Todays blog is a short story from my wonderful husband and partner:
This story is not really about Denver & Stacey. We are not boasting here in what we did. If you read that in these lines you are mistaken in your interpretation of what I am saying. This story is about How God uses His people to show He is alive to others and How Good He is to us all.
Often our opportunity to be led by the Holy Spirit will be skirted with distractions that may have nothing to do with the upcoming opportunity other than to simply get us off course and leave us in a position where we do not listen to the Promptings of the Spirit because we are focused on the distractions, or our emotions occurring as a result of those distractions.
One day toward the end of our time in Yei, we decided to take a walk into the village. It is a six mile round trip journey on foot on dry dusty paths and roads. As we walked, we were greeted by each person with some acknowledgement or smile or the more common children’s greeting of “quacha (white person), I am fine How are you?” Of course it is very easy to allow your reply to be reduce to the same “I am fine…How are you” in reply once you begin to realize that this is in all likelihood is the only English that person would understand.
A large numbers of older adults – both men and women had little stick built road side stands set up as they tried to earn a living by selling various items. After a while it became apparent to us that most people were selling the same items over and over…..tomatoes, onions, small bags of sugar or beans, some had a kind of dried fish or two. Occasionally some had a drink of some kind or an offering of sodas to sell. Most also had self-made charcoal in various sized bags. Some even had milled flour or rolls they had cooked ready to eat.
The obvious question we began to ask each other was,” if everyone is selling the same things, who is buying these item?” There seemed to be more sellers than purchasers. There are almost no industrial jobs here in South Sudan. One can easily observe mostly older men and women, lots of children, and very few people in the 20 to 40 range. A few this age, have sewing machines and have become quite good at “tailoring” Many younger men find employment driving people around with their “Taxiing or Kubota motorcycles”. Although most people work very hard at the daily routines of getting wood and water, food or making bricks, only a few have jobs producing lumber from the beautiful Mahogany or Teak wood natural to their environment. While we expected the shops to very unique and specialized perhaps for tourism and local crafts these were very rare if not non-existent.
In Africa, Time is not so important unless you are part of an orphanage that depends on the bell to maintain the day. It was in this relaxed setting that almost without sensing it, the Holy Spirit began to lead us each at different time to do little things we did not even recognize at first. Then little by little we became more alert to what was happening.
It started with a lady with a platter of bananas ask if we wanted to buy any as she walked by. At first we dismissed her, but retracted our decision within a few steps calling to her that yes we would make a purchase. Why did we do that? We get our bananas at the orphanage each day as part of our breakfast. What would we do with these? Then I decided to purchase a bag of rolls- even though I personally had been Gluten free almost a year and a half. What would I do with these rolls and bananas?
This continued with Stacey saying lets go to that stand and buy tomatoes here or then another stand for onions; each time the small price was so little- Maybe a USD quarter or so.
Once as we bought tomatoes, I said I would also take a bag of g-nut sauce the locals make. The grandmother aged lady running the stand spoke out loud. I know she said, ‘We have been blessed by the Lord Today”. I heard it but then again I did not really quite hear it either. SO, I asked her to please repeat what she said…of course she did not understand what I had spoken, but eventually we agreed she had in Fact said, ” that she and her man had been blessed by the Lord, God because Stacey & I had bought 3 Sudanese pounds of product from them. Not being able to resist, I replied in agreement…”Yes, You have been Blessed by the Lord today….as we handed her a small but generous tip to go with that Blessing in Hasus name (Jesus Name).”
By the time we turned the corner past the Taxi park on the edge of town our bags were heavy with little food items.
Soon we passed a tukul that had an empty platter sitting on a box out front. Two ladies sat in the shade not noticing us as we past. That is when I heard the Holy Spirit say in my spirit turn back and give them the tomatoes………It was so faint I almost did not recognize it at first, yet as I obeyed unquestioningly I knew it was His voice. Stacey had stopped and turned to watch as I retraced the 20 feet to the platter. She told me as I turned from the platter to walk back to her side the two women ran to recover the tomatoes and dances with obvious joy in delight of the provision.
Yet one more stand stood beside the path before we turned from the road to walk down the small path to the orphanage in the ½ mile distance. Why would we stop? Stacey had hoped for a soda. As she located and purchased it from the man behind the stand, I sensed an unusually strong desire to buy some beans and dried fish from the lady remaining outside. I could not imagine what I was doing at the time. Why would we want these local delicacies?
Yet it was so much like the rest of the day. So much like the rest of the trip really….very much like the day in Fairbanks before we left home when we were looking for 64 pair of shoes for the Orphans At ABBA House in Entebbe…like when we felt we should buy this pair of shoes “extra” that were not on any of our lists……you just grow accustom to knowing there is a reason you do not understand so you follow those promptings and trust the Holy Spirit is speaking something you do not understand at the moment….something you will shortly realize had a precise target and reason just a little way done the path.
Having completed 51/2 hours of this 6 hour walk in 100+ degree sunlight with dust from head to foot- Our hearts very warm with God’s refreshing love from the days adventure in giving- we turned down the final trail toward awaiting cold water, soap, and a nice cold shower at our dorm just ½ mile away carrying two bags of food that grew heavy in our arms; food that we did not knowingly need.
Half way down the trail, it was there again. That faint voice. Almost not a voice at all, but a growing sense or desire to do something for no apparent reason or preplanned knowledge. Stacey wanted to go visit Egba. For some reason I did also so we ventured toward the tukul; the home of this older lady.
We would never have met Egba except for our friends Bruce and Joanne Carter. Several years earlier they had visited this orphanage and during their visit our dear friends had taken the time to think of us by returning with a special gift basket made by this precious little lady. Now my wife Stacey & I were standing in the very same African home of Egba.
Just two weeks earlier, Bruce, Stacey & I had stopped to visit her family. We found Egba was not in good health during our prior visit, but she had still managed the strength to sit and talk to us and take pictures together. Today, at the Holy Spirits leading we were lead to the same family without any prior plan to check on this dear lady, who was now bedridden from sickness.
We were able to pray with her and encourage her with the offering the Lord had supplied along the way. God knew His widow lady had a need and directed our very steps along the way to bring supply refreshing her and her family. What a loving special family they are. Like all Africans were met along the way.
The thrill of this experience was seeing God walk by our side and Bless many people yet at the same time weave together a masterpiece of our daily bread while it is called today. Our prayer is that Jesus, our Great High Priest, can move His whole body to hear His voice each day and be His hands and Feet to care for those in need and give them the desires of their heart.