Don't Believe?Rich Stigall
From: Joe Knittig in Africa
Sorry for the delay in blogging! I’ve been sans connection for a few days.
Sunday morning we were in Magwi, Sudan. We dropped in on this very remote village church – about 80% children. This isn’t the area where we’ll pilot, but it was neat to just see a slice of life Sunday morning. I have a pic I’ll send when I can get it through on my phone. (It’s a mud church with thatch roof, little Lincoln Log type seating.)
Here’s the amazing thread from the day…
Outside the church is a grave. The grave of the former, local church pastor. Two years ago, he and several other pastors got shot down by the LRA. The church has struggled to keep going after his death. To have visitors from around the world just drop in to worship is unfathomable to them; jarring.
So you have this grave 10 ft away, outside the church. You have a few leaders fighting to begin anew. And you have the congregation, a bunch of little children, hungry but full of wonderment, those mothers who still live, and a few men who remain alive and in the village. Lots of material for God to work with, even in what is some of the most brutal poverty and destruction I’ve ever seen.
Alison gets up to tell a story. She tells how her journey began with a Sudanese man, a “Lost Boy,” living in exile in of all places – Kansas City. Moses and a group of his countryman living in KC struggled to move forward in life, truly in exile. They met Alison, and asked her for help. She couldn’t deny them. And she helped them start a Sudanese church in KC. That church flourishes to this day. Walking through the heartbreak with her Sudanese friend opened Alison’s heart to Africa. Years later, she is now a major Kingdom force in facilitating ministry through the local church in East Africa. She encourages the little ones of Magwi to put their trust in a big God, who took Moses, once just like them, to bring new life to many in Sudan and far beyond. She encourages them that God’s ways are different than our ways, His timing sovereign and perfect, His people supernaturally powerful. It was a beautiful scene.
After church we leave. We drive 5+ hours through the red, dusty back roads to get to Juba. After much shuffling, we finally get our bags through and check in for our flight. We have about an hour to spare, and sit for a rest in a little airport waiting area.
We start making small talk. About 10 minutes into that, a Sudanese man nearby turns to address us. He says he is now living in the U.S. He’s been back visiting his home village near Darfur, and is now heading back. Alison engages him.
“Where do you live in the U.S.?”
“North Kansas City. Do you know it?”
“Oh, my. Where do you go to church?”
You see where this is going…
He goes to the same church Alison helped Moses and the others start. The same Moses whom Alison told the children in Magwi about earlier that day.
We learned from this man that since Southern Sudan has entered a time of peace, Moses and some of the others from KC have returned to rebuild here a very big faith in our Lord. Moses was talking to children in church in his home village in Sudan as Alison told his story a few hours away.
Watching these two light up as all of the details and deeply personal connections pour out of them is a sight to behold.
I’m guessing the statistical probability of this encounter is about the same as getting struck by lightning a dozen times, on the same day, between Noon and One. I share this story for three reasons:
First, it’s just a great story.
Second, our orphan care journey together is way bigger than orphan care. Jesus Christ is palpably here, in His humble churches, among the most desperate children at the end of the line of humankind. Just as He is at work there, in and around all of you. He’s at all times in all places.
Third, if you are not a believer in an Almighty God who is active and at work in our lives, just think through this one story. What do you make of such things?