As Nancy and I prepare to fly back to Doro tomorrow, let me apologize for a woefully-kept blog site. The blessings are many at Doro; the challenges likewise are many. Our health team and SIM family are a great blessing. The friends and fellow-workers among our Sudanese family are as well a constant encouragement to us. The seasonal floods this month were extensive and damaging, but have begun to recede in the past week.
The attached newsletters will tell a piece of the story of our lives in 2012, as we prepare now for the arrival of a building team from Oregon, and a team of evangelists from Ethiopia during November-December. These are exciting days in Doro! In Christ, Rob and Nancy
....looking back to July, and a 'NEW CAR' for Doro...
As we celebrate the first birthday of South Sudan, the news
reports coming out of this country are replete with stories of tragic
circumstances and frustrated expectations.
However, there are bright lights shining in the
darkness. The source of that light is God Himself, whose hand controls
the destiny of the nations. Scripture instructs us in the powerful words
of Isaiah read by Eric Liddell’s character in the movie Chariots of Fire
“Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck
of dust on the scales… All the nations are as nothing before Him. He it
is who reduces rulers to nothing, who makes the judges of the earth
meaningless.” He reigns.
I met a few of Christ’s bright lights today… There was
a well-dressed, gentle mother with her poorly-nourished, ill child, telling me
she fled from Khartoum last month and made her way here, only to be confronted
by even greater desperation. There was a Sudanese Community Health
Worker, Masir, standing in front of the crowd of patients in the early morning
light, explaining that Jesus Christ is the One who knows and can meet our
deepest needs and leading them all in prayer. There was a Kenyan health
worker, sharing in our clinic ‘morning report’ how God responded so graciously
to a man like Abraham; and how the same God answered prayer a few nights ago
giving breath and life to a breathless, gasping baby with severe bronchiolitis.
Finally, there was Neil, a missionary nurse from Scotland, sitting
in the clinic with his blistered, infected feet up on a chair being ministered
to by another nurse. Neil’s feet are a bright light to me – a reminder
what it means to be ‘shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace.” A
week ago he walked with our son Stephen and some Sudanese fellows to a distant
and neglected community more than six hours south of Doro, bringing spiritual
encouragement and the promise of help during these days of malarial rain.
He suffered. His feet are a mess! But his feet remind me that even
as Christ suffered in His flesh to redeem us, so our suffering is a light,
revealing the glory and triumph of the Cross (Galatians 6:14).
True, the news coming out of South Sudan is replete with
stories of tragic circumstances and frustrated expectations. Might it be
possible that the Lord has in mind a plan for this mass of 100,000 unreached
and previously-remote groups of people who’ve gathered on our doorstep?
Must they simply suffer here for a year or two, then gather up what remains and
return to a barren life in a remote corner of a country which does not want
them? Or have they come to this place, at this time, to hear the Good
News that came to other shepherds 2000 years ago: “Fear not, for behold,
I bring you good tidings, of great joy, which shall be to all people! For
unto you is born this day… a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
One effective way to reach these crowds would be to empower
a band of 7 or 8 Ethiopian believers to come over from Addis Ababa, the capital
of our neighboring country. In fact, they are ready to come. The
Kale Heywet Church numbers in the millions of Ethiopian evangelical Christians,
and some of our most effective team members here in Sudan are from that
fellowship of thousands of churches. They’ve sent evangelistic teams to
difficult places like India and Pakistan, and we wonder – Why not here?
Why not now?
Pray with us that a team might be mobilized to come for six
weeks, from early November this year when the rains have ended. Such a
team would find help from their own churches for travel to Juba, but would need
us to raise more than $10,000 for travel within South Sudan. We’ll need
to build concrete pads on which we can erect canvas tents we’ll purchase and
bring from Kenya for $2,000 apiece. Then we’ll need beds; plastic chairs
and tables; a mud & thatched kitchen; cook-stoves; pots, pans, food to
cook, and so forth; a pit latrine, bucket shower, and thatched shelter from the
sun. It will cost us $30,000 to see it happen.
Is it possible? For the price-tag of a new car, a team
of experienced African evangelists proclaiming the love of Christ, day after
day, from one end of the camp to the other, seems too small a price. But
realize that one of those evangelists may be a woman named Tibarek, and some of
you will recall that a few years ago we traveled with her out of Sudan with the
lifeless body of her husband, who died of cerebral malaria in just their fourth
year of marriage. They paid a great price for the proclamation of the
Gospel in Sudan.
Is such an effort possible? We think this is the
Lord’s kind of project, and believe He will provide what we need to prepare the
way. If you want to give, you can do that online at www.sim.org
and donate to Project #98103 South Sudan Church Discipleship Project and add a
note “Doro 2012 Evangelism Team” so we can identify the gift. If you’re
more familiar with sending to our Ministry Account #11269 you can do that with
the note: “Congdon Ministry Account – Doro 2012 Evangelism Team”.
Please pray that the Lord’s hand of blessing would be on
this effort, preparing the right people even now for such a team, for such a
time as this.
With love and prayer, from Doro. Rob and Nancy