Last week I, along with 4 other members of our Church Planting & Discipleship team, traveled to Nimule, South Sudan to encourage and teach the leaders from the churches of Christ. There were 22 leaders and pastors from South Sudan and northern Uganda that traveled to the border town for basic theological training and discipleship. To reach Nimule, these pastors traveled from safety into a war zone, from refugee camps to where they had fled, or across rebel controlled areas. The situation in Nimule is (relatively) safe and calm, but the rest of the country is engaged in a generation-long war with no foreseeable end. So these men came, risking their own lives in transit, full of God’s Spirit and a desire to know Him more.
We asked them why they had traveled at this time and their simple responses were that this is where God was calling them to be trained to work for Him. Where I saw danger and great risk, they saw everyday life and normal challenges of following Jesus. We went to encourage them, and I think we did, but they also encouraged us. Their faith in the Lord, in the face of intense obstacles, challenged me to trust in the Lord even more. Being united with these brothers in Christ brought us all closer to the Lord, and I think that is what fellowship is all about.
We also spent time with the director of the work in South Sudan, Kennedy Obura, a Kenyan who has lived in Nimule for 12 years. He has seen war come and go, and come again; he has seen people flee and return several times. And all the while he has remained faithful to the work that God has called him to in South Sudan. He is no hero…he simply loves God more than anything else. When we travel around town with Kennedy everyone knows him and calls him “Pastor.” Whether it is the group of drunk men, customs agents, shop keepers or motorcycle drivers, they know Kennedy by the way he serves the Lord and the people of Nimule.
Please continue to pray for Kennedy Obura, Richard Owkera, and the other 22 pastors and leaders that gathered last week in Nimule. Please pray for the other believers who have fled their homes to the “safety” of refugee camps. Pray that the Lord continues the good work He has been doing in their lives even as their lives are changed and challenged daily.