As many of you know, South Sudan is currently in a season of unrest. Today it is quiet, as it has been for the past few weeks. No major gunfire, no major violence, but far from peace. The Vice President has retreated into the mountains to regroup, and most probably re-arm before returning to Juba, the capital of South Sudan. No one can predict what will happen if, or when he returns. In the meantime, AIM AIR has stayed in the “Ready” position, prepared to meet the needs of our missionaries who have chosen to stay, but with the new (and hopefully temporary) regulations that South Sudan National Security has set for aviation, flights have been minimal. All flights are required to go through Juba now which was the epicenter of the violence last month.
Plane full of pastors and their families coming out of South Sudan.
God continues to move within unrest. We have the new teams just North of us cautiously moving forward to their new homes to an unreached people group AIM is working amongst. We also have a few remaining people who stayed to support the church and work in villages they have poured their lives into. We are petitioning National Security to allow AIM AIR to serve these missionaries, without having to divert to Juba both in entering and leaving South Sudan. Regular air support would allow food and supplies to get into these villages that currently only have meager supplies. No food is getting through on the roads, no crops are being planted/tended, and most villages have only a few days of food without outside support. We are praying that God’s Word continues to permeate into the regions that have pleaded for missionaries to “get Islam out of their heads”. It’s easy to focus on impending civil war, maybe even want to stay clear to be safe, but more important is the spiritual condition of these souls who have cried out for Truth. Please pray that obstructions are removed and for protection for the missionaries who are called to meet this desperate need.
On our home-front, in Lokichoggio, war is far away. Even though we’re 30 km from the South Sudan border, the war is internal and we are not in danger. We have Kenya National Security as protection between us and the border.
Ian helping to take a load of supplies to AIM's new mission station just over the boarder.
The Treasures, one by one are finding their new homes...
Remember the solar, audio Bible “Treasures”? Thank you SO MUCH for the positive response we got to our request! World Mission was so encouraged by the response of the Turkana people and our desire to distribute them that they sent the shipment by mail before the full amount was paid for. Praise God, right? Well, hold the praise for a bit. Kenya Customs was holding it in Nairobi until the $800 import fee (a percentage of what the package is worth) was paid. World Mission sent a very formal letter stating the use of the devices and that they were to be distributed as free Bibles. That letter and A LOT of prayers allowed our liaison in Nairobi, Pastor Isaac, to retrieve the Treasures for $60. As a token of gratitude for the relief of our debt, Pastor Isaac gave the Customs Officials their very own audio Bible in Swahili. God works in creative ways…
The Treasures arrived in Loki about the same time as flying slowed down in South Sudan. The past few weeks have been spent meeting with and distributing the audio Bibles among our local evangelical church leaders, Christian radio host (yep, we even have a radio station in town!), and different town-people who have heard of the “radio” and come to our gate asking for one. Most of the time, “radio” and the gesture of holding the device to their ear communicate all the English they know. It’s enough. One of the pastors brought a gentleman in his mid-20’s to our door to share his testimony (through a translator) about how the Treasure helped him accept Jesus as Savior. This particular Kenyan pastor takes the Treasures out into the hills to evangelize in the places white people don’t go.
Sharing the Treasure with our neighbors
Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support as God is reaching the unreached. We praise God for raising nationals who feel the burden to reach their brothers and sisters, and to move beyond tribal lines. Not one tribe or nation under God, but one world under God.
Time marches on. No one knows what tomorrow will hold for South Sudan or any of us. But to those who have kept the faith, what a joy it will be to have strangers approaching you in heaven saying, “It was you! Thank you for praying. Thank you for showing me the Way.”
In His Service,
Joel, LaReina, Renee and Ian