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!