I’ve been back from Sudan for a month now and have posted a half dozen times about it. In case you missed a post, let me give you some quick links here:
- Returning from Sudan
- Falling in Love in Africa
- Africa’s Top Ten
- Tying Up Loose Ends
- When the Sun Rises at Midnight
- Scenes from Sudan
And before I leave the topic and move on, I have to make a request. Really, it’s more of a challenge and a call to action. Let me explain.
The first evening that we were in Kapoeta, our group sat jet-lagged and nodding, in a hot little tent next to The Akerman’s tukul. They gave us a standard orientation-type talk. Make sure there are no scorpions in your shoes before you put them on your feet. Don’t walk at night without a flashlight because that’s a great way to cross paths with a cobra or an adder. And don’t hurt the lizard in the bathroom. He’s our friend because he eats the bugs.
But then, even though I was nearly comatose and practically falling out of my chair with exhaustion, I heard Alesa mention that they would be leaving Sudan in December and they didn’t know when they’d be returning. I’m not sure my eyes opened, but my ears did. And later, when I’d had some sleep, I began to question the missionaries about why they were leaving…
Sudan is the largest country in Africa and the 10th largest country in the world. And one thing it has never been known for is peace. In fact, only since 2005 has there been a tentative hold on peace. The Arab Muslims from the North decided long ago that they wanted control of the South (mostly populated by non-Arab, non-Muslim Sudanese tribes) so that they would also have control of the natural resources, which are predominantly found in the South. Petroleum and oil. Diamonds and gold. All found in the South and largely desired by the North. And on January 15, 2011, there will be something known as “The Referendum.” On that day, all of Sudan will vote about whether or not the South will secede from the North. Popular belief is that the vote will pass and that yes, the South will secede. However, the North has said that if that does occur, they will not allow it to happen peacefully.
What does that mean for the ministry?
In December, the missionaries and the pastor (an American lady pastor that arrived after we left) will return to the US. They’ll enjoy Christmas with their families and then wait to see what The Referendum brings.
The afternoon after this was all explained to me, I lay on my back in my tukul, staring up at the tiny holes in the corrugated tin above my head and out at the thorns of the acacia trees outside my screen and I mourned. I said, “Lord, all of this time and energy and money has been invested into this mission compound here. People are being cared for and fed and educated and they’re meeting You! What’s going to happen when the missionaries leave? And what’s going to happen if the compound gets destroyed in another war?”
And then, in a whisper, I heard the answer:
“This is My ministry. These are My people. I have begun a work here and regardless of the turnout of The Referendum, I will be faithful to complete it. You may not understand how I do it. But I will complete it.”
And then, He brought me to Hosea 6:1-3.
“Come, and let us return to the LORD; for he has torn, but he will heal us; He has stricken, but he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live in his sight. Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. His going forth is established as the morning; he will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.”
So now, my request or my call to action, if you will. I have come to know that many of you that frequent this small spot of cyberspace that I call “home” are prayer warriors. Will you please, now, join me in prayer for Sudan? Write them in your prayer journal or on your bathroom mirror or on the front of your refrigerator—or on your heart—and pray for them. My prayer is that peace with reign in their lives—but more importantly, in their hearts. My prayer is that Jesus will be known in Sudan and that knees will bow to confess His Lordship over Sudan. My prayer is that lives will be changed and hearts will be healed and that Christ will be glorified in Sudan.
Will you pray with me? How will you pray?