All posts by Alex Smith

September 2022 Newsletter

Summer Team!

We had an incredible summer, and the highlight was hosting a team from Florida and California. One of our goals was to get our CHE Well Drilling Program up and running and to start training a local team of guys to continue the work in the CHE villages.

IDAT Water Well Drilling Team

Jim and Jane Boehm arrived in July for 3 months. Jim worked with Jed and a local team of guys, training them in well drilling.  They completed the first of six wells, which took longer than expected. We chose a site close to town and the IDAT compound and there was no better site than the CC Tonj church land. All the problems they faced gave Jim a great opportunity to thoroughly prepare his team to work through issues that might occur when he’s not there.

Jim with the first finished well

Please pray as we continue to train the team. We are in the middle of the rainy season which adds challenges, especially as we start drilling in the CHE villages, getting to those remote areas might be tricky! Pray for favor and wisdom so we can get at least 2 more wells drilled before Jim leaves.

“I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” Acts 20:35

Chaplain Training and Outreaches!

Two of the ten member team came specifically to train our hospital chaplains.

Pastors Frank and Cameron in class

I had shared the need, to help our hospital chaplains and train up new chaplains, with Ps. Frank from Catalyst Church and he agreed to come to South Sudan and help. He has served as a chaplain for many years and together with Ps. Cameron, they poured themselves out on our pastors and specifically focused on building them up as chaplains. We now have 20 trained and equipped chaplains to care for the spiritual well-being of our patients, providing 24-hour care for our ward and hospital.

Graduation of Chaplains

With the team we were able to do three medical outreaches to remote villages. Doctor Kym, along with IDAT Dr. Jono and Clinical Officer Maker, meant we could see several hundred patients at each outreach. With the extra help we set up a chaplain station and prayed for every patient.

Dr. Kym at IDAT medical outreach

With the current food crisis, we decided to take food to the lepers colony, as they are often an overlooked community. As well as giving sacks of food we cooked a meat stew and served it to them with rice. This was greatly appreciated!

Giving a hot meal at the lepers colony

We also distributed 66,000 lbs. of food at our 2nd mass food distribution that fed over 1,000 families in six communities! Please pray for South Sudan where 75% of the population are facing severe food insecurity.

Crowds waiting for food

The team did a great job sharing the food out. It was a long day and towards the end a bit of a frenzy as people realized the food was finishing and they might not receive. Pray as we plan to do one more outreach.

Pastor Cam distributing food

We also hosted a 2-day Youth Conference and will update in next month’s newsletter.

August 2022 Newsletter

Urgent Need!

This little girl really touched my heart. She is suffering so much and in desperate need of surgery. Please pray as you read her story that the Lord touches someone’s heart to help us to help her.

Achot with Suzy at the IDAT Hospital

Achot is a beautiful 7-year-old girl from our church who has heart failure due to Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD). In this condition damage occurs to the heart valves due to an autoimmune reaction to throat infection with streptococcal bacteria. RHD is rare in USA because we have readily available antibiotics, but it still occurs here in Africa where access to medical care is poor. As a result of her heart failure, she is struggling to breathe, gets frequent chest infections, and is not gaining weight. We sent the Echo scan images to a missionary cardiac surgeon at Tenwek Mission Hospital in Kenya, who is confident his team can repair the severely damaged mitral and tricuspid heart valves. This would give Achot the ability to live a normal life and raise a family. The surgery carries a 2-3% risk of mortality, but without surgery her life expectancy is very short. The cost of surgery and transport to Kenya is $12,000 and we would absolutely love to see beautiful Achot given a chance to have a normal life! To help with this need please email me.

The bible says:

“Carry each other’s burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

Pastor Mabior Bona Bol!

Pastor Mabior is the Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Tonj. Even though he lived in many other places, he returned to Tonj following a dream he had in 2015. In the dream he saw a large crowd of people, including top officials gathered in Tonj’s Freedom Square. Then he heard a voice saying, “who will teach these people God’s Word.” Mabior stood up and started praying. It was an amazingly powerful prayer for his people and country, crying out to God until the rain poured down. People were asking him “why don’t you become a pastor?” At this point he woke up from the dream and asked God what he should do?

