Happy New Year!!!


Never in all my wildest dreams did I think that one day:

1. I would celebrate the New Year in the middle of Africa.

2. I would be learning another new African language (sort of).

3. I would get so used to seeing the Nile river everyday that it lost it’s specialness.

4. Some of my best friends and adopted family would be in South Sudan (or because of South Sudan).

5. I would learn (a little bit) to be comfortable in my own skin because of life in a foreign country. (still not completely there but, ya know….)

These are things I was contemplating on the eve of a new year. So far, holidays and special occasions have passed relatively uneventfully. But that’s ok. It helps me not miss my family too much but still enjoy the holidays. New Year’s eve was no exception. There were no fireworks, no confetti (although they are burning fields right now so we considered the fires in the distance and the ashes falling from the sky our fireworks and confetti), there were no noise makers or shouts of “Happy New Year!” We went to bed pretty early and celebrated by sleeping. However, that evening I was sitting there with old friends, new friends, and my Sudanese dad and thinking, once again, how did I get here? Steve Grote and Dan Kim had come from America. Kaya and I picked them in Juba and headed to Nimule for a week of checking on churches, meeting with pastors and encouraging Tolbert. Dan was there to check on the progress of the Seed Effect office in Nimule. Sadly, it’s taking much longer to get set up than they’d hoped but some progress was made.

All week, Steve, Kaya and I visited churches in the Nimule area. All you Nimule peeps, let me tell you, those churches are growing wider AND deeper. You should be proud of the seeds you planted! It was so exciting to see the changes that just 5 months can bring.  All the churches have plans to build a building, there were many people (including MEN) and each of the churches has a good pastor, a strong deacon and usually a choir leader, a women’s leader, a youth leader, and a sunday school leader. Can you imagine? These little baby churches are quickly becoming mature and already thinking about planting another church. I will say, this is a testament to God but also to Tolbert. He is pretty much amazing! He has been working SO hard to build into the pastors and train other leaders. I cannot tell you how encouraging it was to see the changes.

BTW: We stayed in Paling which is up by Loa and Pagere. So we were in tents (MUCH COOLER THAN SLOPEY CITY) and drove down the mountain everyday. Hence, seeing the Nile at least twice a day. Totally old hat, now!

I can’t believe that my time here is half over. I feel as though there is so much left to do and I’m not sure how it will get done! I would be worried anyway but now there is an extra hurdle. There is no diesel. None. Not one drop anywhere in Kajo Keji county. Even in Nimule, there was only one place with diesel so Kaya topped off everyday just in case they ran out. This means that going out into the field is cancelled for the time being. Steve and I brainstormed about new possibilities. I think we came up with some great ideas and things that I’m really excited about. I’ll let you know more about these as they get a bit more fleshed out but please be praying about this new direction. God knew this would happen. He knew that I would be forced in a new direction and has been guiding this ministry. Pray that I rely on Him and follow His lead so that this new venture will be as successful as it can be in Him.

What a crazy ride!

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