Five days to launch. The last few months have been nothing short of wild. There have been so many variables that require immediate action and we have done our best to respond in faith. Truthfully, most of the time faith was the only option. From the inception of this mission we have moved forward as though all our needs were met even when reality said we have no options.
Years ago when we knew we were to go to a remote area in Sudan, find a local man of peace, take him to another country for a year to train him, and then take him back to his people to change his community, we just went- not knowing where the money would come from to fund such a commitment. Needless to say, the mission has been successful. When we met the 9 Gok boys living in the slums of Nairobi in a one-room shanty with no money for food, let alone school fees, we knew we had to intervene. We put them in boarding school by faith alone and to date they have ben sustained. When we found the Land Rover that fit our needs, after fierce negotiations, we wrote a hot check to the car lot and told them we would have the money the following day. The Land Rover is outfitted and en route as we speak. These are just a few of the many situations in which we have seen the hand of God move to help these people.
I was recently given a copy of the personal journal of of a man named Hatashil-Masha-Kathish. He was a Gok Dinka who saw his family killed and was sold into slavery as a young boy. He documents much of his life during his years as a slave and I will not go into the details. He is eventually rescued by British missionaries and taken back to England. He was given the chance to attend school, then college, and eventually became a minister.
Throughout his journal he tells of a longing for his people to be free from the slavery and oppression of the North. His drive for education and passion to know Truth is simply inspiring. He eventually gets the chance to fulfill his dream and go back to Sudan to educate his people both physically and spiritually. Unfortunately after months of travel he and his team were unable to make it back. This took place in 1888 so you can imagine the rough travel and insecurities.
The following is one of his last entries: "The great regret of my life is, that up to the present, no open-door has presented itself by which I may return to my own people-the Dinkas- or any of the adjacent Tribes with whose language I am familiar, to be to them Christ's Ambassador, proclaiming the blessed news of Salvation. At times this saddens my heart. It is not easy to explain to the general public the difficulties that bar the way to the fulfillment of my hearts desire; but those who have followed the course of this narrative will see that these obstacles are real, and that it is not without reason that I say that humanly speaking, my return to the Sudan as a missionary is, at present, impossible."
We were told by Gok Dinka historians that no one has come to them since this time and successfully started an evangelical church. We were also told that by chance the man we found, Samuel Maciek, who had the vision in his heart to help his people, is a direct relative of Hatashil-Masha-Kathish. I cannot express myself well enough to convey how honored we are to be a part of impacting this area for eternity. His desire for the Gok is great.
We have a unique opportunity before us. We get to see the answer to years of prayer. Before Hatashil ever knew anything of the Bible or the name of Jesus he and many others cried out "How long, oh God, will this injustice continue?" God has heard them and He has answered. Januray 9th, 2011, South Sudan will vote for independence and decades of oppression will begin to melt, and I believe the Light of His Truth will flood South Sudan and raise them out of the dust and sit them among princes. What a great privilege and an awesome responsibility we have to be His hands and feet.
We leave on Christmas day to start our travels into Sudan. There have been many twists and turns but we our confident in the Faithfulness of our Father. To put it as plainly as I can, we still need lots of money to keep this mission going. This may sound like poor judgment to some or lunacy to others, but, we have enough money to get us into the country and last a few weeks but not enough get us back out and to the coast to pick up the Land Rover.
We then have to drive it back into Sudan and get back out once again (all during the birth of a new nation). We know what the Lord has led us to do. Money will have no place in our decisions to do what He has placed in our hearts. That being said; I am inviting anyone and everyone to partner finically with us. I know times are tough right now, believe me I know, but if we all just spare a little it goes a very long way. Thats all I will say on that.
I will leave you with the last entry in his journal. It struck my heart like a hammer. "All the events of my life have been a full confirmation of this Truth: Even in the days of my ignorance- Jehovah, as my 'banner' went before me, and as my 'shield' protected me. As time advances, I realize that HIS 'banner' has been and and is still going before me; and that HIS 'shield' has been and is still my protection. Following that 'banner' I anticipate greater service for the Master in the future than in the past. Confidently I will abide under HIS 'shield' for the loving protection HE affords to all them that trust in HIM. As to the future of my beloved native land and its people, I ask my readers to join with me in the prayer that soon 'Jehovah-Tsidkenu- the Lord our Righteousness,' may be their motto."
Lord help us.