Thursday, March 3, 2011

“Jesus Power. . . ALL over the World, Master Jesus, Jesus Come Lord”

Team and kids at Hope for Sudan
Abigail blessing the children of Sudan.

These were the words echoed in the voices of the children of Sudan one night, sung with such beauty and strength; their feet stomping to the rhythm of the drum in a cloud of thick dust that lay in the shadow of the moon.  Their bodies moved as one as they sang and worshiped their “Baba”, Heavenly Father, into the night.  These children . . .  the children of Sudan . . . the children of God . . . are praying for Jesus’ power to come ALL over the world, not just America, Australia, Canada, Europe, Asia . . . but ALL over the world!  As they sang and danced, they stood in powerful intercession for the people of the world.  These children, now some young men and young women, were not too long ago fighting for their lives in the bush as they watched their parents killed or die of starvation or disease.  Now they are cared for at New Life Ministry near Darfur and Hope for Sudan near the border of Uganda.  It was an honor to share a piece of dirt floor in front of their home as together we danced in warfare for the nations. 

Abigail loves singing with the children.
The Make Way Partner’s short term mission team was here for two weeks holding a vacation bible school, medical clinic, and women’s ministry meeting.  With over 600 children cared for through your support of Make Way Partners and hundreds of sick people seen by the medical team, it may have been easy to be overwhelmed by the numbers.  Really, the overwhelming feeling we experienced was the amount of love that God gave us to pour on His people.  Each team member has stories of how someone touched THEM and how they saw the Glory of God revealed. 

Here is the story from Make Way Partners' team leader, Matt, of bringing Dr. Sivley, the dentist to New Life Ministry. . .

Elizabeth is a sassy child around thirteen years of age.  Elizabeth is a bit of a “middle child” in that she is neither among the oldest nor the youngest children at New Life Ministry, she is at that in-between age.  One year ago I was sitting with James Lual Atak when Elizabeth came walking up, obviously in pain.  She and James spoke a moment in Dinka, then James asked me to look at her tooth. Sure enough, Elizabeth had a terrible cavity that was obviously causing her pain.  The extreme malnutrition these children endured before coming under our care has resulted in teeth prone to cavities.  James lamented to me that there was nothing to do for a child in this situation.  I committed to James that I would bring a dentist “next year.”  I know better than to make a promise like that, but I thought, “How hard could it be to find a dentist who will come to Darfur?”  Well, it actually turned out to be a bit more challenging than I had realized! Thankfully, God led me to Dr. Mark Sivley of Abilene, Texas and Dr. Mark committed to join our team.  Mark pulled many teeth and relieved much pain during our week in Nyamlel.  When I saw Elizabeth this year I was so happy to see that Dr. Sivley had been able to pull that hurting tooth.  Shes miled her beautiful smile, a smile no longer marred by physical pain.  I sat down with Elizabeth and told her:

“Elizabeth, last year I saw the pain you were in because of your tooth and I knew that God was telling me to find a dentist to help you.  Because of you, I went and found Dr. Mark and brought him here to help you and the other children. I am sorry that it took us so long, but I want you to know that God used you to show me this need – because of you, so many people have found help this week.”

I won’t forget the look on Elizabeth’s face as I shared this with her, via our wonderful student interpreter Mary Achu.  Elizabeth felt so special as she learned that someone had seen her suffering and remembered her.  This humble child assured Dr. Mark and I – “God will bless you for helping me.  God’s peace be with you always, you have helped me and God will never forget it.”  You can see precious Elizabeth and her beautiful smile, along with Dr. Mark, in this picture. 
Dr. Mark pulled MANY teeth!

One of the amazing tasks of the team was to JUST see and be present to witness the life of a child.  I say, “JUST” but seeing and being a witness in another’s life is no small task.  It is a task that takes being still and present in one’s own soul. 

Hundreds waiting at the door of the clinic


Women from the meetings prayed for the sick.

Indigenous Director James Lual Atak, telling the crowd to come back tomorrow.

Dr. Kim Sweet praying for a woman.

One day, as I was teaching the children crafts, I had the privilege of being a witness to a small boy.  He had colored a beautiful picture of a butterfly that represented him as a new creation.  He was so proud of his picture, but may have been embarrassed to show it.  I looked up in the crowd that had gathered around me begging for crayons, and saw this little boy intentionally making his way for me.  What stood out to me about this little boy was he did not have a huge smile on his face as if to beg for my attention.  He came with a serious face and made his way quietly and calmly through the crowd to show me his picture, trusting I would “see” him.  It was in the quietness of the moment that he knew he had been noticed and that is what his little soul needed.  The image of him stuck with me as we, too, can come to Jesus, quietly and calmly, without forcing or begging, to be “seen” by him.
One of the boys with his butterfly.

The team had a very important theme at Hope for Sudan.  They taught good hygiene and hand washing.  I have spotted the kids washing their hands after the team has gone!

 Morning assembly at New Life Ministry.  Kevin, with Abigail on his back.  He took care of her while Mommy worked in Bible school

Make Way Partners has a child sponsorship program.  Audrey Moore is the coordinator.  As a child sponsor, it is very important to write letters to the child you provide for.  Each year, during Vacation Bible School, the team brings your letters and hand delivers them to your children.  Here, Audrey is calling names to give the letters.  To sponsor a child visit the website,  Make Way Partners' Child Sponsorship program.

  The children look forward to this day all year!

As I was thinking about the mission team returning to their home countries, I was reminded of a walk I had taken.  Not in the hot sandy African bush, but in the climate controlled Galleria mall in Birmingham, AL.  After Kevin and I had returned from this same mission trip 3 years ago, we were walking through the mall.  As we walked, we encountered the stores packed full of everything one could want or imagine to take home and probably collect dust on the shelves.  We listened to the jingle advertisement of the latest exercise equipment and the rumble and chatter of people who may not even imagine life outside of their comfortable world.   My soul was reminded of the children we had “left behind” singing and dancing in the bush with joy that they had a roof over their heads, food to eat, and a Father God who loves them.  I was reminded that there are many, many, more children alone in the bush without shelter, food, and maybe without the knowledge of a Heavenly Father.  I was also reminded, as I stood in the climate controlled building with many choices of food at my fingertips, that even though I was in a comfortable place, the people I left in Sudan were still there dancing and singing in the hot dusty air and some in the bush scavenging for food and struggling to survive. 
Daughters of the King

I think about the mission team's thoughts and how their souls may fit back into life in the Western World.   I am continually thinking about how my soul interacts in my “home away from home” and in a different culture as we now remain in Sudan.  That walk in the mall is now a memory as we are, too, part of the ones, joyfully, “left behind”.

Those that have gone back to your home countries, remember the children you met and the experiences you had and share the stories of the people of Sudan.  Those whom have not yet come and are called to support and pray for, remember the children who have been saved through Make Way Partners’ children’s homes, New Life Ministry near Darfur, and Hope for Sudan, near the border of Uganda, and the ones desperately in need of rescue.

To view the picture albums from Vacation Bible School at Hope for Sudan and New Life Ministry, visit our Picasa Web Albums.

The whole team

There are many ways you can help and partner in saving these children.  Visit  Make Way Partners  website to find out how.

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