These photos speak for themselves. We had an amazing day. God totally blessed us and gave us favor with the government. It started with you, giving generously so we could provide an adequate space for our inpatients and here it is!
Our dear NZ volunteer and friend, Richard Welch, made the foundation ready and then Travis (project manager) came from New Zealand, with his dad and cousin, to build the ward and completed it in just 5 months! It truly was God’s children joining hands across the world to make this happen.
We were truly honored the National Minister of Health flew especially from Juba with several government ministers and a TV crew to officially open the new ward.
They honored Suzy with a traditional cow hide dress worn in the cattle camps.
A huge crowd attended and following the speeches, we celebrated with lots of dancing and singing.
Hannah is back from her 4 months in USA. She was able to catch up on school and complete grade 10. Suzy, Agum and Jed traveled to Kenya to meet her and take a short break. While in Kenya the kids spent a week at Camp BlueSky.
With the new ward building and more volunteers arriving, Sabet decided to stay in Tonj. During this time, Dr. Dave Pierce came for 4 weeks to help cover the busy malaria season in the clinic and to help us with the profiles for our upcoming ‘Pastor Sponsorship’ program. The launch of this program should be ready in the next few weeks, so if you’re interested we will be sending more details next month. Dave also spent countless hours working on the solar power requirements to give our clinic and new ward adequate power throughout the day and night. This upgrade will hopefully eliminate the need to use the generator which is so costly.
But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” — Luke 18:27
Medical Teams Worldwide!
In addition to Dr. Dave we had a small team volunteer for a week from Medical Teams Worldwide, who are now partnering with IDAT. Dr. Kelley served in the clinic, Babu taught a leadership workshop to the elders of CC Tonj and Eric began preparing a foundation for Dr. Kelley’s module home so he has a permanent place to stay when he comes.
New Ward Opening!
Our new ward is just weeks from being finished. It will have 20 beds which is more than double of the capacity we currently have. Over the past few weeks we have had to house in-patients in our devotion room, maternal waiting home and on the verandah’s! We thank God for Travis and his team that have worked tirelessly to get this project finished in just 5 months. The National Minister of Health is flying from Juba with 10 officials and a television crew to attend the opening ceremony.
This has been one of the hardest month’s in the clinic. The cerebral malaria has claimed many young lives. Despite these losses we have had many victories and hundreds of children have been rescued from the brink of death. Achol came in convulsing and
completely stopped breathing.
After sending the urgent prayer request through instagram (IDATSUDAN), she immediately started to improve and went on to make a quick and full recovery!
It’s hard to believe our family is coming to the two-year mark of being back in South Sudan and making plans for our next home assignment from December through March. We are excited to see our family, friends and ministry partners. We are willing to travel and would LOVE the opportunity to share with your church, small group, bible study or fellowship. If you are interested in having us visit, please email email@example.com to make arrangements. We are in need of accommodation in San Diego in January/February and also in need of a car to use in CA and FL. Please email us if you can help with any of these needs.
Our church is growing in size but more exciting is the spiritual growth. Sabet has raised up two pastors to help him with teaching and administration. With several church plants in the villages his team are addressing some of the social and cultural issues these churches are facing. They started with a marriage seminar and went deep into God’s Word and what it says about marriage.
Polygamy is legal and widely accepted even among church members. Sabet shared from Genesis 2:21-24 and how God values men and women equally and His intention is for them to become one body. Weeks later we started hearing testimonies from the churches of how people are making changes in their lives. One man had cows ready and was about to pay the dowry for his second wife. After the seminar he realized this was not God’s will for him and decided to use the cows to help the church instead.
Another lady had carried the burden for years that her last born child was not from her husband. After the teaching she was so convicted, and convinced God was speaking only to her! She couldn’t sleep so the next day she confessed to the church pastor and her husband with total brokenness and now they are working on reconciliation. We are praising Jesus for the awakening among the people here.
World Cup Outreach!
Football (soccer) is massive in Africa. Every male from young to old knows how to play and has their favorite teams and players. In keeping with the excitement surrounding the kick-off of the FIFA World Cup, our church organized a special sports outreach for the young men and women in our church. They invited their friends and it was an opportunity to have fun and fellowship together. We had volleyball and table tennis tournaments.
We arranged to have the opening game on-screen through satellite as the local people don’t have electricity in their homes and have limited access to watching TV.
After watching the game Sabet gave a short message and the church prayed together. It was a great day! Please keep our church plants in your prayers.
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:9
Zac and Rebekah!
Rebekah and Isaac are nurses from New Zealand who have been with us since mid-May. They both feel called to medical missions, have a desire to serve in Africa and were excited to have the opportunity through IDAT to explore this further, spending five months here with us during our crazy busy malaria season.
Most of their time is spent in the clinic and inpatient ward. Rebekah has been busy with the organization of the ward and setting up equipment and a resus room for emergency situations. As well as serving in the clinic, Isaac has been helping Sabet with the new believers’ class. And they have both been helping to training the community health workers, recently focusing on the new recruits that just started.
They are both inspired by what God is doing in Tonj with IDAT and excited to be a part of it. Pray for their protection and future direction in missions.