Pastor Mabior Bona Bol

Pastor Mabior was raised Catholic. As a teenager but experienced no change in his life or heart. Later in 2008, as a young adult, he started attending a Pentecostal church while working in Rumbek and became born again. Jesus completely changed his heart. During this time, he was sent for pastoral training and felt called to ministry, but there were a few things in the Pentecostal church that disturbed him.

Mabior moved back to his home town of Tonj in 2017 but found his church choices were limited to the local Catholic church, an Episcopal Church, and an Evangelical church, called Calvary Chapel Tonj. He visited CC Tonj, and immediately loved the style of preaching and worship and knew he found his home church. He started serving first as a volunteer and then was hired as the assistant pastor. In 2019, he became the lead pastor. Last year during the IDAT soccer tournament he was preaching to a great crowd including officials and realized that was the dream he saw in 2015. Pastor Mabior will be ordained as a Calvary Chapel Pastor on December 18th 2022.

Water Well Drilling!

As the CHE program continues to multiply and bring transformation to the villages of Tonj, the primary obstacle to health that community leaders share with us is their lack of clean drinking water. In South Sudan, the average distance a family lives from safe drinking water is 5 km, and for many of our CHE communities it is much further.

IDAT Well Drilling Team

So this year we are excited to be piloting a water well drilling program! Jim from USA and Jed Kuj completed their training in July, and are now training our team here. Despite the challenges of old equipment, flooding, and limited experience, the team have just reached 25m deep on their first water well. If this pilot goes well, we hope to purchase a new drill rig at the end of the year.

First Well Being Drilled

July 2022 Newsletter

Bringing Hope through Jesus!

I’m heading back to Tonj this month with Jed, where In Deed and Truth are working so hard to provide food to the villages we are serving as a mission. We estimate 4,000 families need urgent assistance with food in our immediate area. We are also witnessing more and more pregnant and lactating mothers and children in our hospital with acute malnutrition. Our area is classed as a level 4 Emergency.

Rebekah

One elderly woman named Rebekah, who was suffering from a skin disease, came to us desperate and begging for food. Pastor Mabior was able to pray with her and encourage her and our team gave her medical treatment and food in the Name of Jesus. She wept and thanked us and we told her, “God loves you Rebekah, He sees you and we believe He brought you to us.”

Food Outreach in CHE Village

As we endeavor to love our neighbor in ‘Deed’ and ‘Truth’. We have purchased 10 tons of food so far and distributed this to the most vulnerable in CHE villages around Tonj. We can feed a family of 10-12 people for a cost of $50 for one month. If we can do this in July and August it will sustain them until they can harvest for themselves in September. IDAT is committed to supporting this need and you can help us provide food through donations to our ‘Food Crisis’ fund. http://bit.ly/idatfoodcrisis.

CHE Testimonies!

I love our Community Health Evangelism Program. It equips, empowers, educates and evangelizes!!

CHE Committee Training in Agur

Our CHE program is flourishing, with our dedicated Community Health Evangelists teaching 3,000 health and spiritual lessons to families around Tonj over the past month, resulting in 400 people making decisions to follow Christ. We continue to be encouraged by the constant stream of testimonies of transformation, healing and salvation taking place.

Rosa and Josephina Reconcile

These two ladies, Rosa and Josephina, in our new CHE village of Pala had taken each other to court over a dispute and hadn’t spoken to each for 5 months. However, when they heard the story of the prodigal son, taught by Marko Wutchok our CHE program manager, they both decided there and then to forgive each other and drop the court case to the great joy of the whole community!

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”
 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Akech and Abuk Reconcile

Akech Ajual and Abuk Aleu in Abui CHE center had been in a dispute for 7 years, and hadn’t talked or greeted each other in this time despite living in the same village. During the Abui CHE committee graduation, Akech was inspired to seek reconciliation with Abuk. They were able to forgive each other and pray together with our team, and are now living in peace, greeting each other, and even eating meals together!

CHE Committee Graduation

We are now in 38 villages, 29 are actively using CHE and 9 are in training! We have over 1,500 CHE volunteers serving these villages. They work really hard making an average of 2,500 home visits a month! We have over 80 bible listening groups using a solar audio bible in their native tongue.

Liitic Bible Listening Group

From those groups and sharing we had 1,423 decisions to follow Christ in the past three months. It is so exciting to be serving Him in this way! Thank you for your prayers!

June 2022 Newsletter

Pastors in Training

In 2012, In Deed and Truth Ministries graduated 13 pastors after spending three years in our Bible Institute.

