Do You Believe in Ministering Spirits?

Friday morning, July 27, 1991, my husband and I left our home in Rhode Island to travel to Quebec, Canada, where my husband was to preach a mission’s conference.

When we reached New Hampshire, we noticed the sky growing darker. Soon we found ourselves driving into a torrential rain storm. My husband tried the windshield wipers, but nothing…

Being blinded by the rain, my husband left the interstate and drove onto Route 4 near Lebanon, New Hampshire. He drove our car to the side of the road and turned on the car’s emergency flashing lights. He then got out of the car, retrieved some tools from the trunk, and  opened the hood to inspect the problem with the wipers.

While he was bending over the left fender, a motorist struck him and knocked him 49 feet. Watching my husband’s body  fly past my side window, I jumped out of the car to see where it had landed. His body had landed down a deep muddy embankment. As I stared at his motionless body, I heard a moan and frantically thought, “He is not dead!”

I turned toward the road and began waving my hands for help. Soon a kind man in a black trench coat appeared. As I stood there in shock and confusion, this strange man put his arm around me, and his presence gave me comfort. Speaking to me in a gentle but firm voice, he said, “Honey, your husband will be alright. There is a doctor with him right now.” I thought, “How could this be? There is no ambulance–no rescue workers–no police”.

Soon an ambulance and rescue workers arrived. The workers stabilized my husband and loaded him into the ambulance.

The kind man then instructed me to go with my husband in the ambulance. He told me that he would take care of my car. Shaking uncontrollably, I crawled onto the front seat of the ambulance. As the vehicle  swiftly rushed toward the hospital, I opened my handbag and reached for my small pink Bible. It was as if my Bible opened automatically to Psalm 120 In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and He heard me. I then glanced down to Psalm 121 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hill, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. As I read those verses, my body stopped shaking and a warmth began moving slowly through my whole body. I experienced a peace that I cannot explain…but I knew that God was in control. It was at that moment that I realized–God had sent me a ministering spirit to help me in my distress.

When I arrived at the hospital, the hospital officials escorted me to a private room with a telephone. They advised me to start calling my family. My children arrived a few hours later. We sat together through the night waiting to hear some news of my husband’s condition. At 5:30 in the morning, a doctor entered that small room to share his prognosis. In a low voice, he said, “I’m sorry. I would like to give you more hope, but I have lost patients with fewer injuries than your husband received. We will just have to wait and see.”

That Saturday morning at 10:00, a missionary organized a prayer meeting to pray for my husband at our church in Rhode Island. At 11:00, a nurse came to me and said, “We are going to try to take your husband off the ventilator; if he can breathe alone, there is a good chance he might make it.” At 11:20, she came to me and said, “Well, he’s breathing by himself.”

That afternoon, I went to the cafeteria to get a bite to eat. A doctor approached me and said, “Do you remember me?” I told him, “Yes, your face is one that I do remember from yesterday”. He introduced himself and said, “I am Dr. Silvestre. I am a pulmonary specialist. I was the doctor who was with your husband at the accident. I reached your husband before the ambulance arrived. Your husband was lying face down in running water, and I knew that if I didn’t turn him over, he would drown.”

Fifteen days later my husband left the hospital. As my husband was being wheeled to our car in a wheelchair, his attending physician walked beside him and said, “I really thought we would be taking you out the back door (morgue).”

It took my husband several months get back on his feet. Although we didn’t understand the reason for this incident (not accident) for several years, God eventually showed us that it was for our good and for His glory.  You see, we had been praying, “Lord, make us fruitful.” God had used that circumstance to mold us and make us more like Him.

Where Is America Today?

Today over half of our country is receiving some form of government assistance. Government dependent people out number private sector people in our country. Even in our churches, everyday drug addicts and alcoholics call asking for money.

In 1887, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, said this about the fall of the Athenian Republic 2,000 years earlier:

A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate who promises the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over loss of fiscal policy. This is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.

Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota says, “He believes that the United States is now somewhere between the “complacency and apathy” phase of Professor Tyler’s definition of democracy, with some forty percent (49% today 7/10/14) of the nation’s population already having reached the “governmental dependency” phase.

I don’t know when Professor Olson wrote his deduction, but it looks as if our country might be in the “apathy to dependence” stage.  Our country needs a turning back to God. Not only have her citizens become dependent on government, but they have forgotten God. Our country not only needs to be stirred out of her apathy and her dependence on government, but she needs to return to God and His precepts for living.

The following prayer was prayed by Greg Laurie on the National Day of Prayer in Washington, DC, May 2nd, 2013.

Father, we come to You to pray for our nation, the United States of America.
How You have blessed us through the years, Lord! We rightly sing, “America, America, God shed His grace on thee.” Yet we see trouble in our culture today. We see the breakdown of the family, crippling addictions, and random acts of horrific violence.

Lord, we need Your help in America. In recent days, we have done our best to remove Your Word and Your counsel from our courtrooms, classrooms, and culture. It seems, as President Lincoln once said, that we have “forgotten God.” But Lord, You have not forgotten us! You can bless and help and revive our country again.

Scripture tells us that “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). Lord, in Your mercy, we ask that You would exalt our country again. We have had a number of great awakenings in America. We have experienced times of refreshing, and revivals that changed not only the spiritual but also the moral landscape. As the psalmist said, “Will You not revive us again, so that Your people may rejoice in You?” (Psalm 85:6).

That is our prayer for America today, Lord. Send a mighty spiritual awakening that will turn the hearts of men and women, boys and girls, back to you. You have told us if we will humble ourselves and pray, and seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways, that You will forgive our sins and heal our land (2 Chronicles7:14).

Forgive us today, Lord, and heal this troubled land that we love so much. We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Great Article about Declining Churches

The Most Common Factor in Declining Churches written by Thom Rainer
Saturday, May 31, 2014 5:00 AM

Warning Symptoms

After studying and consulting with thousands of churches, I began to see clearly this pattern. Even more, I began to recognize symptoms of an inward focus. See if you recognize a few of these.

  • There are very few attempts to minister to those in the community.
  • Church business meetings become arguments over preferences and desires.
  • Numbers of members in the congregation are openly critical of the pastor, other church staff, and lay leaders in the church.
  • Any change necessary to become a Great Commission church is met with anger and resistance.
  • The past becomes the hero.
  • Culture is seen as the enemy instead of an opportunity for believers to become salt and light.
  • Pastors and other leaders in the church become discouraged and withdraw from effective leadership.
  • If the churches are a part of a denomination or similar affiliation, meetings of those denominations mirror the churches in lost focus and divisiveness.

To read Pastor Rainer’s full article go to  ThomRainer.com.

How to Deal With Idols of Our Hearts

What a joy it is to have a personal relationship with our wonderful Lord, but sometimes we allow idols of our hearts to break our fellowship with Him, and He refuses to listen to our prayers.

