Final blog entry as the Terekeka team

31 01 2013

In South Sudan, Cool is a flavor.

This blog post is our final blog post concerning our January 2013 MABC South Sudan Mission Trip to Terekeka. We decided as a team to construct a compilation of our observations and revelations during our time in Terkeka. Cool is a flavor as we came to realize cool water tastes different in the challenging climate of Terekeka during dry season.

This is Steve Sokoly. This was my 2nd trip to Terekeka, my 4th trip on a MABC mission trip to a Harvesters orphanage. Each trip brings me some things to really consider and draws me closer to a God who loves us. One big item I realized was that when giving to Harvesters in South Sudan, we should all give the very best we have to offer. While the difference in price for those giving an item for a sea container headed to Harvesters may be the difference of 100% in price difference to us, the reality on the other end in Africa is priceless. It is best to provide only the best items when it comes to many things like tools and equipment. I really think my biggest lesson is to give our best to God as He offered His best to us in the sacrifice of His Son. In Colossians 3:17 we’re told “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” The difference between simply giving something to be sent to Harvesters and giving the best is played out in that there is NO Home Depot, True Value or Lowes anywhere within 37 hours of Terekeka. When a cheap item breaks, they have to make do without. And that does present other challenges as they build the new school at Terekeka. Finally, from the book of Colossians also: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

This is Tara Ferguson. This was my first trip to Harvesters Terekeka but one of many mission trips. One thing I am always asked when returning home is “How was the trip, was it worth it?” What is worth the expense, the hardships….the time away from my family? It is very simple—an 8 pound, 7 month old baby came one afternoon to the gate of orphanage, he was given some milk and we prayed that he would survive the night. Joseph did survive and was eating formula when we left. Baby Bero’s legs were so bent and tight when we arrived but after some physical therapy and fashioning some splints his legs are straighter. Perhaps next year I will see him walking. Bota, Wani, Amani, Cici…..and the names go on, children whose only home is Harvesters eat everyday and are given the hope of Christ—well they held my hands and said they would pray for me…THE TRIP WAS ETERNAL AND MORE THAN WORTH IT!

This is A.J. Johnson. Like Tara this was my first trip to Harvesters or Africa in general. As a matter of fact it was my first mission trip ever, I figured why not start big. I went with certain ideas in my head of what it was going to be like and some of those came true while others were blown out of the water. As a paramedic I see many things in life but seeing a 7 month old come through the gate that weighed less than my son when he was first born would qualify as an awakening. I saw the joy in the kids faces even being in the situation they are in. If I learned one thing it is that GOD made us a lot stronger than we give ourselves credit for if we can just get ourselves out of the way. Thank you to all those that supported me either through monetary means or prayers, all are evenly appreciated and allowed me to go and bring back a new understanding of life.

This is Todd Pierpoint. This was my third trip to Sudan and second trip to the Terekeka . I enjoyed spending time with the team and getting to know them better, it is always amazing how little we know about each other. I enjoyed watching the ladies connect with the kids, how God was breaking down barriers between the kids and our team. With the kids growing up in that culture that they do it is hard for them to trust people. It was cool to watch how God used everybody’s skills on this trip from medical to working with the kids to construction work. One day when I was not feeling well I spent the day with the ladies and rode to town with them. Kim was talking about how they crave relationships with other people. I had not even considered this as part of the reason God had us there, but at that time it became very clear how God was using us for his kingdom work. I guess to summarize the two weeks in the bush, God allowed me to see more of his heart and how his kingdom work is getting done. Wow we serve an awesome God who cares for every person he ever created. God Bless! !

This is Lori Hubbard. I’m like AJ, in that this was my first mission trip ever. I’ve done lots of “service” at home, but there is no way to describe the difference in serving God on His mission field in a foreign country. The conditions were what I expected, except the heat was more intense only because there is no relief. You work “sweaty” all day, eat “sweaty”, shower “sweaty” and sleep “sweaty” too…I think my hair is mildewed in that it never really dried for the 12 days we’ve been here. However, what I didn’t expect was the emotional and spiritual connection that can be and would be made in 12 days. Those that know me, know that as an introvert by nature, I can keep people at arms length easily so that I don’t have to “invest” myself…true confession time…but these children, this work…there is no being here and not having your very soul touched. I cannot listen to the children sing, watch them play, see how they help one another care for those smaller, fight like normal “siblings” and watch how they are starved for physical and emotional attention, and not want to continue to help the work that Harvesters is doing here. They want what we all have and take soooo for granted; families to love, clothes on their back, shoes on their feet and enough food to support their growing bodies. Yet, to see their joy in simple things, finding “wheels” in the trash pile for a truck made out of a carton, using bits of the broken water balloons on the ground as rubber bands to do their hair, giggling at having piggy back races in their dorm room with a couple of silly American woman…hmmm….I’m dealing with feelings of shame and guilt? Not guilt that I’ve been blessed to be born in America and suffer from excess in everything I am and do, but because I’ve been so insular and not being WILLING to recognize that to those much has been given, much is expected. As I assess what I’ve learned, what I feel, how 12 days will change me, I ask that you continue to pray for Lance and Kim Klepp and all of their staff in Terekeka. Pray for their spiritual and emotional support, pray for the villages around them and the officials that they continually work with, that they will find favor; pray for their monetary support…there is so much more work that can and will be done through this ministry and they need us in any way that we are able to give…won’t you consider supporting a child, if you don’t already. They are precious and so worth our investment. Thank you to all for your prayers during our time there, it was appreciated…and yes, I cried when I had to say goodbye to the sweet faces and hoist myself up into the land cruiser for the punishing ride back to Juba…but oh my, what a completely different ride back to Juba than to coming in…now I understood that every teeth-rattle rut we hit that I wrote about on the first day was worth it and I would gladly undertake again. I pray God has that in my future.

This is Buck Rodgers. I had the privilege of leading these two team to South Sudan to help Harvesters in Terekeka and Yei. God provided the right mix of people with the right skills to handle what He had planned for us to do. We learned some important lessons for going there in January (dry season). Our efforts are making a difference to the people who are there, both those who are missionaries and those who are receiving the benefits of the orphanages. Thank you for this opportunity to serve. Buck out.




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