Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kevin is going to Nairobi

Kevin is leaving this Wednesday (tomorrow)  for a short trip to Nairobi to research some electrical supplies that are needed here that will go on our next supply truck and to take care of some other business.  He will return on Monday.

Abigail and I are staying in town at the Noble's (other missionaries) so we can be closer to the market.

Please pray for Kevin's travels, for our time as we are apart, and for the continued work here to remain on schedule to move the kids in very soon.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Diamond in the Rough

Kevin and I were sitting around our table enjoying some down time on Sunday afternoon when some men approached the compound needing our "ambulance" service.  They had carried a young woman they had found collapsed in the bush from sickness.  It had rained heavily during the night and throughout the morning.  The road was, AGAIN, full of water and the tractor (ambulance) has been grounded for about 3 weeks awaiting a part to come by plane from Nairobi.  So, the tractor was unavailable. We loaded the woman into a beat up clunker of a truck (we are VERY surprised it runs) and loaded the guys, who would carry her across the river in a hand made stretcher, and their bicycles.  I squeezed in on top of their bikes with Abigail on my back.  As we drove through the bush, Abigail and I had to lean different directions to dodge the many branches and thorn bushes that had grown into the road. I had to keep repositioning my hands as I struggled to hold on.  I looked down at my left hand and my diamond wedding ring caught my eye.  "Diamond in the rough", I thought. . . "Diamond on the back of a dirty beat up truck, driving down a very rough road."  Then my focus was drawn to the sick woman in the front of the truck.  SHE is a "diamond in the rough".

This phrase is used to describe someone that has hidden exceptional characteristics and/or future potential, but currently lacks the final touches that would make them truly stand out from the crowd. The phrase is metaphorical and relates to the fact that naturally occurring diamonds are quite ordinary at first glance, and that their true beauty as jewels is only realized through the cutting and polishing process (Urban Dictionary).  

She, in her "unpolished state" DID stand out in the crowd in her need for help.  She, like a diamond, when  "seen" and recognized through the "rough" exterior for her heart and true beauty, is worth far more than jewels in the eyes of Jesus.  

The phrase kept ruminating in my soul throughout the day. The Lord spoke to me, "YOU are a diamond in the rough".

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away".  Isaiah 64:6

 As I try to do "good deeds" to help the people of Sudan, I recognize they will fade away and are filthy rags in comparison to Jesus and His Glory.  I must allow His spirit to work in me to etch away my uncleanness and impurities to reveal His beautiful treasure in me.

 Our children, that we will be caring for soon, are certainly "diamonds in the rough" waiting to be discovered, seen, refined, and valued as children of the King.  We pray each child will allow God to polish them as they grow and find their true beauty and place in the Kingdom of God.  Through your support and prayers, you are partnering to help polish these precious diamonds!

Here is a little diamond being polished as she learns of Jesus' love for the people of Sudan and the joy she brings to them!

Daddy surprised Abigail with this dress from his trip to Ethiopia.  We had some professional photos made in Nairobi and JUST got them by plane yesterday!  She is looking more African . . . even with her pink crocs!

We are getting closer to bringing "diamonds" to Hope for Sudan!

The workers are putting the ridge vent on the dormitory. This lets hot air out of the building to help keep the kids cool. 

The almost complete dormitory with the workers finishing the trim around the windows.

Please keep in prayer for the kids moving in soon and the upcoming referendum in Sudan.

Monday, October 4, 2010

For where your treasure is . . .

Many people have wondered how we can leave the comforts of our home in the states (although they are very nice to have) and come to live in the bush. . . . with a baby.   We have continued to feel at home here and God has given us the grace and wisdom we need to weather the storms . . . literally!  Little Abigail has begun to recognize this as her home, even after spending much time in Nairobi, and she LOVES playing with the animals, children, and in our front yard and kitchen sand box!  She has also become the greeter for our compound.