Read Ezekiel 14:1-8. What an enlightening portion of Scripture. A group of elders went to Ezekiel to ask God for something. These elders seem to be questioning Ezekiel’s authority with God. Ezekiel sees deep into their hearts and sees their idols of self-will and unsubmissiveness and tells them that God will not listen to their requests because of these idols.

Ladies, the same thing can happen to us. When we allow idols to develop in our hearts, God will not hear our prayers. What are some of the idols that can develop in our hearts?

Pride: Isaiah 2:11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

Pride can manifest itself in many different ways. Disobedience to authority is often a matter of pride. We don’t want anyone to tell us how to live or how to run our lives. We have our rights.

Physical Idols: Exodus 20:3-5a “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:…”

You may be inclined to say, “Oh, we don’t have any graven images in our homes.” Are you sure? A physical idol is anything that distracts you from focusing on God. A television can become a physical idol. You spend more time watching television than you do thinking about God. Other idols could be your job, your home, your telephone, your social networking,  your car…anything you put between you and God becomes an idol.

Self: Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things [food, shelter and clothing] shall be added unto you.”

When a person places his own needs and desires ahead of what the Lord wants, those needs and desires becomes idols. The major cause of conflict is when one person feels his desire has not been met. When other people fail to meet his desire, he fights harder to get his way. If he doesn’t get his desire met, that desire begins to control him, and it becomes an idol.

Entertainment: Colossians 3:17 “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

Is all your entertainment God-honoring? Does it take all your time and money? Do you place things above serving and obeying God? You think nothing of spending $20.00 on a new DVD or CD, yet you refuse to put $20.00 in the offering when your Pastor asks for a special offering. You think nothing about spending your time doing what you want to do, but you don’t have time to send a card, check on a shut-in, or invite a lonely member to share a holiday with you.

Personal Opinions: Mark 7:8, 9, 13 “For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”

The Pharisees made their own standards (opinions) into idols. They valued their own traditions above God’s laws. Many Christians allow their personal opinions dictate the way they interpret the Bible. They will not allow God or any Christian leader tell them anything.

Hatred and Bitterness: Ephesians 4:26, 27 “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”

There are some people who must constantly be mad at someone or something. When a person harbors bitterness, it destroys him. If you are a person who struggles with the idol of bitterness, try sincerely praying for the other person that you are bitter against.

Fear and Worry: Philippians 4:6 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Fear is a type of pride. People hold onto their fears, because fear gives them comfort over what they can control. Fear keeps people from refusing to step out in faith and follow the Lord. Fear makes a person want to control his own life and not allow the Lord to be in control.

The following are two ways you can choose to deal with idols:

First Way:
Trust God and seek fulfillment in Him.
Psalms 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. (This is my life verse)

Ask the Lord to help you and continue to grow spiritually no matter what anybody else does.
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Continue to love and pray for the other person.
1 John 4:19-21 We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

Seek the things of God. Place your desires and affections on things that will last for eternity. Live for Him and not for yourself.
Colossians 3:1-3 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”

Second Way:
Dwell on your disappointment.
• Allow your desires and disappointments to control your life.
• Allow self-pity and bitterness rule in your heart.
• Destroy your relationship with the people who disappointed you.
• Break fellowship with others and God.

The choice is up to you!

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

We confess our faults to God for forgiveness, and we confess our faults to each other for healing. So Ladies, here it goes…

A few weeks ago, while my husband was teaching a Sunday school lesson, he lost his place and began reading in the wrong chapter. Because of my pride and not wanting him to look bad (because that would make me look bad), I blurted out the place where he should be. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, the Holy Spirit smote my heart, “Who do you think you are? You not only publicly embarrassed your husband and usurped authority over him, but you usurped authority over your pastor.” After services and being under deep conviction for what I had done, I  went to my husband and asked him to forgive me.

In most of the churches that we have attended or ministered during our Christian life, women have been allowed to speak their voice in church and business meetings. After the Holy Spirit convicted me of my error that day, I began to study about women speaking out in the early church, and should women be allowed to speak out in church business meetings. After studying many Scriptures, and the Lord leading me to different writings of Godly men, I have come to a strong conviction that the business of the church should be handled by the elders  and pastors of the church.

As a woman, I am very aware of my emotional makeup. During previous years of ministry, I am so glad that my husband did not always listen to me when I gave him my “unasked for advice” about church matters. If he had listened to my emotional opinions and not listened to the Lord, the church would have suffered serious consequences.

One morning my husband and I were visiting with a well-known evangelist. He began sharing with us about different church problems he faced in his travels. He made a statement that astounded me, “Judy, I have noticed that almost all church problems begin with a woman.” Men will go home and share a new direction for the church with their wives. One wife will disagree with the decision—watch out—soon   there will be full blown problems in the church!

In 1 Timothy 2:12, Paul says, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man.”

One writer said, “A bossy woman is as much a monstrosity as an effeminate man.”

I came across this article, and it is very thought provoking.

Should Women in the Church Attend Business Meetings? Written by W.R. Jones  Conroe, Texas

As the Women’s Movement grows in the world about us it is having its effect on some ladies in the church. I was recently confronted with this question by a Christian who worships with a congregation where sisters attending business meetings is a fairly common practice. I am told they attend and speak out concerning their views. The first thing this practice tells me is that sisters who attend and so exercise themselves do not properly understand their role in the kingdom, or they have no respect for God’s and vine arrangement. The second thing this practice tells me is that brethren who allow it are either poorly informed of women’s role in the New Testament, or they have lost their courage to speak against such conduct. In either case, it is an indicator of spiritual decline.

On the basis of what I see and hear, I fear some ladies in the church think the Women’s Movement as seen in the world has liberated them from the role assigned by our Lord in the New Testament. We must not judge the church by the standards of the world. I freely admit that faithful sisters in the congregation have a right to know what the church is trying to accomplish. I would readily listen to and respect their sound counsel. But this can be effectively accomplished without women pushing themselves into a “leadership” position in church decisions.

I do not question the “value” of faithful women in Christ Jesus. Dorcas assisted the needy (Acts 9:36). Priscilla and her husband taught a young preacher in the right way (Acts 18:18). Phebe and Mary were commended for their assistance to Paul in the gospel (Rom. 16:1,6). Women were waiting in prayer following the ascension of Jesus (Acts 1:14). In Philippians 4:3 Paul said, “Help those women who labored with me in the gospel.”

As a young preacher, I kept preaching appointments where there would have been no congregation, except for the faithful sisters. I have won battles for truth on some occasions only because faithful women backed me. Godly women have done much to encourage, mold, and shape me, for a half-century of effective preaching, Don’t try to tell me they are not valuable. But the truth remains, the Lord did not put them in places of leadership. Men and women are equal in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28), but they are not equal in their role assignments. Women were not assigned leadership responsibilities in kingdom matters.

What Can a Woman Do in the Worship?

She can do anything a man can do – except take the lead. She can sing, pray, commune, contribute, and study-anything but take the lead. Women’s rights to equality in worship is not to be questioned. But dominion over and teaching men publicly is forbidden. Why is this so?

