Amy, Caleb and Karen (Amy’s mom) eating out in St. Louis when we were there for Christmas with Amy’s family.
Hopefully you had a good Christmas season with your family! We had a great time at four family Christmases and lots of travelling and after lots of good fellowship, food and gifts, we’re glad that the new year is here and we can move on to preparing for our return to South Sudan!
I talked to Paul on Skype last week, it’s the first time we’ve spoken since this time last year, and the news that he gave me was tragic. As many of you know, last year’s food harvest in South Sudan was mostly non-existent. People survived through various types of aid and lots more hunger and waiting. This year the rainy season was good, and the crops were promising, and lots of people in our area were able to bring in lots of food for their families. For the church in Lalonga the story was a little different.
Somebody in the village decided to go hunting. The way they frequently do this is to light a large grassy area on fire, and as the animals run out of the burning grass, the men can shoot the animals and take them home to eat. Unfortunately, starting a fire in the dry season is never a good idea and there is never much advance planning. The fire spread to sorghum gardens belonging to Paul and most of the ladies in the Lalonga church. The report I got from someone other than Paul is that most of Paul’s crop and that of the church ladies was completely destroyed by the fire. With a bad year last year and the fire this year, the outlook is grim and the ladies are actually considering migrating to one of the refugee camps in Kenya.
I am going to be in South Sudan soon. I am leaving the USA on January 30th and will be there with Mitchell, a potential team mate, for about three weeks. Please pray that God will provide for the church in this situation. Pray that God would give us wisdom about how to help them alleviate some of their hunger during this time of real tragedy. Pray that God would give us wisdom as we assess the security situation in South Sudan and how safe it will be to return with the family. Pray that God would provide for some of the logistical issues that we’re facing as we try to do the building and transporting of goods involved with the projects that you have helped fund. Pray that Mitchell will get a clear idea about life in South Sudan and his calling, and pray that God would provide safety for us as we travel on the roads.
Justin, Amy, Ezekiel and Caleb
We were at a show in Branson, Ezekiel was very excited to go and see the show…but he didn’t really know what he was in for!