Thursday, May 27, 2010

Elephants, orphans, and trips

Aren't these baby elephant orphans cute? I had a fun opportunity this week to entertain visitors from home and we visited an elephant orphanage where we saw baby elephants frolic and enjoy a mud bath. We heard about the process of caring for these orphans through their childhoods and integrating them back into the wild. An opportunity was offered to sponsor an elephant and I was amazed at the crowd of people around the 'adoption' table.

And this verse came to mind: "Religion that pleases God the Father must be pure and spotless. You must help needy orphans and widows and not let this world make you evil." James 1:27 (Contemporary English Version) As my heart was stirred by the sad stories of poaching and abuse of the baby elephants I asked the Lord to strengthen my commitment and compassion for His children in Sudan.

My hope is that you and I will crowd around the the feet of Jesus praying that we will be who He wants us to be as we come alongside the people of South Sudan who need to see, hear, touch, and feel Jesus.
On Monday I'll be making a trip to Sudan. Jeff and Christine Stanfield (pictured below) who currently work at Tenwek are exploring ministry opportunities in Africa. I'm so excited to show them around! Our first stop is Akot where we'll visit some of the folks we've been able to minister to there.
Brian and Debbie Mutai are newlyweds and will be joining our trip too. The Mutai's are Kenya missionaries with the Africa Gospel Church working in Sudan. Debbie is a Physicians Assistant who did her internship at Tenwek Hospital. She has been working at a clinic in the western part of South Sudan and this year was joined by Brian, her new husband. Since the rainy season has started they are unable to get to their ministry site and have offered to join Mango Ministries until their airstrip is usable. After visiting Akot we will travel to Lui where I worked three years ago. They have expressed a need for medical and development assistance and Debbie and Brian will be a great addition to the work there.
There are many details in planning a trip to Sudan. It has been exciting to see God orchestrate the details and pave the way forward. I ask for your prayers this next week that we will be a sweet aroma for Christ in Akot and Lui.

Joseah will be flying back to Akot on Monday also. He and 2 friends working in Sudan have had an incredible experience attending the Samaritan Strategy Vision Conference and a Community Health Evangelism Training of Trainers course. Please pray for Joseah, Clarke, and Simon as they put the things they learned into practice . . . they are jazzed!

Two weeks from tonight I will be at the airport in Nairobi waiting to fly out at midnight. Whew - a lot will be happening between now and then. Pray that I'll use my time wisely as I wrap up things here and prepare to share with you all during the activities listed below. I'm excited to see many of you.

Meet me at. . . . .

June 13 Trinity UMC, Mullica Hill, NJ

June 19Breakfast Buffet at the Kountry Kitchen in Elmer, NJ. Email me if you want to make a reservation. Find details in the previous blog.

June 20 pm – Zion UMC, Egg Harbor Township, NJ

June 24 – 27WGM celebrates 100 years of ministry. Join us in celebrating at Indiana Weslyan University, Marion, IN. Register now!

July 4Strathmere UMC, Strathmere, NJ

July 9 – 11 Teaching at the Cooperative School of Christian Mission (of UMC) on Sudan at Georgian Court University, Lakewood, NJ

July 12 – 16Champion Migration Strategy Workshop, WGM headquarters, Marion, IN

July 18Hope Christian Fellowship, Woodbury, NJ

July 19Sicklerville UMC VBS, Sicklerville, NJ

July 29Erma Campmeeting, Erma, NJ

August 1 am – Bird-In-Hand UMC, B-I-H, PA

pm – Ennisville UMC, Huntingdon, PA

August 2 – 7Rawlinsville Camp Meeting, Quarryville, PA

August 8 Seashore Campsites, Erma, NJ

August 15Tabernacle UMC, Erma, NJ

My prayer is that our team will be an encouragement to the body of Christ in Sudan. I appreciate your prayers and financial giving that make it possible for us to touch the lives of the Sudanese.



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