1. God so commanded (1 Cor. 14:23-35)

2. Adam was first created, then Eve (1 Tim. 2:13). There was no woman among the apostles, the seventy, elders, deacons, preachers and evangelists in the New Testament. But, women must not feel badly about this. They have been vindicated by the Lord. The word “mother” has elevated her above all in another role (v. 15).

Yet, a sister may ask, “Is there nothing else for me? Can I do nothing but quietly sit in the assembly and praise God?” If this were all, it would still be an honor, but God has not limited your duties to simply that.

Woman and Her Work in the Church Daily

Women are commanded to teach. But, what about 1 Timothy 2:12? Of course, she is not to usurp authority. She is not to push her way into the lead. Older women are to teach the younger. They are to teach the younger women to be good wives (Tit. 2:3-5). They are permitted to teach privately (Acts 18:26). Sisters can teach classes of children or other women. They can teach their neighbors. Many individuals, male and female, have been converted by women. Women would do the church a great service if they would teach our young ladies to be proper wives for elders, deacons, and preachers. You can’t believe how many elders, deacons, and especially preachers I have known whose labor was greatly hindered by a wife whose heart and conduct was not in his work. Sisters, you can visit the sick and shut-ins at home or in the hospital, help the needy, and like Dorcas, you could even make a garment.

Female Christians, ask yourselves these questions.

1. Am I an asset or a liability in the church?
2. Am I a help or a hindrance to the work?
3. Do I add strength and character to the church?
4. Is my daily life an influence for good?
5. Am I daily growing in grace and knowledge?
6. Have I led anyone to Christ? Am I even trying?
7. By my attendance and interest, am I giving encouragement to the young converts and the unsaved?

Let me proudly say, “God bless our righteous women!”

Guardian of Truth XXXV: 9, p. 265   May 2, 1991

 

 

Ways Fathers Can Inspire Their Children 

• Set an example for them. Rather than teaching children with words alone, show your children what needs to be done by setting an example. If you are hardworking and responsible, this teaches your children to be hard working. They will look up to you and will want to emulate you.

• Treat their mother with kindness and respect. Children become very attached to their mothers as they grow up. If you do not treat their mothers with respect, they probably will not respect you or be inspired by you.

• Spend time with them. Fathers who are absent most of the time from their children’s lives do not make much of an impact on them. Spend time with them by helping them with their homework, playing games with them, driving them to their activities, getting to know what they like,  and finding out who their friends are.

• Encourage them with praise. Go easy on the criticism.  When you push your children to do more than they are able to do and criticize them because they do not live up to your expectations, it will dampen their enthusiasm.

• Teach them right from wrong: When children see that you don’t lie, cheat or treat people badly, they will pick up these traits. Be an inspiration to them by showing them how they should want to live their lives and treat their children someday.

What Will Be Your Legacy?

Max Jukes lived in the state of New York. He did not believe in Christian training. He married a girl with his same convictions.  From this union there were 1,026 descendants.  Out of this family, 300 died prematurely, 100 were sent to the penitentiary for an average of 13 years each, 190 were public prostitutes, 100 drunkards and the family cost the state $1,200,000.00. They made no contribution to society.

On the other hand…

Jonathan Edwards lived in the same state.  He believed in Christian training.  He married a girl with his same convictions. From this union there were 729 descendants. Out of this family, there were 300  preachers, 65 college professors, 13 university presidents, 60 authors of good books, 3 United States congressmen and 1 vice-president of the United States, (except for Aaron Burr, a grandson of Edwards who married a woman of questionable character), the family has not cost the state a single dollar.

What was the difference in the two families?  Christian training in youth and heart conversions.

 

Things Husbands and Wives Want from Each Other

10 Things Husbands Want from Their Wives

1. He Wants You to Believe in His Capabilities
Men believe it is important for them to protect and provide for those they love. Let your husband know that you believe in his talents and skills and be supportive of him.
2. He Wants You to Understand Him
One way you can both tell and show your husband that you want to understand him is to make a commitment to communicate with him 20 minutes each day.
3. He Wants You to Appreciate His Accomplishments
Men need appreciation. Compliment your husband often. He will not appreciate it if you do it with overdo it with an icky sweetness.
4. He Wants You to Accept Him
Husbands become hurt and angered when their wives try to change them. Realize that the only person that you can change is yourself. Allow God to change your husband.
5. He Wants You to Express Yourself with Less Talk
If your husband is tired, or involved in a project, and you need to talk to him. Get to the point. He does not need to know all the details.
6. He Wants Your Affection
Hold your husband’s hand in public, text him a message of love, massage his shoulders, and give him an unexpected kiss.
7. He Wants You to Respect Him
Avoid making making negative comments about his thoughts or opinions. Be considerate of his plans. Avoid rolling your eyes  to show your disapproval or your desire not  to listen to him.
8. He Wants You to Allow Him to Have Some Free Time
Give him some quiet time alone. He needs time to re-energize, regroup, and reconnect. When your husband first gets home from work, allow him some time to unwind. Don’t over-schedule his days off with projects around the house.
9. He Wants You to Trust Him
Trust is vital part of a successful marriage. If you begin to  doubt your husband’s faithfulness, seek counseling.
10. He Wants You to Be His Friend
Your husband not only wants you to be his lover, but he wants you to be his friend. Staying friends through the years requires that you find ways to do things together and make your time together pleasant.

10 Things Wives Want from Their Husbands
1. She Wants You to Love Her
Your wife will need to know that she is loved. You can show her that you love her in simple, every day, seemingly unimportant ways such as sending her a text, give her an unexpected hug, or hold hands with her when you walk together.
2. She Wants You Understand and Forgive Her
Your wife will not be perfect. She will make mistake and will have bad days. There will be days when her mood might be difficult for you to handle. She will need your willingness to understand her and forgive her. It is impossible to maintain a good relationship without forgiveness.
3. She Wants You to Communicate with Her
Your wife will need for you to keep communication lines open with her. Don’t let your conversations with your wife dwindle to nothing but talking about your children, your jobs, and the weather. If that happens, your marriage relationship could be in real trouble.
4. She Wants You to Make Time for Her and Your Children
Your wife will need for you to make quality time for her and your and your children. This is something that just does not happen. Time with those you love must to be a high priority for you.
5. She Wants You to Say “Yes” More Than You Say “No”
Your wife will need some positive responses from you. If you constantly tell your wife and children NO, it will push them away from you. It will astonish you how much your relationship might improve by sometimes telling them YES.
6. She Wants You to Listen to Her Carefully
Your wife will want to share her innermost thoughts and feelings. It will be very discouraging for her if you do not really listen to her. She not only wants you listen with your ears but listen with your heart.
7. She Wants You to Show Her Affection and Kindness
Your wife will respond favorably to you when you show her affection and kindness. Use pleasant expressions such as “please” or “thank you”.
8. She Wants You to Be Willing to Share Household and Child Rearing Responsibilities
Your wife will appreciate your willingness to help around the house and help with the children. Chores and child care should not just be her responsibility. She shouldn’t have to ask you to do small chores such as taking out the trash or helping her in the evening with the children.
9. She Wants You to Allow Her to Take a Day off Now and Then
Your wife will need to take a day off several times a month. This time frees her up from worrying about what is happening with the kids, the house, the pets, and you. She deserves a break in her schedule. This time will help her stay emotionally and physically healthy.
10. She Wants You to Be Committed to Taking Care of Yourself
Your wife will want you to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Your wife is not your mother.

