Day 6 – Yei

24 01 2013

Greetings from Harvester’s in Yei where it was a balmy 101 today; compare that to 12 F in Stafford, where the school kids had their first snow day! No Snow Days for the children here at Harvester’s (ever), but they are out of school too, enjoying their summer vacation. Our Vacation Bible School (VBS) begins each session by singing the same song that opened the Mt. Ararat Baptist Church VBS this past summer…”Everybody’s so Happpppppy….” It’s so gratifying to hear the kids singing that song on the compound while they are attending to their daily, outside chores at 8 AM and 3:30 PM. They collect huge, dead Teak leaves, then sweep the dirt with handmade brooms, which helps to keep the grounds very tidy.

Kristie led Day 4 of VBS with help from hubby, Donald. I really enjoyed working with the 7-9 year old children at VBS today. We had sand and water relays (Moses in the dessert theme) which were so much fun. Brent and the 2 and under crowd were our cheerleaders. The older kids (10-12) ran an awesome, obstacle course set up by Todd V.  Mindy and Karen had a “loaves and fishes” moment with the 3-6 year old kids. Since the numbers in each age group seem to vary every day, partially due to the number of children from the bush village tukuls, it’s difficult to know how much material to have available. One day there were about 30 kids, then 40. Today, they created 47 sparkly fins for the children to glue onto their fish craft, hoping no one would be left out; exactly 47 kids, in their age group, showed up today (Praise God)!

Praising God is a constant here at Harvester’s, beginning usually by 6:15 AM daily (a little later during their summer vacay). The morning prayer time is such a beautiful experience that it is worth mentioning again and again. Having been up very late the other night (strange bird sounds, frogs, drumming, chanting…), I just couldn’t get up early the next morning. I could still hear the children and was blessed to be serenaded while still in our hooch (mission house). I did miss the tiniest children as they wander into the cafeteria/church, rubbing the sleep from their eyes, happy to be picked up and cuddled by a visitor or one of their many kind brothers and sisters. As the sun comes up, the South Sudan sky is pink and red; the roosters are crowing (constantly) while the locals begin their trek into town via bicycle, motorbike, but mostly on foot. The women carry huge bundles on their heads, so their hands are free to greet their neighbors with a handshake. We are in a neat bungalow that is right on this “action packed,” dirt road.

IMG_0263My favorite time has been going out with the older, Harvester (HRTN) teenagers who lead weekly Bible study/worship in the neighborhoods outside of the HRTN compound. One or more groups go out every week night. In some cases more than 30 youngsters will be crowded into the one room, mud tukuls as these young, HRTN men and women present the Word. We walked quite a way on one of these visits, through millet fields, passing lush banana and mango trees, as well as palms and ferns with the largest leaves I’ve ever seen. No one was at the designated location when we arrived, because the usual teacher, Winnie, is visiting in Terekeka this month, so no one was expected. As the children began slowly arriving, almost everyone, no matter how young, would come up to us to shake our hand in greeting. One of the little girls was asked to lead the worship songs. Her little torn dress was falling off her shoulder, but she had the face and voice of an angel as she clapped a beat and the others followed her lead. I picked up a few words in the song, such as “Ra-buna shoo-koo-rhon” (thank God). The sounds of their voices were a call to worship and many children from surrounding tukuls began to eagerly arrive. We had close to 20 sitting outside on the ground as the Harvester girls, Grace and Ruta, encouraged testimony and prayer requests, after teaching their lesson. Afterwards, there were photos with the American visitors, “alowa” (sweets) for the children and some packages of tuna and salmon for some of the parents. It was sad to know that many of these sweet children, who live in the surrounding area, do not have food every day, much less protein.

IMG_0288The big news for the day is that our entire team began painting the exterior of the Harvester’s Church RED, with yellow trim. We had so many compliments about the white, primer coat, that we almost wished we could leave it that color. Our goal is to be finished in time for worship this Sunday. We are blessed to be the first group to add a coat of paint to the concrete exterior, since its 2008 completion.

Many thanks to all of my family, friends and MABC for helping to sponsor Buck and me. We wouldn’t be in this wonderful place if it hadn’t been for God and you opening the doors.

Terry Woodworth 1/24/13

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One response

26 01 2013
MJ

Well said Terry! We really enjoyed all of the details. It made us feel like we were there with you. Enjoy the rest of your stay!
MJ

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