*all Dinka words in the following text are phonetically spelled out for the enjoyment of the readers—and because our keyboard does not contain all the correct Dinka symbols and letters! -------
We are wrapping up day 14 since we left America and have come to the close of day 7 since we landed here in Sudan. Beth and I felt surprisingly at home when we stepped into our little bai (home)—and have since embraced the big cool-looking spiders that adorn our walls, caught sight of Remi—our resident door mouse, and watched lizards and geckos of all sizes and colors climbing around in our ceiling!Also, I have quickly kissed goodbye all of my “clean freak” streaks and instead embrace the dirt that constantly smudges, rubs, and hugs my every move. Many things have brought us joy and delight in the “every day” happenings. Here are just a few of those memories from each day that we have been here:
Tuesday (6th) – Showering under the stars in the “jargonia” (grass mat) structured stall outside of the Faris home, being able to see the colors of the stars, and falling asleep to distant drumming and singing in the village. Wednesday (7th) – Receiving our own Dinka names, having our first language lesson with Vince (or Dang-ga-rrang as he is called), and our first snake sighting followed by its chase-to-be-killed at the Ward’s.
Thursday (8th) – Awaking in the wee hours of the morning to the cool breeze and rumble of a storm blowing in, walking around the village with the kids and practicing our Dinka greetings and introductions, and having a Sudanese/Kenyan dish cooking lesson with Julie!
Friday (9th) – While on our “ladies prayer walk” with Julie (A-book) and Natalie (Alu-ett), we visited a lady who had a baby early that morning (Julie had been called upon at 2am that morning due to some complications). We saw him at 6 hrs old—which is the youngest newborn I have ever seen! Saturday (10th) – Having the cows chew several of our freshly laundered clothes off of the line followed by an unceremonious dragging in the dirt (I had my own clothes washing party after that discovery), witnessing a historical moment at the radio station (called Weer Bei) and the broadcast of their first Saturday night Christian program—followed by getting locked in the studio due to a broken door handle and a wonderful 1.5 hr talk with Vince while we waited for our rescue.
The Lord’s Day (11th) – Worshipping with our Sudanese brothers and sisters, seeing the joy of Christ on their faces and hearing testimonies of God’s saving grace in their lives, followed by a very encouraging team family worship at the Wards with and insightful opening of the Word from Vince.
Monday (12th) – We visited Damaris, the wife of John (a pastor who faithfully works at the radio station), and had a hilarious 2 hr “lesson” in which we taught English to Damaris and two young men who were visiting her, and they taught us some Dinka in return! Tuesday (13th) – We were reminded that sometimes our plans don’t always take place and instead we got a little extra time to rest, reflect, work on our Dinka, and catch up on email.
Praise & Prayer:
A reminder of God’s grace - On the day we flew into Sudan, I had a bad headache. It was there when I awoke that morning, and strangely I got sick once we arrived at the airport. The pain hovered over me for the entirety of the trip. But as soon as we touched down in Sudan, my headache disappeared—and has remained incognito since. I praise God for He is so good! · Please pray for continued good health and energy for both of us and the team.
We’ve been experiencing an unusually dry rainy season. Daniel Faris and some of the men have been building a fence around the compound, but due to lack of rain, the ground is dry and hard to work in. · Please pray for some big rains! We have loved hearing from many of you and thank God for raising you up to battle alongside us in His Throne Room of Grace!
In His Love,
Laurie (and Beth) a.k.a. Achole (and Agole)
“Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You.
26 My Flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart
And my portion forever.
28 But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.”
Psalm 73:25-26, 28