In the latter part of July this year we, who were in the Kimotong at the time went out to Kenya because of conflict in certain areas of South Sudan. Considering that the conflict was unlikely to reach our area, a short while later we were given permission to return. So two weeks after arriving in Kenya, I returned to Kimotong and was warmly welcomed by many in the community.
As of the beginning of September, the full team of AIM missionaries to the Laarim has come and begun the ministry of learning language and culture. The team consists of 12 adults and 6 children representing five nations: Australia, Holland, Rwanda, the UK and the US. Many of the children in the village have been especially excited to see the little ones on the team who have come from abroad. We have begun our weekly team meetings which consist of a time of prayer, worship, Bible study, discussion over assigned readings, and team business. This month, most of the team is in Kenya for a three-week orientation while our team leaders are visiting their home country.
Through late July and August the days in the village were quiet as most of the children would wake up before sunrise and head out to their fields. These children in their fields would sit up on stands erected from cut wooden poles and spend the day protecting the ripening heads of sorghum from the birds. As birds would land in the field the children would shout and sling balls of clay at them. This continued each day until all of the sorghum was harvested. After the heads of sorghum are cut off, many of the stalks which are like a type of sugar cane are harvested and consumed. Often, as those who were coming from the fields would pass by our compound, they would also share with us a few sorghum stalks from which they harvested the grain. In the evenings after sundown we would hear the children returning home laughing, chattering, and playing their bamboo flutes. We are thankful that this year the harvest was satisfactory.
We praise the Lord for two boys and one girl who have expressed that they have made a commitment to follow Jesus and trust him as their Lord and Savior. Two of these youth have gone to other locations for a season: one off to school and the other to the cattle camp. Pray that we would make the most of each opportunity we have to disciple and mentor the youth and children and pray for these new believers wherever they go to continue growing in their trust, love, and obedience to Jesus.
Many months have passed since I started teaching mother tongue literacy in the village. The process still feels rather disorganized. One group shows up to learn and the next day it might be a different group. Most of the time I would have a mix of children who were all at very different levels of learning. But those who have continued to come are learning well and I am encouraged by their eagerness to keep learning. This also gives me opportunity to share from translated books of the Bible, pray, and share Bible stories with the children. Many in the group also like memorizing bible verses. Even some adults in the community are expressing interest in learning how to read. Please pray that those who are learning will develop a desire to know the Bible more and read it themselves.
Our Laarim friend and brother in Christ, Angelo, continues to be with us over the school holidays. Over this last holiday, he joined us for three weeks and spent time helping team members with language, translating a script for a Christmas program written by Andrew, and meeting with youth and children to share the word of God. During that time, our unit leader came to Kimotong by air. He and the pilot stayed for three nights to make some repairs on the electrical systems and water systems on the compounds. Since Angelo need to return to Torit and I was ready to go there for a break, we were able to catch a ride on the five passenger plane that was taking our unit leader back to Torit. Being his first time on a plane, Angelo was quite excited and enjoyed the 30 minute flight. I did not enjoy it so much as I had gotten airsick. Praise the Lord for Angelo's love for Jesus and his willingness to serve and share the gospel with his fellow Laarim. Pray for more Laarim to come to Christ and have that same passion.