Day 5: The EPC Compound -Yei, Sudan  

Posted by Michael

We have had an amazing day today. It has redeemed last night. What happened last night you ask? Well, I made the mistake of leaving my bedroom light on while we were at dinner. When I got back to my room around 10pm, I walked in to see that half of the bugs in Sudan were on my bed. A few of the bugs squeezed their nasty, fat, bug bodies through my mosquito net and were just chilling on my pillow, on top of my sheets, under my sheets and in every corner of the bed. I'm not a bug guy. I realize I made the decision to come to Sudan, and I realize that it's nothing like Dallas, but I'm telling you, there were 1,000 bugs IN my bed. That's with a mosquito net already tucked in to "keep bugs out". I spent an hour killing bugs from the outside, pressing my finger through the mosquito net and smashing each bug I could reach. I finally laid down and turned the light out. I could feel the bugs dropping (a bat just flew over my head...I'm in the on my chest with the lights out. Needless to say, it took me a while to get to bed.

We had an amazing day. We had church at the EPC this morning. I led worship and Beau spoke. They love Jesus. They have no shame in their worship of our Lord. I loved it. There are so many stories. Isaac was burned very badly and Vernon was able to raise money for plastic surgery. He's doing much better but his scars are very apparent. Vernon asked him how his uncle was doing today (his parents died in the fire) and he lowered his head and said, "When he's not drinking, he's good." We found out that his uncle beats him when he is drunk. very frustrating. I saw a 12 year old girl that is pregnant. An older man made her one of his many wives. Again, very frustrating. I want The Village to be here. I want others to see, smell, taste and experience life here. It's beyond description. Beau does a great job below, describing our meeting with Bishop Taban, who is the head of the EPC (Evangelical Presbyterian Church). He is one of the most humble, kind, powerful and godly man I have ever met. He started from the beginning (he was born on the day the North/South war in Sudan started and his mother hid him in the forest for 3 days-the first 3 days of his life with his umbilical chord freshly cut), and went through the rest of his life and his involvement with SPLA, his involvement with a poorly run mission organization based in the US, his church here in Yei and his love for Jesus. It was a powerful, humbling time for all 4 of us. Here's Beau's take on our meeting:

As sincerely as I knew how I looked across the table and asked, "What are the greatest needs in your ministry?" Attempting to clarify my question, I continued, "How can the Church in the west serve you as you serve the people of Southern Sudan?" Taking a deep breath, Bishop Elias Taban, the lead pastor of the Presbyterian Evangelical Church in Southern Sudan, leaned forward and began to answer my question. I wish I could put into words the hope and shame that collided in my heart as he did.

As the good Bishop sat and unpacked to me the gut-wrenching, beautiful work that our God has entrusted to him among his people here, it marked one of the only moments in my life that I have felt as if I was experiencing something that mirrors what I read about in the scriptures. Okay, that's an over-exaggeration; when I really sit and ponder how God reveals Himself to me daily, I realize that every single day I, if I have eyes to see, I experience my theology as my reality. But hopefully I've made my point. As "Bishop" shared with us his persevering hope for the people and nation that he has spent his lifetime serving, I sensed, in a way that I rarely have before, that I was in the presence of a man of whom this world is not worthy.

With a humble groan behind his voice, he looked us in the eyes and said, "You’ve seen my toilets, you’ve eaten my food, you have seen there is no electricity." In other words, I knew the answer to my own question. The felt needs of this place are everywhere, and they are all needs, not just wants. "I wanted to disappear in the ground when you asked me where the toilets were… they are a hole in the ground with flies and it’s dirty," the Bishop continued, referring to Jamie's request yesterday to use the restroom at one of the church's two orphanages. "Daniel needs $450 more for his leg replacement," he said. Daniel is one of the orphans we met. He was walking with his mother as she stepped on a land mine leftover from the North/South war. His mother died on impact. Daniel lost his leg but survived. So did his infant sister who was strapped on the mother's back. Pick a need.

The interesting thing was that the Bishop didn't want to spend our time together talking about these needs. He rattled through a list only to make the point that they were everywhere, all the time. He is aware of them, gravely aware of them. Instead, Bishop wanted to talk about hope; he wanted to talk to us about how Jesus Christ and His gospel, the underlying need of his people and country, has and continues to transform hearts and lives in Sudan. The testimonies he shared were some of the more miraculous stories I have ever heard. They fueled my belief, all over again, to believe the gospel and gave me courage to put my hope in it-- for salvation and toilets and limbs.

I love you all! Here are a few pictures I was able to download in the 3 hours I've had this blog open.

our room in Entebbe, Uganda:

Lunch at the hotel in Entebbe:

A Muslim boy from the mosque in Uganda:

For more on the trip, visit The Hughes link under the "Friends" column.

This entry was posted on Sunday, September 7, 2008 at Sunday, September 07, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Yummy! Good o' Coke is everywhere!! Stil praying for you and those there. Love, Cindy

September 7, 2008 at 12:40 PM

We love you guys, even though I haven't met the other guys...thanks for keeping us updated on how we can specifically be praying for you. Stay safe, and I really feel bad about the bug thing. Not a bug girl at all, never could have gotten to sleep! Impressed you got to sleep.

September 7, 2008 at 9:09 PM

We're friends of the Hipps and were really glad that Jenny gave us your blog address. Thank you so much for such a detailed and insightful blog. It is an honor to pray for you all. God is working there and we look forward to hearing how He uses the Village in Sudan. Tell Jamie hi!

September 7, 2008 at 11:38 PM

We are praying for you guys.

September 8, 2008 at 6:04 AM

I love this pic of Beau :) Thanks for posting all this, am praying for y'all!

September 8, 2008 at 8:21 AM
The Mendonsas  

It's amazing how those who are suffering greatly have so much to teach us. My faith is challenged and strengthened every time I encounter people in Africa who REALLY have to trust Jesus for their every need. How beautiful will it be for these many people who do not experience clean water to see the river that will run through the New Jerusalem - clear, pure, and lovely! I long for the day we all gather around the throne and we hear that beautiful African worship. Press on! We are praying for you all!

September 8, 2008 at 12:40 PM

We miss you all!!!

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December 19, 2011 at 1:04 AM

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