Meet Samuel and Deborah Maciek!
We thought we'd take the opportunity to introduce you to the pastor who we were led to on our original trip to Sudan. He and his wife, Deborah, had been praying and waiting for an opportunity to begin a local church independent of the Anglican church in Cueibet. Samuel was a chaplain in the SPLA during the Second Sudanese Civil War and has had some remarkable experiences.
When Tim, Jason and Tiffany went on their first trip at the urging of the Sudanese diaspora, they didn't know who they were going to run into. However, they specifically had direction through much fasting and prayer that they would go there and find a "man of peace."
Initially, they were met with a cold stare across the desk of Governor Akot. However, as they told their story and all of the things that led them there, the governor began to finish their sentences. They shortly discovered they were of one accord.
The next couple of weeks saw the Americans being ferried around Cueibet County (where the governor and the KC Sudanese were from) and treated to much hospitality. After a few days, they were at a gathering for peace talks between two sub-tribes of the Gok Dinka. These two factions had been fighting for almost 40 years, killing each other in cold blood. Jason and Tim found themselves suddenly being called to the microphone to speak to the crowds. Next thing they knew, Tim was being referred to as the man who brought peace between the Pan-dut and Pan-awar!
It was there that Samuel Maciek approached the three and said "I'm the man you're looking for." They hadn't made any announcements, and most were oblivious to why they were really there. As they spent the next couple of days meeting with Samuel, they realized that this appointment was divine. Samuel was trained by Far-Reaching Ministries in Nimule and has a degree in Chaplaincy. He was working as a Payam Administrator (kind of like a County Commisioner) at the time- a highly respected position. Samuel is revered by the local people despite what the Americans came to find out about him.
Samuel's last name, Maciek, means "deformed one." Though Samuel had been in a respected government position, he had lived with the stigma of not being able to have children. This is a huge deal in the Gok community, as having children is a measure of what kind of man you are. Initially, he asked for Tim and Jason before they left to pray for him and his wife, that they might conceive. At the time, Tim and Jason had no idea what his situation was or what his last name meant. So they prayed. Deborah conceived within 10 days.
It was only during the next visit that Tim and Jason found out about his not being able to have children for years. "If we had known the full extent of his situation, we might not have had the faith to pray for it."
Samuel and Deborah are now the happy parents of two beautiful children, Grace and Emmanuel. They shepherd Chumnyiel Lighthouse Church, where we visit. They are an amazing group of people and we can't wait to be with them this January.
The time draws near. We still need your help in the form of prayer and finances. Invest in an awesome group of people through a group of people that you know here. Thanks and have a happy Thanksgiving!!