Friday, December 10, 2010

A time for Family

We continue to welcome more children into our family at Hope for Sudan as we, and pastor Tito and indigenous director Romano, welcome their families!  

It is normal in African culture for families to be separated for many reasons, maybe jobs or schooling.  Tito and Romano's wives are finishing their educations in Kenya with their children.  We deeply admire Tito and Romano's  family sacrifice for their wives' education.

We are excited to have Romano's wife and 2 boys here for the holidays.  We are hoping Tito's family can join us as well.  Abigail and the boys are playing, laughing, and fighting like siblings.  It is a joy to have this time to knit our hearts together and bring more children into our family at Hope for Sudan.

 Romano's wife, Susan, and I baked a pineapple upside down cake for our families. 


We traveled to Tito's home village called, Lohitoke, to pick up more children.  We now have a total of 31!  It was special for Kevin, Abigail, and me to go with Romano and Tito to pick up these children.  They are from a beautiful village located on the side of a mountain.   We visited some other missionaries that live on top of the mountain.  We hiked up to their houses, a hike they make everyday to go to the school where they teach. The beauty of the mountain could be deceiving as we approached a traditional dance circle on top of the mountain.  Our guide, a missionary living in the village, told us of the witch craft and evil that is practiced.  Though missionaries have lived there for many years,  there are only a few devoted Christians in the area.  Many villagers have one foot in the church and one foot embedded deeply into witchcraft. This is true for many African villages.  The missionaries expressed their discouragement as they have been praying and longing to see Jesus embraced in that village.  Please pray for the missionaries there, and us,  for wisdom in sharing the hope of the gospel as well as the people of Sudan to have the courage to leave their traditional ways and embrace Jesus. 

5 children packed into the land cruiser with Romano, his wife, Tito, 2 other men, Kevin, Abigail,  and me.  THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR ONE MORE in the vehicle in Africa!  One of the girls squeezed in between Kevin and me in the front seat.  I had Abigail on my lap.  Both exhausted and feeling secure with a "mother"  fell asleep in my arms.  I think Abigail's presence helps to ease their fear of going with these "white people" for the first time in a car.  We ended the 2 hour ride with Abigail sitting on the girl's lap clanging heads together as we glided over the bumpy road . . .laughing and chatting! 

Romano, Tito, and 2 of the children.

Kids running to meet their new brothers and sisters!

Kevin hung curtains on the dormitory . . .

. . . and then took a break to play football "soccer" with the boys.

As I approached this group of children, I heard them repeating and singing, " A . . A. . .B. . . B. . . C. . . C" . . .  Lino, our new teacher, was holding class under the tree.  I thought back to the conditions these children had come from where they were struggling to find food.  Now, because of your help, they are in school learning!

Remember our big pumpkin patch?  The cooks wanted me to teach them how to make pumpkin soup.  I did it the Sudanese way, without a cutting board, counter, or fancy kitchen gadgets that they won't have when they make the soup themselves.  They loved it and said it tasted like meat.  That is a compliment here!  This will be a nutritious meal for the kids. 

We took a trip to see Susan's, Romano's wife, family in her home village.  We met "under a mango tree".

 Susan, her son Samuel, and I enjoyed a coke her family brought to us. 

Abigail made many friends!

A traditional gift to give guests is a . . . chicken.  Susan's sister presented us with two. 


As we approach celebrating Christmas here, the children, as well as the adults, have stopped me and asked for new clothes and meat for Christmas.  Kevin and I have discussed how we remember feeling the stress of finding the perfect gift for someone who had everything OR didn't need anything.  For these children, their simple request is an article of clothing and a bite of meat.
As you are in the thick of the busyness of Christmas fast approaching and probably stress of finding that perfect gift, think about giving the gift of sponsoring a child through Make Way Partners to provide, not only clothes and meat for these children, but, education, shelter, medical care, love and the hope in Jesus Christ. 
Your gift can help us care for "ONE MORE" orphan.

Blessings of PEACE in this season!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving in Torit

 We celebrated Thanksgiving two days this week. 

We have a huge pumpkin garden and a pile of pumpkins we have harvested.  These are a few I saved to make pumpkin pies on Thanksgiving. 

On Thanksgiving day,  Abigail and I made a turkey out of a toilet paper roll.  As missionaries, we learn not to throw ANYTHING away!  You may see towels covering bowls on the grill in the background . . . those are rolls rising in the sun.

Kevin smoked some ribs to share with the Kenyan workers and staff.  We shared why we celebrate Thanksgiving in America and told them we traditionally gather with family and EAT EAT EAT! 

On Saturday, we gathered at the Bylers' with other missionaries and pastor Peter and family from church.

