Thursday, December 31, 2009

Great Expectations for 2010

Happy New Year!

December has flown by. My time has been filled with good-byes to good friends, hosting my sister, Linda, including some sight-seeing, mission meetings, lots of cooking, and spending time with friends and colleagues. I hope you felt God’s blessings this past month as much as I did.

My sister does a lot of leg-work for Mango Ministries in the U.S. and enjoyed a meal with Reuben and Joseah when they arrived from Sudan for their breaks. They are doing well and enjoying the chance to be with family and friends at Tenwek. They are also eager to return to Akot next week. Pray for us as we plan for 2010 on January 4th and 5th.

Preparations continue for the Tenwek Eye Safari to Akot, only 9 days away. Please pray for:

* Processing of paperwork for medical supplies going to Akot

* The safe and timely arrival of a second operating microscope, scheduled to arrive on January 6th

* The Akot community’s acceptance of eye surgery. We're thankful several patients have registered and are trusting that after one or two patients have been given the gift of sight many more will come seeking help

* Uncomplicated and safe travel for the team: by road to Nairobi on January 8th, and flying from Nairobi to Akot on the 9th then reversing the process on January 15th and 16th.

* A peaceful community (no fighting) before and during this outreach

* Hearts that are open to hearing about Jesus

Dr. Roberts requests prayer for the team on Youtube. (sorry for the noise interference!)

We're excited to have 2 volunteers from Tenwek Hospital going to Memorial Christian Hospital in Werkok on January 14th. Faith Shingledecker will assist in setting up a lab for the hospital (pictured with Dr. Ajak) and Stephen Leimgruber will assist with nursing care.

Jonny Adkins is finishing up work on the Coppedge dvd (Mango Ministry teammates) who are starting their Homeland Ministry Assignment in January and he will soon start the editing process for the Mango Ministry dvd. Pray for inspiration and creativity for Jonny as he works.

There are a limited number of Mango Ministry 2010 calendars available. If you’d like any send me an email that includes your postal address and I’ll send details for payment. Still only $12.

I visited my favorite mall several times this month after dark and I was impressed with how much the decorations reminded me of Las Vegas. They’re bright and beautiful, I think.

Actually it’s overwhelming and anything but subtle. Very different from the first Christmas. With the coming of the fall rains I’ve been impressed with the natural beauty found here in Kenya. Spectacular masses of colors found in bougainvillea to the same vibrant colors on a fish only one inch long found while wading in the Indian Ocean. Stars seen unencumbered by city lights are better than any light display made by man. God’s decorations are incredible. As with many things in life I find I want to help God with the decorating. My prayer for 2010 is that I will let God be the designer of Mango Ministries as His creations are best. Knowing that His creations are better than mine ~ I have great expectations for what He will do to bring transformation to the people of South Sudan in this new year.

Thank you for your interest, encouragement, prayers, and financial support that is transforming lives in South Sudan as we minister together.



Friday, December 4, 2009

In the Dark

Literally thousands of people in Sudan are living in the dark because they live with cataracts. The most basic health care is not available to many, much less surgical eye care. That’s why Mango Ministries has arranged for the Tenwek Hospital Eye Team to take a safari to Sudan in early January to help people see. Drs. Ben Roberts and John Cropsey and 6 Tenwek staff will fly to Akot to take the same message that has always been Tenwek’s moto to Sudan. That is, “We treat ~ Jesus Heals.” Reuben and Joseah are meeting this week with the hospital staff and local pastors to prepare for the spiritual side of this outreach.

In an animistic culture people think differently than we do in the West. Sudanese are raised with an Animistic Worldview. We have very scientific reasons for why things happen which is called the Western Worldview. We accept that most cataracts are a sign of aging which causes degenerative changes in the eye. An animist will have a different set of reasons for what causes poor vision. Cause and effect to an animist is not based on science so much as on the spirit world. As we talk about Jesus to the patients and their families let’s pray that they will ‘see’ that any power that is preventing them from seeing is not nearly as powerful as that of Jesus.

I’m somehow in the dark too. Advertisements have recently gone out into the community about the cataract clinic. I thought there would immediately be a long line of cane wielding people lined up at the front door. As excited as people seem when they hear the news no one has registered yet! Is it the registration fee? This is a small fee being charged that is a step at moving away from the post-war hand out mentality towards cost-sharing which is a more sustainable model for health care in the future. Are people afraid of surgery? Will it just take one bold person to register and then others will follow? Right now we don’t know what the barrier is. Reuben wrote that the answer is to pray and I told him I’d let you know. Please pray with us that what ever is keeping people from registering will be overcome, whether it be money, fear, stigma, etc. Our goal is for many people to come and receive their physical sight but also spiritual sight too.

That’s our goal based on a Biblical Worldview! Now we need to commit it to the Lord and see how He is going to turn the darkness to light. That’s His job. Our job is to pray.

“You O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” Psalm 18:28

Following His star,


* Pictures are from past Tenwek cataract clinics held in Tanzania

** A gift of $200 will enable one Sudanese to see the light. Go to "Donate to Joy's ministry" in the right-hand column to give a gift today.