Monday, October 11, 2010

Sudan - Part One



There is almost so much, I don't know where to start. Forgive me if I struggle to make sense. The beginning of a story seems the most natural place, so I will do just that.

Matt's first few rounds of the current chemotherapy protocol was tough. It laid him out for a couple of days. This reaction prompted him to cancel all but two previous engagements on his fall schedule. There were some huge opportunities and events that he had to unfortunately decline. This all happened in the spring. At the end of June, we found out there were some openings on a Village Church team trip to Sudan. With an historical referendum coming up in January, we knew this would be our best shot at visiting this country. We accepted the positions only three months away from the departure date.

There was a part of me that wasn't sure it would pan out for me. Maybe it was that subconscious piece that protects my heart from pain. I really wanted to go.

As the trip details starting to take shape, I realized I would be among three women who would be teaching a women's conference--a first for our sister church in Sudan. I would not consider myself a teacher. Honestly, I just don't know if I am or not. I've had very few opportunities to exercise that gift. I am much more comfortable singing or leading worship. However, even that comfort has come with a decade of using that gift. Either way, I was needing to prepare to teach biblical womanhood to a group of women with whom I had little in common culturally. I knew I could get by with sharing thoughts about biblical womanhood with women whose lives looked like mine but what on earth would I have to offer these women??

I felt the Lord saying to me (often through others) that He had prepared me in advance and would give me everything I would need. He delivered.

My friend Dawntoya Thomason and I (the third woman was unable to make the trip) taught 20 Sudanese women biblical womanhood 5 hours a day for 5 days. Teaching stretched and challenged me more than anything I'd ever experienced in such a short amount of time. I have never felt the Lord nearer. In the States, I can start off with time in the Word and quickly go on with my life, "leaving" Him at my dining room table. In Sudan, I had to depend on Him for every word, every breath, every step. I felt Him upholding me constantly. I am grateful for your prayers because I KNOW they were working something amazing! In our first session, two women came to faith. Praise the Lord!

Though we had to communicate via interpreter, the Lord communicated His truth to the hearts of our hearers. They were so grateful to receive instruction. It was life to them. Simple truths that we who've grown up in the church take for granted were treasured gems to these women. Knowing they were created in the image of God brought new meaning to their life. Knowing they were created for the glory of God brought greater purpose to their everyday. Knowing they were created for fellowship with God brought a profound peace.

I want to share with you a few of these faces. Will you pray that the Word taught to them will have found fertile soil in their hearts?




There's still much more to share. Stay tuned...

9 comments:

Julie Keefe said...

Cannot wait to hear more. Don't hold back.

Noelle said...

I am so excited to hear the ways God used you and the team to touch the lives of the women in Sudan. I have found that in the moments of me feeling the most inadequate are the times when my heart gets a more clear picture of just how adequate He is in every situation. It leaves a yearning to never forget that feeling and that place of complete dependence on Him. I am so thankful to have been able to labor with you and the team in prayer for the hearts of these women who believed and those whom have yet to be set free! Looking forward to hearing more stories of how God moved in the hearts of the Village team and the hearts of the people!

The Hafts Happenings said...

Thank you for sharing this! Will pray the Word taught to the precious women fell on fertile soil in their hearts. Excited to hear you exercise your teaching gift to the women of The Village this month.

Amanda said...

Five hours a day for five days? Girl! That's so awesome.

Melissa Rowe Smith said...

So glad your writing about this, so soon after returning. I know it's hard to put experiences like this to paper (or computer screen), but it's a blessing to read & to pray for these Sudanese women.

I'm really looking forward to hearing more! Keep writing :)

Kristyn said...

Love hearing about your trip & Sudan! Thanks for sharing!

Ashlee Van Deventer said...

Hi, my name is Ashlee. You don't know me, but I just want you to know how much you guys have encouraged my husband and I, through a season of growing deeper in fellowship and love with the Lord. Thank you for sharing your life with people!

mairi alexopoulou said...

Thank you for sharing!

Fran said...

Oh wow. Just so beautiful and I can't wait to read the rest. Thank you for inspiring me. I'm very ready to go on a mission trip!

Blessings and prayers over you, your family, and the people of Sudan!
Fran