All posts by Alex Smith

April 2022 Newsletter

The Future of IDAT

Last year we announced our desire to train a Medical Doctor to run the IDAT Hospital and lead the medical team as the Medical Director. We rejoice that the Lord heard our cry and Gabriel Gojoh has been in medical school for the past 8 months. Our ministry has invested in our own medical staff over the last 9 years so they can fill the primary roles needed in our hospital. Gabriel started with IDAT in 2010 as a Community Health Worker and was trained on the job. He loves helping people and we chose him to receive a scholarship back in 2013, where he studied Clinical Medicine and graduated top of his class as a Clinical Officer in 2016. It has been a joy to watch him grow spiritually and take on leadership roles and responsibilities. As the hospital grows. so does the need to raise up the next generation of medical professionals to continue to walk out the vision the LORD has given us.

Medical Student Gabriel Gojoh

This is a huge seven-year commitment for Gabriel, who is away from his family, living in a foreign land and not earning an income that has previously helped his younger siblings go to school. Would you remember Gabriel in prayer, write him in your prayer journal and share his story with your prayer groups. Gabriel said, “he is grateful to God for this opportunity and is doing well.”

The Fruit is Sweet

All over Tonj you will find 40 year old mango trees. They’re huge and during the months of March and April there is plenty of fruit to enjoy. The IDAT compound has 4 large trees, two of which are not publicly accessible. Sure enough the mangoes on the other trees are stripped quickly, while they are still green. On the other two trees though, we let the mangoes ripen until they are yellow, juicy and sweet. It’s definitely worth the wait!!

In today’s culture of instant everything, we have a hard time waiting for the fruit in our life, families, ministries, to ripen. The book of Galatians in the New Testament of the bible, the Apostle Paul encourages us to “not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” This verse has become a theme for IDAT in 2022. It has taken years of hard work, sacrifice, planting seeds, watering those seeds and waiting for the harvest. Now in 2022 we are enjoying the spiritual fruit and like the mangoes, it was worth the wait. Our CHE program continues to expand, in the first quarter of this year we added more centers making a total of 38 and we hope to add another 19 by December. Our hospital faithfully serves 50,000 pregnant mothers and infants each year. We have multiplied ourselves with 35 pastors now on the team and being trained for effective service. We now have 29 church plants and it continues to grow!! If you’re going through a tough season don’t be discouraged, in God’s perfect timing it will be worth the wait!

IDAT Pastor’s Studying God’s Word

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!”   Psalm 34:8-9

Suzy and Jed’s Easter Trip

What a joy to be back with the team in Tonj. And what a journey to get there. First flight was cancelled forcing a 5-hour drive. COVID test came back late forcing another change to rebook everything by 24 hours. One night sleeping on the airport floor! Finally got the negative test only to be told it was past the date allowed for the arrival. Managed to persuade them to board us and then the uncertainty of the next 4 flights and wondering if they would refuse us at any point! In the middle of the chaos the Lord reminded me, He is in control, TRUST ME, He said. Relax, and let me be God!! So grateful for the peace that came over us and thankful we made it along with the oxygen concentrator, CPAP, oximeter, medical uniforms, baby blankets and student tablets we were carrying! Sitting on the cold, hard airport floor in Atlanta I thought about the hundreds of refugees I’ve worked with over the past 20 years and how horrific their journeys were to get to safety. I passed the time praying for the millions of Ukrainians whose lives took an unexpected turn and are now facing their own journey of uncertainty. Suddenly, my ‘travel’ crisis just didn’t feel like a crisis anymore!

Welcome of Suzy and Jed at the Tonj Airstrip

This trip is for the purpose of dedicating the new main church plant, CC Tonj on Easter Sunday and to welcome two missionaries with Intensive Care Ministries who are coming specifically to train our pastors. Battlefield, warfare, obstacles, YES!! “For the battle is not ours, but God’s.”

March 2022 Newsletter

Transforming Lives through CHE!