Pastor Graduation Class of 2012

Our prayer has always been to continue training pastors and others interested in studying God’s Word at a deeper level. Now 10 years later we have 31 church plants and 35 pastors who desperately desire to be better trained.  It is a with great joy and excitement I can announce the Lord has heard our cry and answered our prayers to find teachers for our pastors. We have partnered with Intensive Care Ministries (ICM), who serve worldwide, equipping national Pastors and Christian workers in studying the Bible inductively.

Pastor Jim teaching IDAT Pastors

In May we welcomed Jim and Janice Larson, missionaries in Tanzania with ICM, to meet and assess IDAT pastors to see if we might be a good fit for their Inductive Bible Study course. We had 30 pastors in attendance and will start our first diploma course in December.

Pastors in Training complete Introduction to Inductive Bible Study

Blessings for Pastors

Many of our church plants are a days walk from Tonj or a few hours on a bicycle. Our heart was to provide a bicycle for our existing 25 pastors and the 10 new pastors in training. Thanks to a generous partner, we were able to purchase bicycles for the pastors in need. It was another answer to prayer!

New Bicycles for Pastors

We were able to distribute these bicycles at the last training.

Pastors Receiving their Bicycles

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”  2 Timothy 3:16–17

Another blessing was receiving 86 study bibles for me to take to these pastors for their training. A HUGE thank you to everyone who gave to this need.

Bibles for Pastors

Hunger Crisis in Tonj

South Sudan is on the midst of a food crisis driven mostly by last year’s severe flooding, destroying crops and threatening food security. Many of our CHE villages are affected and face extreme hunger.

Malnourished Child in our Hospital

I have witnessed this several times over the past 23 years but this year there has been no outside support. Most of these villages will not be accessible in a month or two due to heavy rain. We are already seeing people on the brink of famine and eating only leaves. IDAT is committed to supporting these villages and you can help us provide food through donations to our ‘Food Crisis’ fund. http://bit.ly/idatfoodcrisis

IDAT has started Food Distribution

The bible reminds us that just as we have accepted Christ Jesus as our Lord, we must continue to follow Him, walking in the Spirit with love, compassion, mercy and grace. Please be praying for Tonj.

May 2022 Newsletter

Church Dedication

Starting in September with the foundation, we were able to build our church ready for Easter Sunday!

Vertical posts for the new church
September 2021

This might not sound like a big deal but every brick had to be made on site and all other materials were trucked in from Juba.

Beginning of brick walls being built
December 2021

We used interlocking bricks to help reduce the cost of using a lot of cement. By March the walls were constructed and the roof trusses were ready.

Roof trusses being installed
March 2022

We had less than a month to get the roof on, add the windows and doors, plaster the interior and pour the flooring. Our dedicated team worked day and night literally to make sure we could have Easter service in the new church and by God’s grace we did it!!

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24

Outside of completed building
The Finished Church

On Good Friday, the congregation of CC Tonj met at the IDAT compound and marched two miles through the town to the church land.

People marching in lines
Good Friday Parade to CC Tonj

We then circled the church and laid hands on the walls as our Senior Pastor, Mabior Bona Bol, prayed and dedicated the church to the Lord for His glory and service.

People placing hands on wall of builing
Laying hands on the church walls

On Easter Sunday it felt like the entire town had come out for our celebration and first service.

A full sanctuary
Easter Sunday Service

Many of our church plants surrounding Tonj were visiting and celebrating with us that day, so we slaughtered several cows and goats and shared a meal together. After the food and fellowship we headed to the river for a multi-church baptism.

Large crowd praying
Hundreds Attend the Baptism

This was our largest baptism to date with 650 people registering and getting baptized from CC Tonj and several CC Church plants.

Pastor Mabior baptizing on Easter Sunday

Since we moved our church from our compound to the new land in 2020, which is a residential area, the church has tripled in size! This created a dilemma and delay as we reassessed the size and budget to build. We still have many things that aren’t quite finished but we rejoice that we are in a dry and sturdy building as we enter this rainy season. Pray we can eventually build overflow verandah’s, offices, Sunday school rooms, restrooms, water and solar power. The vision is that CC Tonj would eventually be able to operate and stand independently. from In Deed and Truth Ministries as a healthy, vibrant, God-fearing church that preaches the Word of God verse by verse!