"Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly like glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." -Matthew 5:11-12
We have been so very blessed to be given divine appointments all throughout the places we have been. What has been very clear is we are here to encourage and come alongside the saints here. And I want to emphasize "saints" given what all of these people have gone through. Yes we have brought some material things and the Medical team has been able to minister to the physical needs but it's clear we are here to minister to the spiritual. This is my 3rd trip back in the last three years and each time we have been appointed different tasks. What specifically comes to mind is we either get to "plant seeds", "water seeds", "harvest and see the fruits".
Last year this time we were ministering to the Sudanese refugees who were just coming across the Ugandan boarder. They were destitute, starving, sick, and looked empty and shocked and some on the verge of dying. At that time we were at the initial camp where they trying to determine what was next for them in terms of placement. We essentially addressed what medical needs we could and gave them enough food to make it to the next "station" which was just a cup of beans, maize, & lentils. Most importantly we got to share the Gospel and pray with many of them.
Fast forward to today and they are now placed in few different camps and the camps are organized and they've been given a plot of land and they're living in tukuls and cultivating the land. If there weren't remnants off the UN Tarps you'd think this was a regular village. As we pulled up to "Calvary Chapel Bidi Bidi Camp" we were greeted by the local church and children worshipping and giving glory to Jesus and praising the Lord for our arrival! Night and day from how we saw them in the previous year. They asked for nothing materially ( although the need is clearly visible ) they wanted to worship and praise Jesus and they wanted to be in fellowship opening the Word of God! My first thought was are these the same people? Are these the same "walking dead" I saw last year? Are these the refugees from last year? Or these the "stronger ones" who came later? NOPE! Everyone I spoke to came across last August. They briefly mentioned how difficult it was to come and in the same breath they praised God for what they have and they are alive and safe.
The children were full of life and not just a physical renewal, an overflowing of the Holy Spirit! The adults were filled with the love of Christ and every face looked at us with their big and loving smiles – ear to ear. The women did a tribal dance while praising the name of Jesus. They wanted to go "hut to hut" and share Jesus and encourage other believers around the camp! Needless to say we went and visited brothers and sisters in the faith and what was their requests? PRAYER! And for us to send pastors or teachers to help them understand the bible more! Not money, not food, not clothes, not medicine, not building materials – They wanted the Word of God!
Church was wherever we went, in their tents, under a tree, under a makeshift "lean to" made with leftover tarps, importantly church was in their HEARTS!