Aweil Crusade Preparation: Setting Out

Posted by on Jan 22, 2013 in Featured, Field Updates, Nations, Prayer, South Sudan | 0 comments

Aweil Crusade Preparation: Setting Out

Aweil

Preparing the City:

Two weeks ago Benjamin Omara, our missions pastor, went ahead of us to South Sudan and has been on the ground praying, preparing, mobilizing the pastors, putting up posters, and gaining clearance with the government security and soldiers for the coming crusade in Aweil, on January 28th.

At home our church, prayer team, and intercessors have been covering both him and the team to follow in much prayer for this intense mission.

Aweil, a small city of several million people, was the hardest hit during the war between north Sudan and the south, as the south fought for their independence. Now, it is heavily populated by thousands of Sudanese who are being “pushed out”of northern Sudan and forced to resettle in the south. They are brought here by the busloads and are dropped off in the desert to begin carving out a living in the dry, barren wilderness with no resources besides their own two hands. Consequently, poverty is rampant.

Preparing the Tools: 

One truck carries a huge welded platform, a huge generator, speakers (many of them) and sound system, amplifier, lights, food for several weeks, a few mattresses, fuel, etc

A week and half ago, one of our staff members proceeded to Kampala to purchase field speakers for the ministry. This crusade is always funded by Pastor Ray Hannah, and in the past we have always rented equipment from Kampala to be trucked into Sudan. But this time, rather than continue renting, we felt God wanted us to begin acquiring – little by little – the speakers and sound system needed to accommodate the crowds we are reaching. When the purchases were complete, a truck was rented and the equipment brought to Gulu.

From Gulu, our own outdoor preaching platform had to be welded together to accommodate this large capacity crusade that will reach over one million people. The welding had to be supervised and pushed, day and night for over four days, in order to have the platform ready in time to load onto the truck to go north.

With the welding finished, the huge platform was packed onto the rental truck along with the instruments and food for three weeks for our team of twelve.

Once our worship team and instruments were finally loaded into the back of the truck and prayed over, they took off on Friday Jan 18th, in the wee hours of the morning.

Delays & Deliverance

As they reached the border of South Sudan, in Nimuli, the truck was detained for an extra, heavy-duty inspection according to new laws now being enforced in S. Sudan. The intensity of border inspection had increased since we had last been to S. Sudan in July, 2012. This is due to the rampant smuggling of equipment and products into S. Sudan, often under the name of the church, to being sold illegally or to avoid paying taxes.

We had written a border letter for clearing the truck and all our equipment, but under the new regulations it had to be rewritten, stamped, and turned into the Bureau of Business and Commerce in Juba before they would allow us to pass the border. This was Friday. We worked tirelessly to write and address the letters correctly, get them stamped, and then try to scan and mail them to a friend in Juba who was helping with our border clearance.

Sudanese Soldier

By the time the process was complete and the letters were in Juba, the offices had closed for the weekend. So, our truck was allowed to go only as far as Juba with military escort, where it was detained in a military holding place until Monday morning when the Bureau could approve and stamp our paperwork and release us.

Over the weekend, our boys camped out in a small compound in Juba. On Monday morning, our friend helped to clear our truck at the Bureau, which required an intense amount of convincing that we were not bringing equipment in the country to sell.

That same day, I packed my bag and finished last minute meetings and details with the church, the construction on our children’s home (which is going on wonderfully!), the opening of our Primary school at the end of the month, and the writing and scanning even more letters to Juba – this time for extra security to travel with our truck to provide assistance at the state-line crossings for“smooth”clearance from Juba to Aweil.

Our blessed little land cruiser reached Juba that evening.

We met with our Bishop friend, who helped us to find accommodations for the night. Although Juba is a hot, dry, dusty, crowded city with poor infrastructure, it is one of the most expensive cities on the continent.

We also met with our friend who was helping with our border clearance as well as our team of ten who had “camped out” in a compound in Juba waiting to go north. Finally we “crashed” in a little guest house (the cheapest in the city we could find!).

Tuesday, we had to clear our little caravan with the office of Security, who insisted that we travel with four armed military men to help clear our truck at every state line between Juba and Aweil. This service, of course, was for a high price, but the Office of Security insisted.

Dinka Cattle People

They also informed us that there was tribal war and bloodshed among the Dinka tribe on the road between Juba and Rumbek (which was directly along our path to Aweil). A longer, alternative route also had fighting on it, so either way, we were heavily dependent on divine protection. Armed soldiers may scare a few fighters away, but not all. The soldiers themselves are often killed on these roads while trying to protect passing vehicles.

The tribal “civil” wars between Dinka people are often uncontrollable by the government. These tribes are a fierce, easily angered people who were killing each other in fights over land boundaries for their cattle. One day 50 were killed, another day 30, and another 40 just over the weekend before.

Once the paperwork cleared in Juba and our truck was released from the police barn where it was being held, we gathered our team together once again for prayer.

With news of the fighting on the road to Rumbek, we knew God had protected us. Had our truck not been detained in Numili and Juba, it would have been driving right through Rumbek at the peak of the killing, and been caught right in the middle of it all.

God had surely gone before us. Often the delays of the Holy Spirit are only to protect us from unseen dangers which lay lurking in our pathway. How we praised Him again, for total safety!!

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