Through IDAT’S Community Health Evangelism, individuals become followers of Jesus and communities are released from poverty through tangible solutions that change the course of their lives.  We have taught CHE for over ten years at In Deed and Truth in Tonj, and I have witnessed first hand that it is one of the most powerful teaching methods for sharing the love of Christ in life transforming ways in communities fraught with poverty and disease. We can’t change ourselves. But the Holy Spirit can transform our hearts and our lives. It’s what gives us hope.

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

A recent story of how CHE has truly changed lives would be this incredible testimony from the field.

IDAT Ps. Reuben (red) with Marko and Albino

 

Marko Biith & Albino Ater were known in their community as fighters. Wherever conflict was occurring, they would go and capitalize on the fighting by stealing people’s cows. One day they were passing by a CHE training in the village of Parasika and heard Pastor Rueben sharing the gospel. They were convicted by the Holy Spirit to leave their stealing and become followers of Jesus. Last month Marko was visiting his sister when he heard fighting coming from a nearby house. He ran over and found a man severely beating his wife, so he leapt in front of the woman to protect her. Marko then talked with the man about caring for his wife, and the man repented and reconciled with his wife. Through the transformative power of Jesus Christ, Marko and Albino have gone from being cattle raiders to community peacemakers!

There’s More…..!

When William Deng was selected by his community to be a CHE committee member he had no understanding of God’s love for him. He regularly joined the local witchdoctor in offering animal sacrifices and worshiping idols.

William (hat) with IDAT CHE trainer Simon

In May he was arrested after being falsely accused of shooting someone. He was grateful when the guards in prison gave him VIP treatment because he was wearing a CHE shirt. The guard was grateful that some CHE volunteers had recently come and helped clean the prison as an act of community service! While in prison William  had an encounter with God, which radically transformed him. After he was found to be innocent and released from prison, he went home and burnt all his idols, and has since joined Calvary Chapel Tonj. Two weeks ago he was appointed chief of his community, and when our CHE leaders visited he was giving all the glory to God!

What makes CHE unique is the community select their own CHE’s, who mostly do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. We train them and they teach Christ-centered community development. Through the spiritual lessons they hear and pass to others, their own lives are challenged and changed. As a community starts to put into practice the lessons from ‘CHE’ they also start to learn about God, His love for them and His plan versus satan’s plan for them.  Since starting CHE on 2012 we have 29 active CHE centers and another 9 training their committees. New believers are joining the churches and from these CHE centers we have planted 21 churches. It has been a beautiful, natural progression born from the hunger and desire for righteousness within the community. So many people turning away from trusting in witchcraft and false gods and putting their trust in Jesus.

When an entire community is affected by CHE and lives are being transformed, the witness to other villages is phenomenal, creating a ripple effect and chiefs are now coming and begging us for CHE in their village.  That’s because CHE releases people from a cycle of physical poverty and a life of spiritual poverty too.

CHE brings the community together

Due to CHE programs, many households now have dish drying racks, cooking stoves, rubbish pits and vegetable gardens.

CHE Seed distribution

*Please pray for Suzy and Jed who fly to Africa on April 2nd.

February 2022 Newsletter

Training Indigenous Leaders!

Before going to the mission field I heard a missionary share that if you have sat in a bible teaching church in USA for at least 6 months you are more qualified to teach God’s word in a third world country than most indigenous pastors. About 90% of these global church pastors and ministry leaders have very little training to do the vital work they are called to. IDAT has made training indigenous leaders a priority because it fulfills a Biblical mandate.

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ. – Ephesians 4:11-12

Paul’s instructions are clear and a God given assignment, to equip believers to carry out the work of the ministry, wherever a body of believers exists, we are appointed to equip them!

the instructor Pastor Mabior standing in front on men sitting in at tables in classroom.
Pastor Mabior teaching our village pastors

Ten years ago we graduated 13 pastors from our Discipleship Training Center. We now have 25 full-time pastors and ten new pastors needing to be trained. IDAT is committed to equip these servants of God to share the Word of God effectively. We are currently doing monthly pastor training and if you’re interested in partnering with us to help with this need, please let me know via email, we have scheduled trips in April and July.

