Monday, August 1, 2011

Website is Up!

The website is finally online! Visit for more details, stories, pictures, and video concerning my travels in Sudan last summer. This blog has also been hosted on the site for reference to my writings. That can be seen by clicking the "Journal" tab.

God bless,

Friday, September 24, 2010

Still Understanding Sudan

I have been back from Sudan for almost 6 weeks now.  Last Sunday at church I vividly relived an experience I had in Sudan.  It meant little to me at the time, but now I understand why I had it: so that I could know God's love for me more.

In the middle of worship the Lord revived my memory of the day I slaughtered a goat in Sudan.  It was so bloody, so messy, and just horrific.  The Father and the Son went through this horrible ordeal for me.  When I killed the goat, I felt it's life-blood on my hands.  I'm not about to get theological, but I wonder, did the Father feel the life of His Son in his hands?  They suffered so much.

I also remember, although I was not present for the experience, the second goat we slaughtered in Sudan.  I heard the story that Jonathan had the knife on the goat's neck when Donato came running: "Not that goat!  Not that goat!"  He came and spared the goat's life.  A different goat was killed.  That is what Jesus did for me.  When the knife was put to my throat, He came running, yelling "Not that goat!  Not that goat!  I love him!"  He came and He spared me, and placed Himself under the knife that was meant for me.  His life was taken.  Blood and water flowed from His side.  The Father watched as He died.

O Lord, your love is so good.

The Lord showed me these things and much more during worship last Sunday, and I left knowing His love for me unlike ever before.

I am back in SLO for college.  I am still working on a video documentary of my experience in Sudan.  It will be released soon.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

All Things to All People

"For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them...I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some." (1 Corinthians 9:19-22)

After teaching the pastors last week I became convicted of something.  I taught them two hours every day, but when it was lunch time I retreated to the compound where I ate tasty westernized food with my missionary friends.  In the meantime the pastors remained in the corner eating something else with the rest of the Dinka compound workers.  It seemed to counterfeit my love for them by not sharing their same meal.  So this week I have done differently.  I have instead been sharing my lunch with the pastors and eating their food.  They eat a bean/rice/lentil mush and a homemade bread.  It's pretty good!  They have no utensils, so there's lots of finger-licking (imagine eating refried beans with your hands).  But torn-off pieces of bread serve as edible scoopers.

On Monday they were very surprised.  Monica, who prepares the food, resisted me at first but I insisted, and she was very happy.  It's unusual for the Dinka to be sharing their lunch with a white person, but it has been a tremendous blessing to both them and me.

I am half-way finished in a survey of Luke.  Today I taught on parables from Luke 10-14.  The study has really changed my idea of ministry, service, and love.  It's been very good.

Two more days...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

One Gospel Down! One to Go...

Yesterday I finished teaching a survey of the Gospel of Mark to the 12 pastors here.  What a joy it was!  I learned very much.  They are all quite interested in understanding the scriptures and are (usually) pretty alert.  I teach after lunch for two hours, and every day they heartily greet me "my Teacher!"  I am glad that the scriptures have blessed them as much as they have considering some of them are twice my age.  At one point when Jesus teaches on divorce they were quite surprised when I revealed I'm single.  Laughter filled the room.  The culture here makes for so much comedy.  They (thankfully) had no questions on the passage, and with a smile I told them that if they did to talk to Sebit.  More smiles.

Today is a day of rest.  It is very good just to sit and savor the moment.  Oochi (the dog) chewing a bottle.  The kids jump-roping.  Donato fixing a bike.  An outbreak of centipedes from a nest under my feet.  Watching the clouds.  Seeing the lightning.  Anticipating the thunder.  Wow, loud thunder.  It is very good taking time to stop, eyes open.

Six days left, and then leaving on a jet plane!

Monday, August 2, 2010

First Day of Bible School

Wow.  I taught the pastors this afternoon for two hours from the Gospel of Mark.  I covered Mark 1-3.  I have been studying pretty intensely the past few days and have been richly blessed.  I am a teacher by day and a student by night; what a joy it is to be a conduit of God's Word and teaching others to know Him.

I suspect that I will be well exhausted by the end (as I should).  Please pray for energy and an increase of God's blessing.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What We (the Church) Really Need

I just finished preaching at the compound an hour ago.  As I was preparing the past 24 hours, I really couldn't figure out what to teach.  I didn't worry about it, and I didn't want to just teach something for the heck of it.  In faith I spent less time in forceful (fruitless) studying and spent more time praying and worshiping.  After dinner and a good conversation with Stephanie, I basically went to bed.  But that's not a fair depiction; I meditated and prayed in bed for a good while until I fell asleep.  I knew I needed to speak my heart, or rather God's heart in me.  Before falling asleep I thought I was to preach about transformation as a Christian.  And soon after I realized that even more than transformation, people need an encounter with Jesus.  An encounter with Jesus is transformation.  Whether it's a blind Bartimaeus, the demon-possessed man in the tombs, or Paul on the road to Damascus, Jesus brings transformation when people encounter Him.

In the morning I prepared a little for the message, brainstorming a few passages or ideas.  But 90 minutes before church started I stopped preparing.  I didn't even have a much written down.  But I knew my need to be with Him in that moment, and not just study Him.

That's what I need even more than study: actually abiding in Him and valuing His Presence.  He is where transformation is.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Bible School Approaching

This weekend about 15 pastors from Tonj and the surrounding region are coming to stay at the compound for 8 weeks.  This semester they will be surveying the New Testament, and Sebit has asked me to teach through Mark and Luke before I leave.  That means teaching an overview of one gospel a week, because I leave on August 13.  So...I've got my work cut out for me.  Please pray for my times of study to be anointed with worship and thanksgiving to the Lord as He speaks to me through His Word.  I'm on the home stretch!

Also, I am preaching this Sunday at the compound.  You can pray for that as well.