Responsibilities of the Sending Church

As I was searching for contact information for an old friend, I came across this article. I thought it might be helpful information for you to keep in your files. (Information taken from BIMI website)

Often we here at Baptist International Missions, Inc., are asked, “What are the responsibilities of the sending church?” Of course, we know that every church should pray for and, in every way possible, take care of their missionaries. But, practically, how can that be done?
Let me list some valuable things that some sending churches are doing that other churches could do for their missionaries:

1. Provide the funds needed to take a survey trip to the field of their calling.
2. Provide for the expenses of candidate school.
3. Provide for the equipment needed to begin deputation:
• Prayer cards
• Brochures
• Letterhead and stationary
• Display board
• Slide projector and presentation
4. Provide housing while they are on deputation.
5. Provide phone services. This is one of the most expensive areas of the missionary’s deputation. If the sending church would allow their missionary to use the church phone, it would save the missionary literally hundreds of dollars.
6. Provide an office at the church. This would build more of a sense of accountability in the missionary to the sending church.
7. Support their own missionaries substantially more than they would missionaries from outside their church.
8. Allow the missionaries to be covered by their church staff insurance while on deputation.
9. Provide a vehicle or an automobile maintenance program.
10. Contact other pastors and urge them to allow the missionaries to come to their churches for the purpose of deputation.
11. Maintain regular contact with the missionary on deputation.
These are just a few suggestions. But, let us remember that statistically, the missionaries that have the greatest success in their deputation ministry and ultimately on the field are the ones that have the support and help of their sending church. Perhaps no church could do all of these, but if a sending church would pray and do as much for the missionary as it possibly can, it would certainly speed deputation.

Dear Ladies,
Ginnie Switzer is a missionary wife who lost her husband two years ago.  Rex had gone into Sudan to minister and train nationals. While he was there, he contracted a deadly form of malaria.

The following is an account of Ginnie’s experiences on her first trip into Sudan since  her husband’s death. Although this is lengthy article, please read; it will give you a glimpse of the dangers many missionaries face as they minister in difficult areas.

South Sudan Trip April 1-12, 2014 Ginnie Switzer

Thank you for praying for me! Prayer spans the miles and places us together at the foot of God’s throne. This account of my trip may seem long, but actually it is merely a snapshot of everything that happened.

Many of you asked for details of the trip so here goes….

My prayer is that it will encourage you, inspire you and motivate you to pray for your missionaries no matter where they are in the world.

Tuesday April 1
My flight from Addis to Gambella, Ethiopia was 1 ½ hours late leaving, nothing unusual for Ethiopian Airlines!

Upon arriving in Gambella the temperature change was dramatic. I always know it will be hot but you are never prepared for the drastic change.

I’ve been in airports all over the world, small & large but this is the first time I had seen luggage literally dumped on the tarmac. Everyone scrambled to find his or her belongings. I decided it wasn’t worth a fight so waited until the rush was over, making sure no one carried my 1 piece of luggage off with theirs!

My driver (Aki) that had brought my truck to Gambella, was waiting for me outside the airport but he did not have good news. The WFP (World Food Program) was meeting with other organizations to discuss the growing refugee problem on the border of Ethiopia & South Sudan. This meant there was not one room available for me for the night. You might be thinking, “Why didn’t you get bookings before coming?” We had tried for several weeks to do just that, but either could get no answer on the phone or the network was down, which is a common occurrence. We had no idea these meetings were taking place in Gambella. Aki knew I had a tent in the truck but had no idea where I could put it up. He had found a place for himself to stay, a rat hole, but told me I would be better off in my tent. I took his word for it!

I knew that the Gambella Bible Baptist Church would allow me to put up my tent by the church but it had been several years since I had been there. I didn’t know if I could locate it.

The way that I knew to get to the church was blocked. There had been no petrol in the town for several days. Hundreds of cars, trucks & various kinds of transportation had been lined up for days waiting for petrol to arrive. Usually you can buy petrol on the black market but even they had nothing.

We began driving & asking different ones how to get to the church. Finally we came upon a girl that knew what we were talking about. At least now we were heading the right direction. In the meantime, I had been trying to contact the person that I knew could contact the evangelist of the church, Simon Koang Kuon. After a couple of hours we made connections & were directed to the church.
The sun was going down & it would be dark soon.

If you’ve never put up a tent in the dark with others that don’t have a clue what to do, you haven’t had excitement! I finally got it up. I knew it wasn’t exactly right but thought; surely I can make it one night. The rain & wind came. I prayed. God kept it standing but it did take on water around the edges.

During the night one of the men of the church slept outside my tent on the ground. As it began to rain I told him to go to one of the huts to get out of the rain. He was reluctant to leave the door of my tent. With my insistence & the rain beating down, he was convinced. When the rain stopped, I heard him return.

Wednesday April 2
At 6 AM the sun was beginning to shine. The village was awake. I went outside & surveyed my tent situation. It had withstood the rain & wind. I wanted to let it dry some before taking it down. The church people that were in the area came to greet me. Aki had had a problem with a tire, so took the truck to get it fixed before I left for the border. I met with some of the people of the Gambella Bible Baptist Church & also Pastor James Dech of the Matar Bible Baptist Church.

I had needed to leave early as I had several stops to make before reaching the border but had another situation with the truck, which took time to resolve.

Aki didn’t want me to drive into South Sudan alone. He wanted to go with me. That had not been my agreement with him. I was not prepared to bring anyone along. I convinced him it was not in his best interest to go. He reluctantly agreed that he was not prepared for such a trip. It would be best for him to remain in Gambella & wait for my return.

After resolution of the truck issues I left town with Pastor John Choul of the Kuergong Bible Baptist Church. He had made his way on Tuesday to Gambella to ride with me to the border. It was after 10 AM & time was ticking away quickly. I needed to be in Maiwut, South Sudan before dark. It was going to be close.

The last time I had been on this road was with Rex; it was all dirt & took hours to traverse. This time it was paved! To me, it was like driving on a six-lane freeway!

Our first stop was Itang Bible Baptist Church, Pastor Joshua Kim Purbel. Because of the rain the night before, the road to the area of the church was mud. I found a place to leave the truck & began trudging through the mud. When I arrived, I found that the people (approx. 30) had gathered to greet me. They have no building & are meeting under the tree where I met them. They do have land to build on & are starting the process of building.