As we have written in our recent blogs, the last few weeks in the rainy season have posed its challenges for the roads and transportation.   We have experienced many mechanical problems with our vehicles as well as "stuck in the mud" problems as we waited patiently for the Land Cruiser. Recently, Kevin, Abigail, and I took a walk to the market.  The 6 mile trek wasn't for pleasure.  With the motorcycle failing to start, the tractor needing maintenance,  and the road being impassible; we had to walk to get food and a battery for the motorcycle.  When I think about comforts of home, I miss good roads and good vehicles the most.  Upon arriving to Sudan in February, I watched people walking long distances with nothing but a piece of plastic in the form of a flip flop hanging from their feet and huge loads of food and firewood on their heads and many a baby on their back.  My soul began to struggle.  I felt sad for them in their "hard life" and had never known what it was like to be without transportation.  I was thankful for the tractor, motorcycle, and beat up truck . . . and then, they failed me.  

As we began to prepare for our walk, I was tempted to whine as I may have months ago.  But, I realized walking that distance was not much different than the many hikes we have been on for pleasure.  I began to even get excited about it.  As we walked, I was able to slow down even more than we do in the tractor, and observe the culture around me.  Through their laughter and stares at these 'white people' walking, I began to get more of a glimpse of their persistence and determination through their "hard" life and struggle.

The people of Sudan have been through MANY difficult times.   It is hard for me to imagine facing what they have as we try to grasp for what physical security we can here in the form of, transportation, good shoes, good rain gear, bringing extra food and supplies from Nairobi as well as our only TRUE source; Jesus for our guide, peace, and comfort. . .

I have read this passage of scripture many times in Matthew 6: 19-22:

19"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal. 21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22"The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.

. . . it has become more real to me as we have begun to make our home in Sudan.

The word in the above passage that stood out to me is CLEAR.  I wondered what the word meant in this context. It means prudent, knowing how to deal with fellow humans in the circumstances of life. . . the circumstances of life. . . that our whole body be full of light.  Through their difficult circumstances, many people of Sudan reflect light and hope in their eyes as they find their security in Jesus.

We are anticipating more transportation problems at the end of the year, this time not from mud but from the government changing the taxation policies and the border being thrown into chaos.  We hope to be able to purchase as many supplies for the construction and get them across the Sudan border before that time.  
Here is an excerpt from Make Way Partners' President, Kimberly Smith, about how you can help in this need . . .

            “To fill the need in both Southern Sudan (Hope for Sudan orphanage) and Darfur (New Life Ministry) we are trying to raise $255,000. There are three ways you can help. First, pray for the orphans, indigenous staff, and the missionaries who serve them. Pray specifically for their focus to remain on God as their provider and source of security. Second, consider what financial contribution you and your family can offer to protect the orphans. Third, there has never been a better time to introduce the work of Make Way Partners to other friends, family members, co-workers and your church and giving them the opportunity to offer tangible love to an orphan.”  Visit http://www.makewaypartners.org for more information.

Thank you for your prayers and generous support through Make Way Partners as we continue building His kingdom to house His precious children.   Please continue to pray for the people of Sudan to have wisdom, hope, and peace as they face a crucial time in their government in the upcoming referendum. 

Through the tough rainy season, the building continues!

Kevin comments on some new technologies he has researched and is now implementing . . .

A picture of the first dormitory receiving it's lid.  What is the shiny stuff between the metal roof sheets and the trusses?  Nothing short of space aged technology right here in Moti.  This is reflective insulation, like what astronauts have in their space suits. It is designed to reduce 'radiant' heat entering through the roof.  What a difference it made!  We laid the insulation before lunch and after the break the
workers didn't want to get out from under it.

One of two latrines under construction.  Where's the pit you ask?  Well these won't have a pit because they're composting latrines. We'll mix the waste with lime and leaf matter to make a rich compost.  This will keep us from filling up a latrine every year; after one year, we'll clean it out and start over (I think we need to take volunteers for this job). Other people using this system say that it almost eliminates flies also.  I sure hope that it lives up to all of the reports I've read. We are working diligently to move children into the Dormitory as quickly as possible.  For this to happen, we must finish the roof, the windows and floor, and two latrines and the bathhouse.