Last week we facilitated another of the Healing the Wounds of Ethnic Conflict (HWEC) workshops for participants from several Juba congregations. It has been a busy season for our team who were trained in Rwanda, but we praise God for the open doors to present this workshop and help people to find heaing and forgiveness. In this particular workshop last week, our team was both teaching and organizing all the logistics – a rather daunting task. Add to that that I am still learning my way around in how to do things, so felt somewhat helpless regarding some of the logistics. Perhaps that motivated me to pray harder though, and God sure provided in many ways beyond our control. I want to share just a few of those ways that God provided just what was needed to make this a meaningful and transformative experience for everyone.
First, God provided an experienced, helpful, joyful group of women to cook lunch for us each day. A few days before the workshop, I was despairing of what we would do about food. The church where the workshop was conducted did not even have pots and pans or plates, so those would all have to be rounded up. But then, just the day before we started, I met with Mama Julia, who agreed to bring her friends to help us, had her own cooking equipment that she brought, helped us come up with a menu that would work with our small budget. A member of our teaching team lent us the plates and cups from his church, and brought the whole lot on a motorcycle taxi. Wow! Everyone raved about the food, it was delicious and made on time, cost even less than I anticipated and it was truly a joy working wtih these women. God is good!
Two of our cooks, making “kisra”, a thin dough something like Ethiopian injera.
Then, God provided people to help with the logistics. As we got ready for the workshop, I had lots of questions running through my head, “Who is going to start the generator? And go get fuel when it runs out? And where or how do we get all the water we will need for cooking and washing?” (no electricity or running water here, which makes things much more complicated. And who can lead us in some worship? Finding songs that everyone knows and someone with a gift for leading them was certainly beyond my control. It was as the workshop was starting on the first day that I realized how God had provided in all of these areas. The guard for the church ran the generator and helpfullly resupplied the water and fuel (and the church had graciously left us a full tank of both that we could just resupply at the end). And then the talented youth of the congregation came to help us at the workshop, both participating and happily leading everyone in joyful worship at several points in the day. Such a gift!
Nyakak (left), Mama Sarah, and Charles Peter leading worship
Finally, an important piece is translation. In Juba, many educated people know English, but others spent years in Khartoum and communicate better in Arabic, and the less educated get by in Juba Arabic or their tribal language. Three of the four of us on the teaching team are more comfortable in English than Arabic, so we decided everything would be in both English and Arabic. But finding the right person to translate proved a challenge. I thought of our language teacher, Charles Peter, but couldn’t get a hold of him. We wanted someone who would understand easily the principles we were teaching, and could tranlate into either Arabic or English. Finally, the night before the workshop started, I reached Charles Peter by phone and he agreed to come. He translated tirelessly, and also filled in on the worship team or as photographer, as needed. Thanks be to God for providing exactly what was needed.
Charles Peter (left) translates for Omot (middle), while
Mama Sarah displays a coat representing the “Holy Nation”
And what about the actual content of the workshop? If you have not heard us talk about the HWEC workshop much, you can read more in our current newsletter. God is opening doors to present these teachings, and we pray that many continue to find healing and forgiveness. Please pray for peace in South Sudan, as the tensions and attacks in some regions are ongoing. Organizing a workshop is not always easy, as I hope this post reflects, but we are grateful that God answers prayers, even for details like water, meals, and translation.