Ah, what a week this week has been! On Monday, Michele preached at the bolis (police) station. That was absolutely fabulous. Let me also say that Michele was very ill with malaria when she preached- God gave her the message and the strength to deliver it. It was wonderful to see the police respond to the call to receive the Light of the world that overpowers any darkness. Most of the police force prayed to give their lives to Jesus, and then one of the officers invited us to come back to bring Bibles and do discipleship!!! We got 4 boxes of Bibles to them on Wednesday, and we’re praying for wisdom in how to follow up with discipleship. Yeah, so Monday=AMAZING.
Tuesday came next, naturally. It was Michele’s day to leave Sudan for a 3 week adventure to Canada, Alaska, and Holland. She was still feeling quite weak from the malaria, so she needed God’s grace to sustain her, for sure. Well, we tried to get her to the airport, but our Land Rover wouldn’t start- and our driver/mechanic was sick. Eventually, we found another way, and we made it to the airstrip in time for her to catch the plane. Praise God for that! Without our Land Rover, simple tasks like transporting our staff and doing weekly grocery shopping becomes very difficult. So, we tried our best that day to find the issue in the vehicle, but nothing… so our amazing Sudanese staff found ways to get by without the vehicle.
Wednesday morning, we went off early to government offices to finalize the paperwork on our land. (A friend took us, as our vehicle was still out of commission.) What was meant to be a simple process of getting two signatures and paying the final remaining court fee turned into an all day affair- which, may I add, was unsuccessful. Apparently, we unintentionally paid a bribe to get our case into the magistrate. I didn’t realize it was a bribe until the secretary took the money. He took it very discretely and pocketed it. What does one say in that moment? “Hey- don’t I get a receipt for that?” “Were you supposed to put that money in your pocket?” “What is this fee for, again?” or “GIVE ME BACK THE MONEY, YOU OPPORTUNISTIC BUREAUCRAT!” No words came to my mind, and the money was so quickly pocketed and the secretary into another office that I found myself sitting there praying that somehow, God would redeem that money and purify the hearts of the officials. By afternoon, the magistrate called us into his office to tell us that he had too much important business to sign our paper that day. “You’ll have to come back tomorrow.” So much for bribes, huh? Well, we used the remainder of the afternoon to buy the Bibles, deliver them to the bolis station, and to hold a staff meeting back on compound.
Thursday took us back to the government offices, where the magistrate’s secretary tried to double our court fees, presumably to pocket half of the money for himself. We insisted that we needed a receipt for the money- and would only pay the fee prescribed in our land documents. He grew annoyed and told us that the cashier was the only one who could issue a receipt. Of course, the cashier was out of town. We said we would wait to speak with the magistrate, who again told us to come back the next morning. We took the rest of the day to call a mechanic to fix our Land Rover, as our mechanic was still ill. He replaced some breakers and fuses- simple enough- and tried to charge us through the teeth for his services. Eventually he cut his price about 60% as a “donation” to the kids at our center. Nice guy. So, now that the Land Rover was working again, I became the designated driver to transport our staff home for the evening. I was planning to have Bible study with the girls on Thursday night, but the message wasn’t properly circulated, and nobody showed up. Ah, well, the girls asked if we can just do two Bible studies next week to make up for it. That works for me! 🙂 I love how excited our older kids are to learn more about the Bible!
Friday. I was up early to go pick up the staff in the Land Rover. Back to the base for a quick breakfast before returning to the court. Amazingly enough, the cashier wasn’t back in town, so we were asked to return on Monday. No big deal. Back to the base to organize some financial issues and to take final reports from Chris, our construction manager, who is leaving us next week. Reports in hand and accounts closed for the day, John, one of our senior staff, and I loaded up to do some home visits in Minyori. A blind woman with two children we sponsor at school and a single father we provide with baby formula for his infant son. Great visits. Good times of prayer with both families. The blind woman gave her life to Jesus! It was beautiful. Back to base. One of our babies hasn’t been eating much at all lately. He’s HIV-positive, which can account for a lack of appetite. I’ve been trying to cuddle him and feed him as often as I’m on base, toting him around with me between staff meetings and such. Well, on Friday afternoon, he ravenously ate an entire plate of food! That was such a beautiful gift from Jesus, as I’ve been praying for him to have an appetite all week! Bible study and prayer with the boys in the evening, and then sleep. Beautiful sleep.
Saturday dawned with rain blowing in my window. The high wind had managed to blow open the shutters! My bed was wet, but I was too tired to care. I closed the shutters and curled back up in bed. Sleep. 🙂 I had some wonderful time with Jesus this morning and into part of the afternoon before heading into town with the older boys for their first soccer game! They wore their new, bright yellow uniforms that a third grade class in Missouri sent to them! They looked very good in their uniforms, and played equally well, winning the game 2-1. THANK YOU MRS. FOX’S CLASS!!! (I’ll get photos to you soon!)
So, that’s been the week. Just wanted to share. Thanks for reading; thanks for loving; thanks for praying. Much love to you all!