Champaigne Wishes and Caviar Dreams!!

Yan Cio Makur (my name is Todd), and I really want to express thanks from all the team members for the prayers that you have all been lifting up…please keep at it, we can use all the prayers you can afford to give on our behalf.
Today was pretty typical of the rest of our days, I start the morning with a long relaxing shower, followed by an all-you-can-eat breakfast, and then it’s off to the river for a little water skiing while the water is still glassy…this re-occuring dream is shattered by the sound of a braying donkey, which awakens me and reminds me that I’m not in Kansas anymore…or America for that matter. I could go on and on about how different things are in Tonj, but I’ll summarize by saying that God is indeed stretching all of us in unique and various ways.
Today was Sunday and we went to church at a leper colony. The people were very gracious and gentle, I think Stacie said it was the highlight of her week. We met for church under a large shade tree, the pews were worn logs about 4 inches in diameter stretched across two other sticks that were buried in the ground. The sticks that were buried in the ground had a fork at the top that held the pew (log) in place. Church started when we got there, and they all started singing in their typical African Tribal fashion (one man starts, and then everyone responds, repeat, add tribal drums on hand made instruments). Matt spoke to them about Mark 5 (the woman with the issue of blood that was healed when she touched the robe of Jesus in the crowd). Sabet interpreted, and it was FANTASTIC! Imagine the same Matt that walks around and really gets into his sermons, teaching through an interpreter that is mimicking his movements…we loved it and so did they.
After church we immediately went to a remote village to perform KidsGames for the Bongo tribe. Everywhere we go, Danielle is taking tons of pictures (big surprise, I know) and the people LOVE seeing their pictures on the back of the camera after it has been taken…as such, she is a huge hit wherever we go. KidsGames is great, but I would rather share with you about the pastors we have met since we have been here.
The people of Tonj are such an incredible inspiration, that I already know that I am going to miss them when we leave. I’ve had 2 opportunities to teach the group of 80 pastors already, and it has been amazing. I also found out that this training session was by invite only. Sabet said that if he had opened up the training to every pastor in the region, that we would have had many, many more. These pastors have small flocks that meet in mud huts with grass roofs. The pastors love God and they desperately thirst for Biblical teaching. They sit for 4 hours on wooden benches in a concrete building with a short 15 break in the middle. Most of them watch and listen intently while taking notes in a small notebook that was given to them at the beginning of the week. As I was teaching through Ephesians 6, and talking about Godly parenting, one pastor stood up to ask a question. Instead of asking a question he stated that life is hard in Sudan and very few have the education that is needed to raise their children in a Godly way, so he suggested that I stay in Sudan so that I could teach them how to raise their children. To which I responded by saying that my daughter ALSO needs to be raised in a Godly way and so I would have to go home. They all laughed, but the truth of the matter is that they really do long for this type of teaching. And you don’t have to be a Seminary graduate to teach these men, you just have to know your way around the scriptures, and have a willing heart. The pastors are awesome men that truly inspire us, pray for them as they leave and go back to their flocks.
Everyone on the team is doing an amazing job in this remote place, I’m thrilled to be working alongside these people. And the same can be said of the permanent staff here in Tonj, Jean-Paul the doctor is truly a man with a heart for God and a gentle and loving spirit. Kathryn, the nurse assistant is energetic and loves God with all her heart. And of course Sabet & Suzy are an inspiration to us all.
There’s a head-cold working its way through our team, so please pray for health and strength. We miss you all, but really feel that God is using us in a mighty way.