Getting back to the main road, took about 30 min. Our next stop was Pilual Bible Baptist Church, Pastor Peter Puot. It was not possible to drive the truck to the church, so once again I found a place I could leave the truck & began walking across dry, parched earth. I had no idea how far this would be. One always goes prepared with hat, water, walking stick & of course camera. We walked several kilometers in temperatures way over 100. By this time it was afternoon, which is the hottest part of the day. Two days before my arrival a wind had swept through this area. The wind literally ripped off the roof of their church. It looked like a tornado had hit it. The roof was all in one big pile on the side of the church. They were broken hearted & so was I. They are in the process of investigating how to put on another roof that will hold against the winds. Walking back to my truck I became sick. My body was trying to adjust to the extreme change in temperatures. This always seems to be a process I go through on these trips. Nothing unusual, but certainly not pleasant!

We continued our trip & arrived at the Kuergong Bible Baptist Church, Pastor John Choul, about 3 PM. I had taken 5 plastic chairs to this church & Pastor John & I had to unload the entire truck to get the chairs. We were both hot & exhausted but it had to be done. Pastor John went to his house & got water to pour over my head. This always helps! It is a known fact that if you can keep you head cool, it helps to cool off your internal body temperature. Peter Beach phoned, he & the authorities were waiting for us at the border. We were still over 2 hour’s drive away. We finally were able to get the truck re-loaded. I became sick again & had to stop for a few minutes, with more water poured over my head, before continuing the trip.

We were packed & ready to go again. We had to make a stop in the town to get a letter from the Ethiopian authorities to allow me past a checkpoint on the way to the border. This took about 35 minutes. Pastor John left me in the truck & proceeded to get the needed papers. I drew lots of attention from young & old, as a foreigner it a rare sight in this town. The people crowded around the truck & cut off any air that might have gotten to me. After some time waiting, Pastor John appeared with the necessary documents & we were off again.

Not too far down the road was the Ethiopian checkpoint. Usually it only requires a small bribe & you are allowed through. I had decided this would be my last option. Pastor John showed them the papers but they wanted the truck opened for inspection. I got out & proceeded to open the back for them. I thought before I offer a bribe, I will give them some of my precious water. As it ended up, they only wanted to show me they had power over me. My water was left in tact & no bribe was necessary! We left there on good terms with them, everyone including us, smiling & waving!

It took over 2 hours to reach the border of Ethiopia & South Sudan. As I approached the border, I had no idea what to expect. What I saw was a “sea of black”. Thousands of Nuers were gathered together. The tents began literally feet across the border. Many had fled their country, because of fear. Fear that the fighting would reach their homes. Many had left their homes because they knew food would be available in the refugee camps. Peter Beach, a man that has helped Rex & I for years, has employment with an organization that is working in this area. Peter’s job is to provide sanitation for the thousands of people. It is an impossible task! My heart was griped with the physical needs that I saw but more than the physical the spiritual need was overwhelming. Will they ever hear the truth?

We continued on a short distance. There I saw Peter & Pastor John Choul Jock, Maiwut Bible Baptist Church, waiting for me. It was so good to see their sweating faces! They had been waiting for hours on the border for us.

The “border” is a rope stretched across the road, with armed guards. Peter had a letter for me from the Military General charged with the protection of this part of South Sudan. On this man’s signature, I was allowed to cross into South Sudan. Passports or any other documents mean nothing to the Ethiopians or South Sudanese. These letters are the only documents that are recognized.

This is where I left Pastor John Choul. Peter, Pastor John of Maiwut & myself now began our journey in South Sudan to Maiwut. I was now on dirt roads again. They had been working on the road, so that was encouraging but it was only one small “lane”. Thankfully the entire trip we did not see another vehicle.

When we reached Maiwut, my first stop was to visit the military General that is in command of this part of the country. It was on his word that I was allowed to cross the border. He assured me they had had no problems in this area & he did not expect any forthcoming. He had heard many things concerning Rex & had many questions. We spoke for about 45 minutes. God opened the door for me to speak to him of the Gospel. He listened intently. When our meeting was over, he walked me to my truck & warmly welcomed me to speak to him again. That opportunity did not present itself but the door was left open.

As the General and I were walking to my truck I saw several groups of soldiers in the compound & outside of it. Women & men prepared to defend this area of the country. Of course being seen with their commander did not hurt me at all! I told Peter & Pastor John that when you see men & women carrying AK 47’s you just “smile and wave” & that’s what we did! During my stay in the bush on my compound, several patrols came by to meet me. It became common knowledge among them that I would give them water. Water is precious & the well is several kilometers from my compound.

We proceeded further into the bush, making our way to my compound. We passed the Maiwut Bible Baptist Church on our way. This is the church that Mrs. Art Wilson built in honor of her husband, who had preached the Gospel for many years & was Rex’s first pastor. I was thankful that Rex had been able to get the building finished & dedicated before God took him Home.

Waiting at the church was Deacon John & Guandiit – my compound guard. Pastor John proceeded to walk in front of the truck, on the path that the men had cut for me to drive the truck. It was hard to see the tree stumps. He knew I needed to avoid hitting them if at all possible.

I knew this journey would be a difficult one for me. I thought I was ready to face it but I wasn’t. I was not prepared for the overwhelming emotions that swept over me. It was difficult to drive for the tears coursing down my face. We finally drove onto the large compound Rex had forged in the bush, where he would build our home. When my feet touched the ground Rex was on when he gave his life executing the ministry God had entrusted to him, it was more than I thought possible to bear.

I walked to the other side of the huts Rex had had built to be alone, but these men that were with me, Peter Beach, Pastor John, Deacon John & Guandiit, would not allow it. They were at my side & began to sing & pray. Tears wet their faces as well. They prayed & sang until the Holy Spirit enveloped us with a peace that the world does not understand. They were not ashamed, they were not embarrassed to stand with me, to grieve with me. They had lost their “Father”, their teacher, their leader. They had lost the one that humanly had brought them hope. The one that had brought the Gospel to them, the one that had taught them the Word of God, the one that was to live among them. At that moment, I realized in many ways, they had lost more than I.

The sun was going & I needed to get the truck unloaded. They had cleaned out one of the huts for me to stay in. I was skeptical but knew it would please them greatly if I lived in the hut. I was prepared to give it a try until a saw a spider larger than my hand span, run across the room. I knew I just couldn’t do it. If there were spiders, then there could/would be snakes. I was more concerned about the snakes than the spiders! I told Peter I would have to set up my tent. Of course by now, it was dark. Peter’s English is good, so with instructions from me, we began working with the tent. After we were finished, I knew it wasn’t exactly right but couldn’t see to fix it. I told the other men to put everything from the truck into the hut. That pleased them that I was going to use the hut, even if it was just to store my belongings.

I was settled in my tent for the night. Peter, Pastor John & Guandit would stay in one of the huts for the night.

Rex & I always loved the bush. There are sounds that you hear in the bush that you will hear no other place. Night birds abound. Village dogs barking; protecting the cows & goats. Hyenas screaming; on the hunt for food. There is absolutely nothing like it! I was home!