The ‘Happy Healthy Home’ initiative is part of our CHE program. CHE is continuing to gain momentum in the villages of Bobi, Warrak & Guaria. Over the past few weeks our team have visited several hundred homes of CHE participants as part of our ‘Happy Healthy Home’ competition between the villages. We encourage CHE families to implement changes in the home to make a Happy Healthy Home and receive a certificate. They are evaluated on eight physical components, like child vaccination, sleeping under mosquito nets and using a tippy tap for hand washing. They are also evaluated on seven spiritual components like being part of a bible study, and able to share their testimony.
We were so blessed to see so many homes having implemented all 15 criteria! Warrak won the award for the most completed Happy Healthy Homes, and Bobi for the most participating homes (almost the whole village!). Over the coming weeks we’ll be having feasts in these villages to celebrate their achievements.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.” – Psalm 127:1
Maternal Waiting Home!
South Sudan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, and one of the key contributors is women giving birth in remote villages without any skilled health attendant or way of getting help if there are complications.
Our medical clinic has a thriving Antenatal program but a lot of the women who attend our clinic come from villages miles away for their check-ups so they don’t come back during labor. Thankfully, we can predetermine those women with high risk through ultrasound and advise them accordingly.
Last year, Dr. Destinee Macleod proposed we start a small maternal waiting home for women with high risk pregnancies living in remote areas so they can stay in their final weeks of pregnancy and have a safe birth.
The maternal waiting home is a hut big enough for the entire family to come so children can stay with the mother. It is built on our land so the mother can be monitored closely and attended to in labor.
In March, Achut along with her husband and daughter arrived to stay in the home. They had lost their two previous children, and scans showed potential complications in this pregnancy. Achut gave birth safely to her first son at our clinic, and she named him Richard after our missionary who passed away in March while building our new Maternity & Pediatrics ward here in Tonj.
Volunteer Short Term Missionaries!
One of the ways God is using short-term missionaries is through training programs. These vitally needed trainings can only happen when we have the extra help. This year we have volunteer STM from March up until October. Amy Nilsson is a nurse from New Zealand and was here last year for 5 months and staying 4 months this year.
She has been training our new Community Health Workers, none of which have been through any formal training. She set out some learning objectives and ran a training workshop teaching them key skills they need for working in the clinic; setting up infusions, giving injections, wound dressings, assessing patients and recognizing a deteriorating child. They were all very eager to learn.
Every year, before the heavy rains start, we truck thousands of dollars of medicine from Kenya to South Sudan. This enables our clinic to stay open year-round and provide lifesaving medicine to pregnant mothers and children.
Last year we saw over 40,000 patients and this year we expect the number to rise. During the rainy season from May to October, we see increased numbers of malaria patients sometimes over 300 in one day! It only costs $5 per patient to cover the running costs of our medical clinic, which includes year-round medicine supplies and staff. EVERY patient hears the gospel, and many receive Christ through our three full-time chaplains who offer counseling and prayer.
God has called us and entrusted to us this amazing work for His Kingdom and His Glory. We know He owns it all and we’re the instruments He is using to accomplish wonderful things here in Tonj. When God directs us to share the needs of this ministry we take that responsibility seriously trusting the Spirit to stir hearts in response. As you pray for our ministry this month, please pray if this is an area the Lord is directing you to be involved in. We currently have 52% of our monthly needs met by fully invested financial partners. This is an opportunity for you to join us in furthering His Kingdom!
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” – Psalm 24:1
CHE in Bobi!
This past year you have helped us establish CHE in three remote villages. Community Health Evangelism (CHE) is thriving and every week we are hearing testimony after testimony of lives being transformed through CHE. Our villages are currently working on getting their “Healthy Happy Home” certificates. Bobi homes are digging pit latrines which in turn will reduce the spread of diseases.
By supporting our CHE training you are saving lives in three remote villages in one of the poorest countries in the world. We believe CHE is working effectively because we have you, our amazing prayer partners, covering this program and we know that prayer changes lives. Hundreds of people are coming to know Jesus as their personal Savior. Churches have been planted and are growing dramatically. Household incomes have increased, death in young children has decreased. Instead of turning to witchcraft to solve their problems they are turning to Jesus. He is answering prayers for healing, protection, and provision. This is what CHE is about, focusing on preventing problems while growing in Spirit and Truth. Join us in praising God for the fruit of our CHE program!
A New Smile!
It’s so awesome to see the body of Christ working hand in hand to bring a new smile and more importantly a new hope to people born with a cleft lip. A volunteer medical team from Samaritan’s Purse notified us they would be in Juba repairing cleft lips in April and if we could register any patients that have a need, they would send an airplane to pick them up, do the surgery in Juba and drop them back to Tonj a few days later. This is the third time we have partnered with Samaritan’s Purse to transform lives through cleft lip surgery.
Almost all people born with any kind of disfigurement in South Sudan are considered cursed, they are often shamed, shunned by their peers and abused. Over 20 patients were sent to Juba and treated. This is a new beginning for them physically, socially and spiritually as they return home with a new smile.