Our table center piece, complete with Abigail and my toilet paper roll turkey and a Hokie Bird (VA Tech's mascot, Kevin's alma mater).   A short term missionary left it at the Bylers' house and it made Kevin feel at home!

Who needs Starbucks?   I was craving a pumpkin spice latte. So, I found a recipe and made some to go with our appetizers out of the leftover pumpkin.  One of the missionaries from Canada brought some Canadian smoked Salmon (my favorite!)  We ate it on some crackers the Bylers' brought from the states.  These are treats that are hard to come by, rare, and travel MANY miles to grace our tables in Sudan!

Our Thanksgiving . . . tur . . .chicken.   This is also a very rare find in Sudan.  There is a new restaurant in town run by Arabs that has wonderful chicken.  The local chickens running around our compound are too tough to enjoy.  The restaurant sold these whole frozen chickens to us.  Linda Byler made stuffing and stuffed the chickens and baked them in her charcoal oven.  They were GREAT!  

Kevin is our traditional tur . . .chicken carver. 

Phillip Byler carved one of the tur . . .chickens.

Debra is a new missionary with African Inland Mission from South Korea.  She is here working with local street kids now living on the African Inland Church compound. 

Phillip and Linda Byler enjoyed hosting our Thanksgiving meal. 

Philip Byler asked us to find a symbol around the house or yard that symbolized what we are thankful for.  I chose a picture of a little child.  I am thankful for Abigail and our children that have come to Hope for Sudan.  Kevin chose his cell phone.  We are both thankful for our means of communication.  A few more feet from our compound we would be out of cell phone and internet range and have to use a satellite phone.  I often think about that not too long ago missionaries in Africa had little to no communication with their friends and families in their home countries. 

After our meal we gathered around and sang Christmas songs and lit the first candle in the yule log (a few days early) to celebrate the beginning of advent. 

 The Yule Log

We ended the day with a piece of pumpkin pie from pumpkins out of our garden.

Abigail enjoyed putting her hands in the cake and pie and helping herself!

 We continue to be thankful DAILY for you, our friends and family, who support and pray for us, the staff here, and the kids. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Opening Celebration of Hope for Sudan


Massies,  director Romano, dorm mother  Mary, and children

On Friday, we celebrated the opening of Hope for Sudan!   
Moti, the compound dog, guards the children.
The children watched in anticipation as Kevin and I decorated the dormitory.  Husbands and wives don't usually work together in this culture.  We take opportunities to try and model a Godly relationship of service and love. 

They all received new clothes for the celebration.  It was beautiful to see them modeling!

Marching, with their new chairs proudly on their heads, to the ceremony.  Guests and staff eagerly waited to honor them!



 Taking their places as the honored guests in the front row.

Our mission is not only to care for orphans but to provide jobs for widows.  Our dorm mothers are widows that, in this culture, have no hope of remarrying.  Therefore they have no one to provide for them. They are happy to have a new family and care for the orphans. Above is our dorm mother, Mary Amo and cook,  Itofa.

Kevin gave a greeting and shared our years of preparation and story of coming to Sudan.  The word amazing has been a theme in our marriage, with an AMAZING God bringing us together to do AMAZING work.  Now, it is AMAZING to see the fruitfulness!
Children led the way entering the gate with the community support behind them! 
Director Romano, pastor from African Inland Church, and  Minister of Education Peter dedicated the dormitory.
The minister of education, Peter, cut the ribbon.  He is a Christian and very supportive and willing to help us and give in any way he can.  He shared that he wants to help us find the "best"  Christian teachers.
After the ribbon cutting we had a little fun with an "over under" game using a balloon.  
We had teams of men, ladies, and children. Missionary, Phillip Byler, headed up the men's row.

The ladies in their skirts had a tough time putting the balloon through their legs.  The object of the game: LAUGH!  Mission accomplished!  
We presented a cake to the children.
The Lord has instructed us to care for His precious diamonds.  They are His treasure and a gift to us.  We symbolized this with the children cutting the cake, which is contrary to the culture.  The culture caters to the adults and the children are often treated as inferior.
In the evening, Kevin and I honored and thanked the workers who have left their families and come from Kenya to build Hope for Sudan.  They have worked hard and have a passion for protecting these kids!  They had a generous portion of, their favorite, Nyama choma (grilled meat). 

Make Way Partners has a child sponsorship program.  Our goal is to find sponsors for each child which will enable us to care for more children.   For an orphan, sponsors become family which not only financially cares for him or her, but also may be the only one to pray for him or her by name each day.  You or your church could become family to one of these children!  To find out more about child sponsorship, visit Make way Partner's website