Thursday April 3
Peter had planned to stay with me the entire time. Pastor John had asked me to teach some classes for the children but the refugee problem had taken center stage. Peter’s employers had demanded he return to the border to continue supervising & working with the sanitation problems. He was really between, as the saying goes, “a rock & a hard place”. We prayed about it & it was decided he would return to the border. He would come back to Maiwut on Saturday & I would have possibly 2 classes. No worries!

I realized the next day that beautiful birds were nesting in the hut with my belongings. I made it clear that in the morning the door was to be opened so they could leave & at night it was to be opened again so they could return. These birds became known as “my babies”. Everyone learned quickly of my love for birds & began to notice & enjoyed them as well

Pastor John had arranged for 2 girls to work for me. Rex had left large plastic barrels to store things in that we didn’t want to take back & forth to Addis. The day before I arrived Nabol & Nyaliap had emptied 2 of the barrels, washed them & began filling them with precious water. They had to walk several kilometers each way to bring the water to my compound. These were just teenagers. Later in the week I tried to lift one of the containers they had carried on their heads filled with water & I could not budge it off of the floor, using both hands!

Each morning the girls arrived early & started the fire to boil water for my tea. My clothes were washed, water brought if needed, general cleanup of the area was done & anything else that I requested all before 11 AM. This included pouring water over my head when they thought I was getting hot! They left & returned at 4:30 PM to cook my dinner. Nothing is done during the hottest part of the day unless it is an emergency.

Friday April 4
During the night a rain & windstorm came through. I didn’t know if my tent would withstand the pounding. I had nowhere to go if it caved in on me. God was my confidence. At 6 AM I went outside to find that the wind had blown down two large sections of the compound fence.
No problem! The men began looking through the bush for the best trees to cut & started the process of fixing the fence. I had decided that I needed to move my tent to another place to hopefully protect it from the winds. However, there was no one to help me move it at that time. Pastor John told me when they finished with the fence they would help me move the tent. OK that will work. Later that afternoon another wind came through & blew over my water filter that was full of water. It broke in many, many pieces. When making these trips you ALWAYS freeze as much water as you have room to bring. I had filled 2 chests with frozen, flavored water. I took only 4 bottles of plain water because I was going to filter the water I needed for cooking etc. Now with my filter broken, I had no water to cook with. Have you ever tried to brush your teeth with lemonade-flavored water? Not nice! Later that day we did get my tent moved & I felt it was in a better place for the next wind that was to come.

The tire that needed attention in Gambella had now gone completely flat. The girls & I decided we would change it. Nybol climbed on top of the truck & pitched the tire off like it was a feather. I know how to change a tire. The problem was the tire had gone too flat & the jack wouldn’t fit under it. I began to dig a hole where the jack would go so that it would fit in the space. That done, I proceeded to try to loosen the lug nuts. I have NO idea who put them on but even me jumping on the lug wrench wouldn’t budge them. By this time it was way over 100 degrees & too hot to try anymore!

As Nybol was bringing the chairs around the hut, she saw a snake crawl into one of the huts. She was going in after it when I stopped her. I didn’t want anyone getting bit because of me. I told the girls to leave & positioned myself where I could see the door of the hut. I wanted to know if/when the snake came out! Guandiit had left a little bit earlier & now Deacon John came through the walk gate. I proceeded to tell him about the snake. This is the hut in which they were sleeping! He banged on the door & the tin inside to get the snake to move but it didn’t. Deacon John decided the snake was asleep & would come out later but didn’t seem too concerned.

Much later Guandiit came & the story was told to him. He went in, hit things & eventually saw the snake. He said it was “little”. No one seemed to be bothered anymore & 3 men slept in the hut that night on the floor! I stopped asking about the snake, they didn’t think it was a problem. Why was I concerned?

Saturday April 5
This morning when I opened my tent, the zipper broke. This is a serious problem. You must keep your tent closed in the day to keep out spiders & snakes. You must keep it zipped at night to keep out spiders, snakes & mosquitoes. Trying to take out of your tent every morning everything you will need for the day is almost impossible. I tried. Therefore, I literally prayed it zipped every time. I knew my Heavenly Father knew far more than I the necessity of this zipper & as in everything else, He was more than sufficient!

Each day either early in the AM or just before the sun set I took a bush walk. Today I decided to walk to the water source. I knew it was a long way but thought I could make it & get back before it got too hot. Armed with my water, camera, hat & walking stick I started out. It was a beautiful morning, the birds were on the trail & people were busy about their early morning activities. I stopped at several compounds & did a little PR. Most people wanted me to take their picture. I always show them the picture after it is taken & everyone has a good laugh at themselves. By this time everyone in the area knew I was there & considered me one of the community. That is a good feeling!

I do not have a watch that I can wear in the bush. I always used a cheap watch that wouldn’t matter what happened to it. I failed to get one the last time I was in the US. I learned to watch the sun & before long could guess quite close to the correct time – on the hour.

I knew by the sun & the heat that I had gone as far as was advisable. I still had not reached the water & I had a long way to go on the return trip. I met a man along the trail & was able with my small vocabulary of Nuer to find out that the water was still a long way off. I turned around to go back to my compound. I guessed that I had gone over 2 kilometers when I decided to turn back. I couldn’t imagine carrying water those distances. I was having problems with my water bottle & camera!

Peter was scheduled to arrive today so I looked over the lessons I was going to teach. Pastor John came to tell me that he had not heard from Peter. There is no cell reception in South Sudan at this time. There is no way to communicate except by word of mouth & runner.

About 1 PM every day a group of boys came to my compound to play ball. I had an old WILSON ball that they used. It was so bad that we had to pump it up every 15 minutes. They didn’t care. My compound is the only place in many kilometers that there is room to run & play ball. One day I had over 30 juniors, teens & young adults that came to play for hours. Today was not an exception.

I have two large Baobab trees on my property. Baobab trees are found in the savannas of Africa & India mostly around the equator. They grow to exceed 25 Meters tall with a girth of 28 Meters & live 1000’s of years. They are leafless for 9 months of the year. The bark is used for cloth & rope, the leaves for condiments & medicines. The fruit “Monkey bread” is eaten. It has even been known that the trunks have been carved out for people to live in. It has been said that they look like the tree has been plucked up & stuffed back in the ground upside down. It is an interesting read on the INTERNET!

One is on the compound. Rex had planned to build the house so we would be able to see the tree outside our screened windows. There are no limbs on this tree until the very top. One day one of the boys kicked the ball into the limbs of this tree. There was no way to climb the tree, & these boys climb all the time! A discussion ensued as to how they were going to get this ball. It was decided that rocks were the answer. They all began looking for rocks & began throwing them at the ball. Honestly, I didn’t they had a chance but I was wrong. After about 5 minutes of rocks hurling through the air, a couple of the rocks made contact & the ball came falling from the tree. The game continued!

They boys found out that I liked Paw Paw (papaya). Every day when they came to play ball they came bearing fresh Papaya that they had picked. Yummy! I always insisted I share with them.

By dark, no one had heard from Peter so I knew something had kept him from coming to Maiwut.

