The last three and a half weeks have been filled with God-adventures and divine appointments: all clearing the way to Sudan.
So, are we THERE yet?
It feels like it has been a long journey already, but in actuality things are happening so fast it is hard to keep track of at times.
Here is a summary of the highlights:
I arrived in Kampala on September 15 and stayed for a few days in a beautiful new children’s home called Uganda Jesus Village, which is focused on taking in Acholi kids affected by the rebel LRA violence in the north. A few days later I went to NE Uganda to meet with new friends who have been pioneering discipleship training all over Africa with International Accelerated Missions. Then it was back to Kampala where Jesus sovereignly connected me with yet more new friends, who were the ones who helped me get my initial entry papers for Southern Sudan.
Now I am writing this from Northwestern Uganda which is my last stop before entering into Sudan this coming week. So YES we are almost there. It would take a 10 page newsletter to describe the faithfulness of God in all the connections He has made for me and Iris Ministries New Sudan. So let me just share a few.
I met in Tororo (NE Uganda) with the International Accelerated Missions directors there. We had a fabulous time of getting to know one another. IAM is another organization I am partnered with stateside and they handle my personal support processing. One of the most critical needs in Southern Sudan now is for solid discipleship training. It looks likely Iris Ministries New Sudan and IAM will be partnering in the near future to host a discipleship training program for local churches.
Then back in Kampala, new friends with Ugandan Christian Outreach paved the way for me to get my entry card into Sudan. The two Sudanese officials found out I was a “pastor” and asked if there was anyway I could get them English bibles. The UCOM driver took me to a shop and I bought them Bibles, so when I returned to pick up my passport and papers I could just surprise them. You would have thought I bought them a Ferrari. I wrote a blessing in each Bible and signed it from Iris New Sudan. OUR FIRST ACT OF MINISTRY! The gal got tears in her eyes and told me “God bless you—I think New Sudan will be your new home.” Wow God!
Now here in Arua, I have had lots of time to talk with one of the Sudanese leaders with Youth With A Mission, where I will initially be staying upon arriving next week. He has been visiting here too at the same time as I have been. His perspective has been so encouraging.
I spent 40 min showing him pictures online from the irismin.org site and telling him about what I experienced in Pemba this summer—he almost had tears in his eyes saying God was sending Iris to his nation for such a time as this and we are a direct answer to their prayers and many of them. He was undone by the pictures of people in abandoned worship saying now THIS is the kind of revival he wants for his people.
Then I shared with him two of the visions God has been showing me about Sudan. God’s presence came so, so tangibly in the little wooden planked shed that houses the internet connection here. They invited me in December to go visit their outreach teams in unreached Muslim areas and preach and plant churches.
We are also exploring the possibility of starting a partner church type network in churched areas to strengthen the existing church through discipleship and imparting the heart for true revival and the Kingdom. This is in addition to looking into starting a children’s home. He said they had been praying for someone to come in who would start a children’s home because there are kids roaming the streets with no where to go, as well as someone to work with the churches and do church-planting—MOST of all to bring REVIVAL!