as to introduce them to you, in hopes that you will join me in prayer for each one. :) 

Linda is one of six children in her family and is a natural little mother; often taking care of her younger siblings or other youngsters. She has the best penmanship in the class and has an eye for art. I often find her doodling random little things on the side of her homework. She is a sweetie and has a soft and creative spirit.  

Please Pray that Linda would hear, listen and respond to Gods word. 
Pray She would use her gifts for Him
Pray she would see the Love of Jesus in believers actions and words and become a true follower of Jesus and know His love for her. 

Monday, 23 June 2014

Pet Names and Puppy Tails.

Sometimes it's the littlest things that bring the most pleasure! One of our compound dogs had six puppies a month ago. Now, there are six little tails wagging at me everyday as I come back from school and play with the little pups. Sadly, soon I will have to find them their own Didinga homes, as my budget does not allow for six hungry mouths.

The Didinga people often don't name their animals, so I decided to do them a favor and name them for them (Aren't I the best). Just imagine these names being called all over the village. ;)

Ladies and fellow, I introduce to you the puppies...



Honey Bear.


Zazzels. "Zazy"


Just ONE of the things that makes living in Didinga pretty great! 

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Songs for the Dead.

Hopelessness.That is what I saw in the eyes of the women as the wailing sounds surrounded me. Marta was the local witch doctor in Nagishot; A woman whose very face invoked pity. She was childless (a very shameful thing in this culture) she was an alcoholic falling down hurting herself or burning herself in the fire. she was crippled, often crawling to reach places she wanted to go. Covered in scars and burns from her witchcraft practice, Marta was lost and Marta was alone and now, Marta was dead.

 When someone dies in Didinga there are many rituals that must me be observed; Like the beating and eventual killing of a goat to insure the spirit of the deceased does not return to do evil.

 For a typical Didinga funeral, everyone comes and sits on mats and mourns together for their friend or family member. The grieving is often done in song. Wailing songs about how the person died and calling out the name of the dead in high pitched minor notes, that sometimes make me shiver in their eeriness.

 The night before Marta died, I woke up around three in the morning with her heavily on my mind. I had heard she had suddenly fallen sick just that afternoon yet by the time I reached the clinic they had already sent her home and so I decided to visit her the next morning. This wasn't the first time Marta was sick, I guess I assumed it wouldn't be the last.

 I lay there in my bed praying for Marta and debating if I should go to her house in the middle of the night, as she seemed so heavy my heart. I didn't go. Even though I've been a follower of Jesus for some time, I am still learning to know the difference between the Lords prodding and my own. Oh, for a listening heart!

 I prayed for Marta until I drifted back to sleep. The next morning she died and so I went to her funeral and sat surrounded by friends as they sang their songs for the dead.   

My head hurt and my heart ached with sadness as the women next to me wailed, "oh Marta, oh Marta! You fell sick and died...oh God, take her to heaven!!!" Someone brought out pictures of Jesus colored with cranes and placed them on the grave, someone else put down some of Marta's charms on the grave. It was a desperate attempt to please whatever god or spirit would listen.

Funerals are not easy in Didinga, yet they are common. Marta was the witch doctor who needed Jesus. Many times she had heard the gospel and had opportunity to respond. Even that last week, before she even fell sick, she was visited by the pastor and given opportunity to hear. Many times I sat with her and talked about Jesus who loved her.

We do not know her heart; perhaps in her last moments she turned and accepted Him who had been pursuing Marta since her birth. 

Marta is gone, but her friends remain. Pray for them, that they would listen and respond to the Good News; that they would have hope; that they would see Jesus. That they would not turn to witchcraft and spirits to save them. Please pray for these precious people! 

Friday, 14 March 2014

Burning the Chaff. Decluttering the Heart

    The sky is full of smoke during the day and at night you can see the crimson flames licking up the weeds and left-over chaff from the wheat. The Didinga are burning their fields. The wheat harvest is done and the beginning of rainy season is upon us! Everyone is in anticipation as they wait for the first rains to fall and for the plowing and planting to begin!


Though the fields look scorched and marred now, because they are burned, within the next 
month of rain the hills will turn green and the soil will be rich with upcoming plants. Burning releases nutrients into the ground, which help revitalize the soil. It’s also a method of brush, tick and weed control. It never ceases to amaze me how fast the flush of green replaces the chard and burnt!

The other night the field next to my hut was being burnedI watched as excited children and teenagers grabbed handfuls of weeds aflame and helped light the field. It was the closest to the 4th of July I've seen in two years! I walked through the burning field and reflected about the things in my life that I can hold on to so tightly. I thought about the necessity of those things being burned away so that new things can grow. I want to be fruitful and full of life. 

Maybe it's unforgiveness, resentment, disappointment, hurt, anger, fear or distrust. Maybe it's something that started out good, but like the wheat, has served it's purpose, gleaned and must now be let go of. Perhaps it's time to let God burn some of your fields too.

So often I'm afraid of being burnt, afraid to take the hand of sorrow or suffering, afraid I'll be made empty and desolate and alone...

Yet, if wheat is not ground it is not useful for tasty bread. 

Unless a sead dies it remains alone. 

And more than anything we can trust God who does the refining because He does so only to brings life afterward. 

"When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine."

Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Journey to South Sudan in Pictures.

After purchasing all of our groceries for the next three months we transported them to the guesthouse via 'boda- boda.'

It was a difficult task to fit luggage, supplies, food and 4 people into one Land Rover!

We were packed REALLY tight for two days on bumpy hot roads.

Crossing the Nile River. 

We saw some baboons chillin' by the Nile.

We had only one casualty flat tire...Too bad the car jack was at the bottom under all the luggage. :) 

Stopping for a bit of tea. 

Looking out the window delighting in God's beautiful creation in Africa!


Getting out to run and stretch the legs. Yep, even in 100 + weather! 

Trudging through rocky roads,(suddenly I want icecream!) trails and fallen trees. 

I was so happy to see the Didinga mountains, knowing I was almost home!

Finally all unpacked and happy to see familiar faces!