Thursday, July 6, 2017

Life Goes On...

So we have been working hard to adjust back to life in the States.Our hearts are still tethered to Africa. It will always will be such a huge part of our lives.We tried to watch the movie "Queen of Katwe" a few days ago, which is a Disney film set in Uganda. 3 minutes in my cheeks were soaked with tears. I balled. Steven said we'd better turn it off, just not ready for that yet. (But you should watch it! It's a very realistic portrayal of life in East Africa.) A huge part of us wants to be there so bad, and that was just a reminder. Here is where we are though, and here we want to thrive. Can't do that if we are always wishing we were elsewhere. We have to find a way to remember minus the great sadness. Many lessons linger though. They're like distant echos beckoning us to live a better, simpler, more conscientious way of life. People are probably really tired of hearing us talk about Uganda. I'm sorry if you've felt that way. (#sorrybutnotsorry 😗) 

Jehovah is so awesome though! I love how in every place we've ever served he starts training us for the next thing, and we don't even know it. 5 times in 4 months we have come across Africans in our ministry, and it has resulted in beautiful Bible studies. We are fully convinced Jehovah is directing us to these people. The fact that we went to the places they are running from earns their respect, appreciation and is a bridge to their hearts. I have a lovely study with a family from Rwanda. Just a couple weeks ago I was able to get them a Bible in their mother-tongue Kinyarawandan. They had never had a Bible in their own language. A sister in Rwanda, Priscilla who is a dear friend of mine, helps me often with the study. She communicates with the family when they have a question they can't fully express in English. Priscilla and I feel like we're preaching together even though we are thousands of miles away from each other! Steven also has studies with men from South Sudan. We love spending time with them, as they remind us of our dear Sudanese friends in Uganda. 

And what really inspired me to write this post was an experience we had just today. This morning we went to help at the convention site here in Jacksonville since the other region has their 3 day convention this weekend. Well, when we got there we learned they didn't really need help, so we decided to run home and change so we could go in field service. A sister from our neighboring congregation was out with our group and invited us to come over and help her give out invitations in her area for the convention, since ours was last weekend. We excepted and had a nice group go into her territory. On the second street we were working Steven and another sister came across a woman who didn't speak but a few words of English. They tried to understand, but couldn't so they gave the invitation and moved on. I overheard the conversation, and asked what language she spoke. The woman told them she spoke Arabic. By her appearance I immediately thought she was from South Sudan where in some areas they speak a Creole form of Arabic called Juba Arabic. Steven said she probably wouldn't understand me if I tried to ask, so we continued. Well, I thought of her the whole way as we went door to door, something was telling me to try and talk to her. As we circled back she was working outside. I noticed a piece of furniture that looked like a traditional Sudanese style. At this point I knew I had to go, so I bothered Steven again to let me. He approved and so I went.
 I called to the woman "Madame, are you from South Sudan?" 
 "Yes!" She exclaimed.
"Juba city?" I asked. 
"Yes! Yes Juba!" she said in excitement hurrying towards me. 
"I have a video in Juba Arabic for you!" Then I played the video "Why Study The Bible" in Juba Arabic. She watched intently and nodded in agreement as her eyes lit up. Then she began to cry, like really cry, tears streaming. I told her we lived in Uganda for nearly 2 years and know many people for South Sudan whom were refugees there. We found a way to communicate and understood each other just fine. I made arrangements to return and started studying Juba Arabic this afternoon to offer her a Bible study. So on a day when we had not planned to go in service, in a territory of another congregation, we found this woman. Coincidence? I think not! Totally angelic direction. Really touches my heart. It's such a wonderful thing to see Jehovah so clearly in our ministry. 

Every week we communicate with many of our friends in Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan. So I must share some recent pictures they've sent me. 

Sweet sister and Bible students after the meeting in Aweil, South Sudan.
Cathy, Mary & Alek after meeting in Mbarara, Uganda. Still going strong. Always begging us to come back to Uganda 😃😃

Outside Mbarara, Uganda. Friends participating in "Macedonia Campaign" where they travel further to preach in villages.

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