Morobi Camp, zone 3 , d’ongo
We went to Morobi Camp, zone 3, D’ongo east to for church. There are a number churches in this camp, but because this camp was licensing 34 new Mother’s Union members and the Bishop was coming we met in one church. Our party included the three of us, Caroline, Fiona and Andrew, two Bishops, Joseph of Liwolo and Emmanuel of Kajo Keji, two archdeacon, Pianilee of the camp and one another and Canon Henry and various wives and staff. Quite a retinue. When we arrived there were about 35 people preparing some food and setting up. We were supposed to have arrived at 10, but due to the normal delays and relaxedness about time we arrived at 10:30. We were greeted and welcomed in the the guest house, a tukal emptied for the occasion, where we were served sweet tea and a meal, seated around the walls of the house. It is so gracious to be offered to wash hands by a young woman who kneels before each person, with a jug of clean water a bar of soap and bucket to catch the dirty water. It is necessary, because, while there are some forks and spoons available for our use, most will eat with their hands. Although we had eaten breakfast 3 hours earlier, it had been light, and we welcomed the meal. As it turned out it was good to have eaten as the service itself started 30 minutes later and lasted almost 4 hours.
It was such a privilege to be included in the celebration of this community, especially as they celebrate so very well. We began with being lead in by a choir- mostly youngsters- singing a song of welcome, accompanied by a quite slow shuffle step. It is one of the endearing and enduring qualities of all the communities, households and people we met, than in ever case the first word spoken is welcome, long before finding out names or any of the other things we would want to say.
This grand celebration had a large number of presentations, prepared songs, many written to be appropriate for the day. One song, prayed that all would be strong and loving like the orignal founding member of the Sudanese Mother’s Union. It seemed that every possible group within the community had prepared some thing. In fact, the service was so long that the Bishop apologized to the groups which had prepared something for which there was no time. It was a great pity , but born graciously. Throughout the whole service, even the children gathered around the small thatched church were attentive and quiet. However the Bishop was wise to shorten it a little.
Fiona and Andrew were informed the night before that they would be delivering the message. He told them that they had at least an hour between them. They did the same teaching that they had done 6 or 7 times previously. But will the teaching was the same the delivery, the examples and the interaction was different each time, shaped by the Lord’s leading, tailoring it to the people of each place. It was such a miracle to experience. Fiona spoke of the necessity to get out of our
Emotional brain which is directed by fear or habit and into the upper brain which is characterized by clear thinking, inspiration and quietness and the ability to be open and available. She taught and all 1423people (130 men, 800 and something children and 490 women) practiced the 7/11 breathing which is a great aid in accomplishing this. The breathing lead to a deep stillness and calm in the group that was palpable and the people were well prepared to received what Andrew might say.
Picking up from where Fiona left off, he spoke on the surety of God’s love and purposes, even in the face of great dislocation: his will is always drawing us to himself and glory. However, our anger and fear blind us to His presence and provision that leads us to glory. We have been constantly amazed how resilient these people are and how much the glory of God radiates from them. Andrew told this to them and encouraged them that this was more so now than before they were driven out of their homes. This is a sign of God’s abiding love. While the service started in lively fashion but it finished in joy. They are such an amazing people.
Of course we had to eat before we left, so we went on to two gardens and their groups fully replete with food as well as spirit. The agriculture groups are doing incredibly well, with different abilities and experience and very different soils. The training that they have received from Cress has given them the courage and knowledge to go forward and the financial support for seeds and basic tools. The requirement that they do this in a group has meant that they have a garden community in which to grow as farmers. This group had started with 40 people, which is far larger than the recommended 16 members. They did not want to say no to anyone. As a result of having a lot of available land, a blessing not share by other groups, and a large group they have tilled a more soil than they can maintain and nourish (manure and compost is hard to gather). The reality of the work has seen the group shrink to about 20 active members which is a much better size for cooperative working with the available tools. They have begun to see that ambition to get big, before they had established and farmed intensively a smaller plot is unsustainable. Even considering any of these critiques, they have made a wonderful start. The plan is that once each of these groups is well established (likely in 2-3 years) some of each group will be training new groups. However, many others, observing what they are doing and asking advice have started home patches. This little project is making a huge difference. Thank you all who have supported it.
We did not get back to Moyo until after 6:30PM after a tiring and entirely glorious day. Bishop Emmanuel’s wife, Cecilia, had be organizing a dinner for 14-15 of us by phone throughout the day, so we arrived at their house to find a wonderful meal waiting for us, which included vegetables grown by the group in Moyo town. In spite of being tired we had a very joyous time. We left at 10:30 for our guest house for our very welcome beds.