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“In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (II Thes. 5:18)
We arrive in Khartoum at 4:15 a.m. and spend the first hour of our two-week trip waiting for our visas to be processed, while at least one mosquito keeps attempting to infiltrate our cells. I realize all my efforts to protect my children from mosquito bites-and thus, malaria or dengue fever-are in vain already. The bug spray is in the luggage, and we have to get our visas before I can get to it!
Thank You, Father, that You are greater than me, and that no one can thwart Your plans. The best of my plans often fail-but Your plans endure through all generations and no one can stop anything You will. Thank You that You are able to protect my children, my husband, and myself from all dangers-big and small-and that You will do so if it is to Your glory. Thank You that I don’t have to fear, for You are always with me and are a loving and compassionate God.
We wake up at the guesthouse at 10:30 a.m. I stumble wearily into the kitchen, having had only about 4 hours of sleep, and try to light the stove to cook breakfast. The stove won’t light. The gas can is out of gas. Our team members left a few provisions, and with the bread and jelly I find, and the peanut butter I had packed in my suitcase, I was able to fix a somewhat nutritious meal for my family!
Thank You, Father, for caring friends who thought ahead and helped meet our needs. Thank You for Your provision of grain (bread), fruit (jelly), protein (peanut butter) and dairy (milk)! Thank you that I can feed my family breakfast, when there are many around me here in Sudan who are not able to feed even themselves.
While I am working on fixing breakfast, the electricity goes out. Kirk goes out to start the generator, to discover the battery is dead. (It takes until close to 11:00 p.m. the next night to finally have the generator running again!)
Thank You, Father, for friends to help us fix this problem, and for providing us a place to stay overnight where there was power until the problem was fixed. Thank You that someone had the forethought to leave candles here at the house, since I didn’t think to bring them on this trip!
I finally make it to take a shower about 1:00 p.m. I turn on the cold water tap. The water that comes forth has a distinct brown tinge and is almost hot enough to burn me. I turn on the hot water tap-and that water is a little cooler, though just as brown. I wonder whether I will be cleaner before or after my bath!
Father, Thank You for indoor plumbing and a private bathroom. Thank you that the water is not as dirty as the chocolate-brown “sample” a fellow-worker collected not long ago! And thank You that this bath has a shower head so I don’t have to sit in this tub!
It’s our third day here in Sudan, and I decide to wash some clothes in the washer. Unfortunately, the hose isn’t attached right and the water floods the floor. I discover that the washing machine doesn’t work anyway. I’ve already added the soap, so I wash the clothes by hand in the brown-tinged water after my kids go to bed, and my husband kindly helps rinse and hang the somewhat-clean laundry.
Thank You, Father, for helping me overcome my procrastination and mop the bathroom floor. You know it needed it! Thank You also for developing arm muscles, and for a kind and thoughtful husband who is willing to help with “woman’s work” when needed!
We wake up and check our laundry, which we left hanging to dry overnight. We discover that a haboob (dust storm) passed through in the night, and our “clean” laundry is coated a reddish-brown. Too tired to rewash it all by hand, I beat the clothes to get us much dust out as possible, and put those items too dirty to use in to be washed at another time.
Thank You, Father, that everything around us is so dusty all the time anyway, that our still-dusty clothes won’t appear that out of place! Thank You, Father, that when I am weak, You are still strong and can work powerfully through me.
Today is our fifth day in Sudan. This is much more difficult than I realized it was going to be. But tonight while I watched a sunset from the rooftop with my children, several Sudanese neighbors made a point to wave to us in welcome. Then while walking at a park, my friends and I were greeted over and over, and even invited to sit and visit with a family. They served us plates of desserts while we visited in the park.
Thank You, Father, that in this most unhospitable land You placed friendly, hospitable people to make all the hardships worthwhile! Thank You for the joy I see in the lives of the Sudanese believers I’ve met. Your Word says “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Thank You, Father, for Your joy and Your strength to carry me in my weakness.
If I look at all that goes wrong, at all that is against me, I will fail. But with the Lord on my side I can do the impossible! I Thessalonians 5:18 says, "In everything, give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
Father, You know I have had a difficult time remembering to give thanks to You through all the struggles of adjusting to life in Sudan. Thank You for Your gentle nudges reminding me to be thankful. Thank You for Your faithfulness to me, even when my faithfulness fails. Forgive my grumblings, and help me to abide in You, my Strength and my Joy! Thank You for being everything I need, at all times, in all places! May my only desire be to glorify Your name!
“Cease striving, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalms 46:10
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Reader Count & Comments
17 Mar 2004
This story touched me in so many ways. I am reading it after a hectic morning. Big snow storm, and both cars not starting up. But YOU have reminded me that every obstacle holds a blessing - and a chance - to give thanks!
15 Mar 2004
What an absolutely delightful story and well written. I could feel your frustration and was delightfully cheered by your faith and thankfulness. Keep the faith my dear and may you go far for His Glory. Good story. I look forward to more. A thousand blessings be upon your pen and you.
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