In April of 2012 our team went to two locations in the mountains into Morobo County located 26 miles south of Yei. During our 5 days on the ground in two locations, Kendila & Gilumbi, the LORd used us to start a church in each of these communities. When we left these new faith families, as always, we were concerned what would happen to them. Well, as always we prayed trusted the LORD would sustain and grow them for HIS glory.
Fast forward one year to the day and we once again set foot in these two locations to strengthen and encourage these new church families. We were full of excitement and anticipation of how the LORD had blessed them over the past 365 days.
The expedition began here at home on April 18 with a huge cold front moving across the country threatening to delay our flights and making our connections and reaching Entebbe April 19 as scheduled. The LORD reminded our team quickly that HIS plan do not always resemble our plan especially in the details. So with the power of hundreds of prayer warriors petitioning the LORD, Jesse and myself were able to fly out and make our connections and reach Entebbe as scheduled. However, Wayne and Nancy’s delays caused them not to miss their connections and arrive in Entebbe on April 20.
Sunday morning we were blessed to worship and praise the LORD with our brothers and sisters at the church in Kendila. A church that was one year old and full of committed and dedicated followers of CHRIST. What a humbling and joyful time.
After church was over we loaded into the Land Cruiser and began the drive to the Uganda border to meet Wayne and Nancy who began their 14 hour road trip from Entebbe to South Sudan at 4:00am that morning. By the LORD’S grace, and according to HIS plan, at 4:00pm on Sunday April 21 the entire team was united.
Monday morning we reached Kendila, our base camp for daily operations, and joined our national partners who we would be training and working with for the next 4 days. We divided into two teams, one to work in Kendila & and one to work in Gilumbi.
We always prepare our teams in the reality that we are serving in South Sudan and we must always have a be flexible and have a flexible mindset. Well this Monday morning that flexibility was tested on two fronts. First, our leader for and the pastor of the Gilumbi Church Ramon Charles) had to take his son to be treated for malaria so he would not be with us on Monday. Plan B for the Gilumbi team would be for us to remain at the base camp and do some training with our leaders using the newly revised I Am Second (IAS) small group discipleship.
Secondly our flexibility was tested when Patrick, our leader in Kendila, had made a change in where the Kendila team would be working. It would not be in Kendila but 2 miles to the east in the community of Pabanga. Several members of Pabanga had been worshiping at the Kendila church and they wanted us to reach their community and begin to prepare them for a church to be planted. I will cover this in part 2 fo the trip report so stay tuned.
The Gilumbi team members were Pastor Mullai (National e3 Sudan Director), Simon Karidi (Sudan I Am Second Trainer), Lasu, Santino, Jesse (American team member), and myself. Lasu and Santino are new-born again followers of CHRIST that were the result of seeds sown during our 2012 campaign in this area and had proven themselves as up and coming leaders in the new church through CHRIST’S transformation and plan for their lives.
The first lesson in the IAS small group discipleship training is Mark 5:1-20, the story of the Gerasene demoniac with an emphasis on verses 18-20 when CHRIST told the man to go home and tell his people the great things CHRIST had done for him. Part of this training is reading the scripture and asking questions that prompt everyone to begin to engage the scripture and discuss it. The first question we always ask is “What do you like about this scripture?” Everyone in the group must answer the question. We went around the group and finally came to Lasu. He paused for a moment and then said “What I like about this is that man in the story… that was me!”
You see, in April of 2012 the Kendila team was lead to a home where they prayed for a mad man…a man who was possessed and could not be restrained. He had been bound and shackled by his family and the community because he was a danger to everyone including himself. As Lasu continued with his answer to the question he explained that he would break out of those shackles and bindings but that day in 2012 when the team prayed over him something super natural happened. The HOLY SPIRIT began to draw him and after the team had left and returned to America Lasu went to the Pastor of the new church, professed CHRIST as HIS LORD and SAVIOR, and surrendered his life to HIM. A new creation in CHRIST…no longer a mad man possessed but a new man in his right mind sitting and telling others about the great things the LORD has and is still doing for him.
Scripture comes alive!!! Stay tuned for part 2…more incredible stories to come!!!