Sunday April 6
I began my walk to Maiwut Bible Baptist Church, about 30 minutes before they would begin. Pastor John met me on the trail. The congregation has been cut by more than ½ since the problems began in the country. Many fled for fear the fighting would reach their homes.

Peter arrived during the service so Pastor John asked me to address the people. Peter had been unable to find a way to make the trip to Maiwut the day before. His employers had insisted he not leave when he needed to leave.

A new baby had been born in the congregation. As per tradition the father names the baby then the church gives it a name as well. The church named the baby Samuel. I was able to give them a new baby hat that had been knitted by ladies at Suncoast Baptist Church in Fla. Pictures were taken & everyone was pleased.

It was decided that another guard was needed for the property, as one guard could not take care of my compound & his own compound as well. I hired another one of the men in the church to fill the position. Actually, the men of the church discussed it & decided who would get the job! Everyone agreed so Deacon John was hired. He began work that day! This way they can take turns on Sunday going to church.

The next topic of discussion was the tire on my truck. I told them that I knew how to change the tire, if they would help me. 8 men of the church followed me back to my compound & we began the process of tire changing. You need to realize none of these men know how to drive, none of them know anything about fixing anything mechanical. I told them to wait, I was going to change clothes & then we could get started. Peter said, “You tell us what to do & we will do it”. I agreed but needed to get under the truck in order to show them where & how to place the jack. A picture of this would have been fantastic but the only one that knows how to take a picture (me) was under the truck, so you will just have to use your imagination!

The hole that I had started previously had to be dug deeper. Then the lug nuts had to be loosened. I was trying to explain the easier way to do it than with your hands. I put the wrench on the nut & one of the men sat down on the ground & with his bare hands turned the nuts. Before in Addis when I was practicing I was able to loosen them with my foot but this I could not do the day I tried. I don’t know if they had been tightened by a machine or not but they were unmovable. This man did it with his arms. I was impressed. Of course, all of the men cut down trees like it is nothing so they have the physical ability to do amazing things with just brute strength. After the tire was changed, they were preparing to tighten the nuts. I cautioned them not to make them too tight or no one would be able to get them off. They laughed & laughed! They all learned on that Sunday afternoon how to change a tire. The information may be helpful to them someday.

I told Peter about my water filter breaking. He said there was market several kilometers away & that SOMETIMES they have bottled water. He said he and Pastor John would walk there. If they had bottled water he would get some for me. I told him that since the truck is fixed, I will take you. They said no. They didn’t want me to be out in the heat, so off they went.

It was evening when my water appeared. Peter had found someone that was going to the border so he got a ride & would be back on Thursday. I was to leave on Friday morning.

Monday April 7
Pastor John came to tell me he was going to see the General to get the letter allowing me to leave South Sudan & enter Ethiopia. After making that trip he was unable to get the letter, as the General was not on the compound. He would need to try another day.

Pastor James Chot of the Fugnido 12 Bible Baptist Church, arrived. He had made the trip across the border in order to see me. His people had built their building but needed a roof before the rains began. Fugnido is a refugee camp that has been in place for over 20 years. This is home for these people & they choose not to leave. However, they have no access to the materials needed for a roof. They are allowed out of the camp but if they go in & out too much, they have problems. I admit I don’t understand all of this situation, but we have 2 churches in this huge camp. I was there one time with Rex. It is really unbelievable the amount of people in this place.

Today a herd of cattle came onto the compound. I told Guandiit, not to worry. I was to be sorry for that statement. My laundry was on the line. One huge bull, with large, Texas style horns, decided he would eat my clothes. It was afternoon & quite hot. Deacon John was asleep in his chair. He heard me screaming & saw me running but didn’t know what was going on. He chased me, to find me running after this bull trying to get back my clothes. One of the boys playing ball, began to chase the bull & eventually the animal dropped my clothes. We were all laughing before it was over. I’m sure there were a lot of laughs that night at “Maandiit” – this is what the boys called me, it means “grandmother”.

Tuesday April 8
These days passed with what became normal happenings.

Early before light, ladies would pass on the trail going to cut thatch for their homes. About 3 PM they would once again pass my compound with their loads on their heads. They always stopped & greeted me. Laughing at how I thought it was fantastic what they could do, when for them, it was as normal as breathing was for me. They even wanted me to take a picture of them, which I happily did.

Most people that passed yelled to me a greeting & loved that I could answer them.

I had taken only a few women’s clothing to give away. I only had so much of my own clothes that I could get rid of. The need is great among the women but until now the only clothes I had to give were Rex’s.

One of the teen girls from the church came one day & asked for clothes. She was wearing rags. I dug through what was left & found a blue/black dress that buttoned all the way down the front with a tie in the back. Most of my clothes will only work for the teen girls. I’m short & these ladies are VERY tall. This girl was so happy that she had tears in her eyes. I thought, Lord, how much we take for granted. Most of these women are in rags & I have nothing left to give.

This day the girl was back with some other girls just to see me. I noticed that she had on the “dress” that I had given her but the top had been cut off & she was wearing what was left as a skirt. I was puzzled & decided to try to find out why they had cut off the top. I didn’t understand. She proceeded to tell me with a few words of Nuer & signs, that the day I gave her the dress, she had taken it home & washed it. She hung it on the line to dry. A large bull had pulled it off the line & eaten it! She said she cried & cried. They had to cut off the top of the dress where it had been eaten to make a skirt she could wear. I cried with her. Imagine buying a new dress, planning to wear it the next day & something happening that basically destroyed it. How devastated would you be? I had nothing left to give her.

I wondered if it was the same bull that had tried to eat my clothes! Probably so! That bull must have some sort of mental problem, eating clothes?

I was told that before Rex began putting up our fence there were no villages in that area. After he began work on our compound, 2 large villages sprung up around us. To me, they are a long distance from my compound but to these people who walk everywhere, it is not far.

Wednesday April 9
Pastor John went again to the General’s compound & was able to get the letter from him that was needed, allowing me to leave South Sudan & asking that I be allowed to enter back into Ethiopia.
The letter was dated April 11.

Thursday April 10
I had begun packing away things that I was not taking back to Addis & trying to get a head start on the packing for the next day, when I was scheduled to leave. I knew it would take a lot of time for me to get everything taken down & packed in the truck. Men would be there to help me on Friday, but would only be able to work with me on my instructions. There wasn’t much for the girls to do as I had run out of laundry soap & was putting things away. They did some work, helped me wash my hair & then I told them to leave & return later in the afternoon when it was cooler. They seemed happy with this because it was getting very hot earlier than usual.

I began to notice men running down the trail with their spears. This was not a normal happening. I noticed the boys had not come to play, there were no women around nor were there children anywhere.

Something was going on.