Please pray for the Lord’s blessing and favor over a connection I made at the Calvary Chapel Missions Conference. We are hoping to partner with a ministry that will start a bible school!  They are planning to come to Tonj and teach May 4th-11th.

Missions Conference!

What a joy and blessing to attend the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa Missions Conference in person and with Hannah, Agum and Jed. It was great to connect with old and new friends and make some ministry connections, especially for training our pastors. It was also refreshing, encouraging and affirming to sit under such great teaching. We were reminded that as Christians we are serving on a battlefield not a playground! As missionaries we live a risky but rewarding life to take the gospel to the unreached. It was a great privilege to be part of the Africa panel and share what the Lord is doing in South Sudan.

A group of four people on stage sitting on stools
Suzy on the Africa Panel

I am so grateful for the opportunity to meet and share with many of you in Southern California while I was there.

A group of people posing for a photo

Suzy sharing IDAT’s Vision for 2022Many of you showed an interest in a short-term mission trip to Tonj in 2022. Here are some dates to pray over:

April/May 2022 – Church dedication, and Chaplain/pastors training.

July/August 2022 – CHE Well Drilling Training, medical outreaches and pastors training.

October/November 2022 – Cataract Outreach, medical outreach and pastors training.

 New Church Building!

Please pray as we continue with the construction of our new church.

Men digging dirt with shovels.
Making bricks

One of the challenges we faced that caused a significant delay was our brick machine stopped working. So thankful for MAF who sent us their mechanic to fix it.

Stacks of bricks with tarp pulled back.
Interlocking Bricks

The builders use these interlocking bricks which use little cement and no mortar.

Construction worker in foreground, one worker on scaffolding building church walls.
Construction of the Church

Our prayer is to dedicate the church on Good Friday and have our first service on Easter Sunday!

Partly constructed walls of a building without roof.
The interior of the church

January 2022 Newsletter

Happy New Year!

As we celebrate the New Year, we thank God for YOU our partners and supporters. It’s because of you we are now going into our 23rd year of serving in Tonj, South Sudan!! We are so grateful for the way you supported us in prayer and partnered financially with the vision of In Deed and Truth Ministries. 2021 was a challenging year but also a fruitful one! Here’s a recap of how the Lord used us in 2021 and impacted an entire community for the Kingdom of God.

Our ministry has three areas we reach out to the Tonj community: our church plants, our mission hospital, and our community health evangelism program.

In 2021, our Maternal and Pediatric Mission Hospital treated over 44,000 patients! We saw over 9,000 pregnant mothers, an increase of 2,000 since 2020. We delivered 541 babies in a safe environment, which is a growth of 60% from 2020.  We vaccinated thousands of children and cared for 1,715 inpatients that were admitted on our ward. Many of these were premature babies in need of oxygen and an incubator.

Baby Makim is one of over 1,700 patients admitted to the IDAT Ward

Our 24-hour care literally saved hundreds of lives physically but we also poured into each patient spiritually, making sure every patient was prayed for and heard the gospel. Many prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior before going home or being discharged from the ward. Our chaplains pray with them, pray over them, and bless them.

CHE!

Ten years ago the Lord gave us a vision for Community Health Evangelism (CHE) Centers for villages in and around Tonj. By 2016 we had three active CHE centers that were working really well. In 2019 we added five more and 2020, despite the covid and civil unrest, we still managed to establish three new centers, increasing our CHE impact from 3 to 11 village communities. CHE was influencing so many people we had more requests from village chiefs to start CHE in their villages and in 2021 we added another 20 CHE centers with seven more planned for the first quarter of 2022!

