Monday, June 29, 2015

PART 1: Our reflections on our Spring 2015 Trip to Borongole, South Sudan - June 2015

 First, we want to thank all of you for holding the ropes for us with your prayers & support, helping us to go. What a miracle!!
 As we drove north to South Sudan we faced potentially difficult situations, horrendous road conditions, antagonistic officials, & absolutely chaotic traffic, but we had great peace & even enjoyed the adventure!  Our safety was not in our circumstances, but in the care of the One you had asked to keep us safe. He truly kept us in His care.   

“In peace I will both lie down & sleep. 
For YOU alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.” Ps 4:8

           The sign when turning on Borongole Rd. nearing  the village, I thought, “This is Jon’s home!”  & started to cry

The Lord intervened on our behalf when we arrived at the border & they refused to give us,  Lueken’s,  visas  & would not  return our passports. William Levi (a native of South Sudan & head of Operation Nehemiah) gathered us to pray & after saying ‘Amen’, a man stood there to talk with him.  After much discussion, the man left & came back with our passports stamped and even returned all our visa fees!!!... a total miraculous intervention!

The roads continued to be an adventure in & around Borongole, but His peace reigned in this place that just a number of years ago was stark and desolate.  

William Levi declared the good news that children now out number adults 4 to 1!

"One thing that's almost hard to comprehend is what has taken place on the very ground I've traveled and am sitting on. I passed over the hill that the SPLA (freedom fighters) made their last ditch effort and successfully held off the Muslim north. There's a burned out military truck there. Also, the village I'm at now was totally wiped out or chased off by the Muslims. The LRA (abducted children's army) was also really active here. Now the area is a peaceful village with children running around playing happily. The Lord is good!." 

The welcome & the generous hospitality we received from the people of Borongole, was awesome!  It was so great to get to know the leadership & the families there on the ground. Working beside them, sharing meals & times of fellowship, have really knit our hearts to theirs.  The challenges in this country are great, but God is equipping these dear people in incredible ways. The deep work in the hearts of many by the Holy Spirit was evident. Yes, there remains sin and complicated relational challenges as in any clan/family or tribal culture, but GOD is indeed working there as well. 

<Pastor Michael Levi to us:
“While he is here in Africa, I am the father of Jonathan & his mother is my wife…
Because of the love of Jonathan & also the love that he has together with William and Hannah,
Today, God says, that you come.  They will come & 
then the time will be reached for you all to meet in one place.
So you are most welcome!”

God is blessing the families that work with Operation Nehemiah in Borongole, South Sudan. This nation has little infrastructure & is hoping to become a 3rd world nation. The evidence of God’s generosity to families connected with Operation Nehemiah is clear, as is the evidence of His working in their hearts. They remember returning from the refugee camps being so destitute, that they could only think of their own needs. 

Their generosity, now, is born out of God’s faithful answers to their prayers.  Just in the past couple years,  God provided a well in the village & opportunities for the men to work in either brick production, farming, or setting up a family store (as two families have done, etc). These opportunities & blessings from God have caused them to reach out to others in the surrounding area who have greater needs.  We brought some 200 lbs. of clothes to share with them & we witnessed one of the heads of households gathering up a bag of clothes for a family nearby, whom he  said were “almost naked”.  They see that they are being blessed to be a blessing.

He is also at work in our own hearts…  (Keep in mind that Emma did not want to go to Africa): Emma’s Journal summary - May 2, 2015

I’m home!  I flew into Boston with a heavy heart, 1/2 of which has been stolen by a little village called Borongole. The children stole it, the hilarious, fun couples pulled at it, & my new friends captured it. One of those is Joyce, the niece of William Levi & my friend, whom I cooked with every day.
I miss all of it.  The living conditions, the work load, the nature, the food, the people, and the Freedom. You can ride in the back of a dump truck with 20 other people and have a grand time of fellowship and fun. You can share a meal with your neighbor uninvited, then sit and hang out for as long as you want with no pressure to go anywhere or do anything. You could become very fit and strong as you perform the necessary domestic chores of cooking, washing, hauling water and carrying fire wood.  I miss it and I want to live in it…. possibly forever.   True story.

Operation Nehemiah Missions,
 Rebuilding the Family, the Church & Community In the Republic of South Sudan.
P.O. Box 2401 Plainville MA 02762 USA  Phone: 774-254-4336