Deacon John & I were sitting under the tree trying to stay cool when one of the younger men of the church came by with his spear. He told us the fighting was not too far away & he was going to see what was going on. If it was nothing, he would be back. By this time Guandiit had arrived. Deacon John, Guandiit & myself tried to dissuade this man from taking this action. This man is impulsive & tends not to think before he acts. They could not change his mind & off he went. I never saw him again. This was about 1:45 PM. Around 2:15 PM, Pastor John & several men of the church came onto the compound. They began to tell me what had happened. An Ethiopian construction crew had been attacked & one man killed. The men that did this belonged to a tribe that fought for the government. The fighting was now 2 kilometers from my compound. They asked me to consider leaving. Where was I to go? The border was hours away. The border guards did not know what was happening & would not let me cross the border as my letter was for the 11th & this was the 10th. It would be dark before I could reach the border, then where was I to go? The men that were attacked had been on the road so that didn’t seem the wise place to be. There were no answers.

Pastor John told me, “this is our country we will fight to protect our families”. Could I blame him?

Pastor John was the spokesman for the group, but they had all agreed upon what was to be said before arriving at my compound. We discussed many things. They spoke of Rex & his love & devotion to the Nuer people. I told them that before Rex left on the last trip he had told me he prayed God would let us die with the Nuers. God answered his prayer.

I asked them if we could pray about this before a decision was made. God knew what was going to happen & He would guide us as to our decision. They agreed with smiles. After some time, Pastor John prayed. After he prayed, he told me the decision what I was to do, was mine to make. They would not decide for me but whatever I decided they would back me completely. These are their feelings in my words. He said, God will direct our decision! He was so right.

As I sat there through it all, on a hot afternoon in South Sudan, I was asking God to show me what to do. What was the best thing for them? As an American I could be caught in a hostage situation. If they were harboring an American they could suffer the consequences. So many thoughts ran through my mind.

God reminded me of a passage of scripture that Rex loved. I heard him preach it many times & never tired of hearing the life’s truth behind this scripture.
Eccl. 11:1   Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.
Eccl. 11:2   Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.
Eccl. 11:3   If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.
Eccl. 11:4   He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.
Eccl. 11:5   As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.
Eccl. 11:6   In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.
Eccl. 11:7    Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:
Eccl. 11:8   But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.
Eccl. 11:9   Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.
Eccl. 11:10   Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.

God called to my mind verse 4 specifically. Eccl. 11:4 He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.

If we serve God according to circumstances we will never do anything for Him. As we look to our Bibles, the majority of time the circumstances were against God’s people. Decisions were made according to “what does God want me to do” The surrounding circumstances did not determine the decisions.

I expressed to the men that I fully understand & comprehended what they were saying, what was at stake. I understood bullets & what they could do.

I told them that God had given me peace to stay right where I was & my time was in His hands NOT the soldiers.

After this was translated, I saw relief & smiles come across each face. This is what they had determined but wanted it to be my decision.

Pastor John then said, “We will speak of this no more”! That was that!

They began going about their business & at that time it was preparing their guns & spears. Many men came by the compound, stopping to chat about the situation & forming plans. There was no tension, no further discussion with me. Some of the boys came & played. These were sons of the men that were there. That night there was much laughing & fellowship. There was the realization that our times are in our Father’s hands. It always is, but when faith takes hold it becomes reality.

No one had heard from Peter. Unknown to us Peter could not find a ride & had begun walking to Maiwut, which would take over 6 hrs. On his way, the truck passed him that had been attacked. They begged him to go with them across the border to Ethiopia. He was going the wrong way! He told them NO, he must go on. This was when Peter learned of the problem. He told me, “ I had to get to you”. He did arrive later that evening. He had not eaten all day. Some of the men were gone to get food to bring back to my compound. I was able to give Peter food & water. They were all glad to see him when they got back. I don’t know how many slept on my compound that night. As was my norm, when it started to get dark I went to my tent. As I prayed that night, God reminded me of many scriptures. Whatever He was going to do it would be for my good & His Glory. As in Ps 109:27 David said, “ That they may know that this is thy hand; that thou, LORD, hast done it. “ To these Nuer men, it wasn’t a question of IF the fighting would reach us, it was the question of WHEN.

God reminded me of the story in 2 Kings 6:16-17  And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

I’m convinced in our lives that God has to “open the door” so to speak for harm to come to his children. We see this over & over in God’s Word.

At 10 PM I heard 2 gun shots in the distance, that was all. The remainder of the night had only the “normal” sounds of the bush.

Friday April 11
The next morning, they were all smiles. God took care of us! Yes, He did. He protected not only us, but all of this community. My last communication with Peter was yesterday (April 24). He told me all is quiet in Maiwut. No fighting EVER came. They know it was God’s doing!

We began the process of packing up. We were on the road by 9 AM. Of course it took about an hour to get to the road that would lead to the border.

As we passed through Pagak we saw the Pagak Bible Baptist Church, Pastor Peter Gatkuoth. We did not stop as the pastor was away. We stopped at Peter’s home to leave some books I had brought for him. His mother was not there as she had taken the cattle to the river. While at his home 2 trucks full of troops came by & asked “Who is this woman?” Peter told them, “She is a Maiwut woman”. That was all they needed to hear. I was considered one of the community.

We made the journey to the border without incident of any kind. We had no problem with the Ethiopian soldiers getting back across the border. Of course, someone wanted a ride & as PR we have agreed. It never hurts to help the police when you can! We let this man out at the next town.

As we were passing one of the camps, Peter told me “This is where Rebekka (his wife) & family ( 5 children) are living”. He then screamed at me to stop. There was Rebekka along the road waiting to see him. She had not been able to get any communication to him. Their 2 month old son, Mal, was very sick & she needed to get him to the Dr. I already had 2 men & all of their things in the cab but they squeezed Rebekka, Mal & another son into the truck & we were off again. I knew the baby was very sick. I had some ideas of what the problem could be but he definitely needed to see a Dr.

We finally arrived in Gambella. Peter didn’t want to leave me until Aki arrived but I told him he must go & get Mal to the clinic. Aki did arrive & took me to the place I would be staying the night. After all the NGO’s left, there were hotel rooms available. Later that night Peter came to my hotel. He told me that Rebekka had Malaria, Mal had malaria & his other son had Typhoid & Typhus. He also told me that he had Malaria. I realized then that he had walked over 6 hours to get to Maiwut while fighting the malaria. He could have easily died on the road. God protected him as well!

I left the next afternoon, Saturday April 12, to fly back to Addis.

Each day spent in the bush God did so many things for me that time or space won’t allow to share. God had protected me from rain, wind, snakes, spiders, huge ants & many other animals. He had protected the truck and Aki, my driver in Ethiopia. He had provided petrol when there was none. He had protected me & the entire community of Maiwut from government troops. Every step of the way He had gone before me.

As a child of the King there is nothing better than being in the place He has for you. There is no safer place for the child of God than in His perfect will. This doesn’t mean that things don’t happen; it means He is with you & knows the end from the beginning. Nothing is allowed to touch you until it goes through His hands first. Seek His will; He will give you peace that you can’t explain. When you know what to do, do it, no matter what comes. In the end, no matter what happens, you will know you were where He wanted you & doing His will in your life. That is all you need.

Serving God is an adventure. There is nothing in this world like it!

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