Large assembly of people
CHE’s in Training

We now have 2,530 Community Health Evangelist’s serving as volunteers through 31 CHE centers. They made 37,660 homes visits in 2021, sharing physical health and spiritual lessons. Using solar-powered audio bibles these CHE villages held 427 bible listening group meetings in 2021 with 6,075 attendances and 4,953 decisions for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

Man standing in front of group
CHE lessons being taught in the villages

This explosion in our CHE villages has led to a hunger for bible teaching and the need for church plants. This new year as we embark on true life change, we start off the year with a spirit of praise!

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3

Church Planting!

It is important that we start this New Year by praising God for all the amazing blessings He has given us in 2021 and by faith we praise Him for the blessings we are about to receive in 2022. We are excited to dive into this year, ready to glorify Him. We currently have 21 church plants, with a combined annual attendance of 110,000 in 2021! Of those, 4,261 were new to church.

Man under awning
CHE lessons being taught in the villages

We are praising Jesus for the 3,959 new believers that received salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. We started the new year with a mass baptism of all the churches and making the total of baptisms 2,845 in 2021.

Man preaching the gospel to crowd
Ps. Mabior sharing at the New Year Baptism

Pray for Pastor Mabior and our 25 other pastors. We will be doing monthly pastor training throughout 2022 and if you’re interested in a trip to South Sudan to help with this need, please email us.

Men sitting in at tables in classroom
Pastors In Training

December 2021 Newsletter

Cataract Surgeries!

In Deed and Truth Ministries has been partnering with Tenwek Mission Hospital for more than 10 years to bring cataract surgeries to the people of Tonj. This year Samaritan’s Purse supported Tenwek Eye team to get to the field and covered the expenses of us hosting the team.

Cataract team during surgeries

We turned our maternity clinic into an operating room and completed almost 400 surgeries in 5 days!!

eight people sitting on a bench. several are wearing medical masks.
Patients waiting for surgery

There were many amazing testimonies from the week but this one really stood out. A spear master was blind and came to the cataract clinic. He briefly heard the gospel while being screened. After he had surgery and the patch was removed, his sight was restored. The spear master then requested to hear the gospel in greater depth. He brought his two brothers with him and Pastor Joseph sat down with them and shared the gospel.

Man in IDAT shirt standing behind three sitting older gentlemen.
Ps. Joseph with the spear master and brothers

The spear master and his brothers all gave their hearts to God and openly declared they are giving up their previous life. They were jokingly saying “there is no witchcraft that can do surgery on the eyes!”

Soccer Final!

Our 2021 sports outreach ended with the soccer tournament final and an amazing turnout of spectators.

Two opposing soccer players and the soccer ball.
IDAT Soccer Tournament

The pastors witnessed thousands of people attending the final match. During the course of the tournament, so many were evangelized at each match by pastors sharing the gospel using tracts and also through the radio broadcasts.

boy holding the printed flyer in front of his face.
A spectator hold up a tract he received

The biggest radio station in Juba called Radio Tamazuj, picked up the story of the tournament and shared it across South Sudan, praising IDAT for their service and care of the Tonj youth!

Congratulations to the winning team ‘Tonj United’. We are so proud of you!

twelve soccer players almost lined up for group photo
Winners of IDAT Soccer Tournament 2021 ‘Tonj United’ Soccer Team

Church Building!

We have so much to be thankful for in 2021 but one area is the rapid growth of our church CC Tonj. We have started the building of the new church and ask you to be in prayer for us to complete it in the dry season (Before June).

The lower eight-feet of the church walls with columns extending from them 8-feet more.
CC Tonj

‘The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.’ – HAGGAI 2:9

Happy Christmas!

May your Christmas be peaceful and filled with love, laughter, hope, joy, and the Spirit of the Lord be upon you and your family.

On behalf of our family, the IDAT Board of Directors, our USA volunteers and our Tonj Team, we thank you for all your support and prayers in 2021 and we look forward to our continued partnership in 2022;
Have a Blessed Christmas!