Thursday, February 24, 2011

Referendum and a time for rest

Recently we were in Nyamlel, Sudan at New Life Ministries with our mission team.  Early in the week, in the middle of the night, we were awakened by gunfire in the distance.  Startled, we slept with one eye opened and our souls aware.  This is not an unusual sound, but it usually brings concern.  It was not until I returned to Torit that I realized the likely reason for the gunfire.  It was in celebration of the referendum results.

Phillip and Linda Byler are the Sudan team leaders for mission agency, African Inland Mission.   Here is a clip of their post on the referendum.

The last six weeks for South Sudan have been nothing short of AMAZING! Worldwide media predicted dire impossibility of a credible or peaceful referendum. Yet, while thousands around the world were praying, it happened in a quiet and beautiful way. Unanimously the international observers have declared the voting free, fair, and credible. Resoundingly the South Sudan people have pressed their thumbprint on the open hand and registered a vote for separation. Predictions are that over 95% have voted for separation from North Sudan.  Meanwhile the international crisis against oppressive governments triggered by the Tunisia uprising has also
affected Khartoum by weakening their political clout against the south. One month ago, my best- case-scenario was not this good.

South Sudan will not officially become a new nation until July 9, 2011. Meanwhile they need continued massive amounts of prayer to achieve the challenges of creating a new African Nation out of the war
rubble of past decades. By God’s grace it can happen.

 Kevin, Abigail, and I went to Kenya during the referendum process to stock up on supplies, visit the doctor, and take our first vacation living in Africa. We visited the port town of Mombasa, Kenya.   We stayed in the African Inland Mission guest house on the Indian Ocean.  It was beautiful and quiet.   We recognized, though, we are in Africa and not FULLY able to relax.  The guest house had tight security and, to get to the ocean, we had to unlock 3 heavy pad locks.  We couldn't leave anything on the beach, even to go in the ocean, AND we were always stared at being the few white people in bathing suits on the beach.   These are a few conditions we have to become accustomed to living in a different country.

We enjoyed family time and time for reflection of the milestone of the past year living in Sudan.  A few of the highlights were a lunch boat cruise aboard the Tamarind Dhow, swimming in the ocean, walking out onto the coral reef, and Abigail and I watching Daddy fishing with a Kenyan guide in a dugout canoe.

We ended our Kenya visit by welcoming our mission team from the US and Australia.  We flew back to our home in Torit with them to hold a Bible school with our kids at Hope for Sudan and New Life Ministries, in Nyamlel.  The two weeks with them were beautiful.

Kevin, with class mates, in his bee suit
We flew out of Nymlel and the team dropped Abigail
and I off in Torit.  Kevin flew on to Nairobi for a week-long bee keeping 
course.  He learned much and is eager to bring bees to "bee" the newest members of Hope for Sudan!

I will share more about the VBS and some pics on another blog post.

We have recently heard of pockets of tribal violence and fighting throughout Southern, Sudan.  Please continue to pray for the peace of Sudan, the youngest nation in the world!


Kevin, Shalene, and Abigail

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