This morning in our team devotions (when we all gather first thing in the morning to read from God's Word and pray together before spreading out to our various ministries for the day), Vicki shared from Psalm 46. A few months ago, in June - just before the South's Independence - I too had shared from Psalm 46 in a morning devotion. Why is that significant? you might ask... well on BOTH occasions, without our previous knowledge, only an hour or two after our devotion time fighting broke out in ares just north and east of us. BOTH times. Let me share Psalm 46 with you:
1 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should shake
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
3 Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered;
He raised His voice, the earth melted.
7 The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold.
8 Come, behold the works of the LORD,
Who has wrought desolations in the earth.
9 He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
He burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold.
I would like to recount today's events so that you can praise with us, this God of Ours who sees, cares, intervenes, protects, and provides...
7:00-7:30 - team devotions
8:20 - phone call from James Hurun (my Mabaan Dad who is in Renk right now - to tell me that there was fighting in a place called Damazine - in the North, and north of Kurmuk which is about a 1/2 hour flight away from Doro).
8:30 - Nehemiah came to work and confirmed the above information. Vicki and I contacted our office in Nairobi to notify them, and that all was well in Doro.
8:30-9:30 - Christiane Checked email and an Antanov plane flew by (not over us, but close enough to hear it's unmistakable drone) and I updated my FB status with the Damazine News headline from the Sudan Tribune
9:40 - Nehemiah our compound manager came onto the compound looking for me to tell me that he'd just gotten off the phone with someone in Kurmuk who said that the Antanov had dropped bombs there.
9:50 - I contacted our director to give him this news and he then contacted our partners AIM Air to turn around a flight that had just picked up missionaries from 3 organizations in Kurmuk and Yabus to have them return and evacuate the rest of our Yabus personnel (Krumuk and Yabus are very close and often 'share' trouble when it comes).
10:00 - I am 1/2 way through my shower when the AIM Air flight flies overhead to land and re-fuel in Doro... I throw on some clothes and run to the air strip.
10:10 - I, unfortunately, am the first one to inform the people from Kurmuk that their area had been bomed MOMENTS after the flight took them out.
10:15-11:15 - a lot of phone calls and plans being made on the airstrip and discussions of the Lord's provisions. SUCH AS: our mobile networks here in our area have been so patchy and unreliable lately... but for the past 12 hours every text message sent by our friends in Kurmuk to their offices in Nairobi went and was replied to with NO problems - it's hard describe what a miracle this is. Also, they literally were in the air no more than 10 minutes before the Antanov flew over Kurmuk.
11:20 - Plane is unloaded of luggages and the pilots (and our team mate Ryan) fly BACK to Yabus to pick up 2 more SIM missionaries who were not planning on coming out today. We took the rest of our 'visitors' back to the compound to hydrate and feed them a little bit of food.
12:10 - the Plane returns to Doro to pick up original passengers and carry them safely on to Loki and then Nairobi. When the plane re-landed, we were informed that TEN MINUTES after the plane left Yabus the FIRST TIME a plane had flown over and sprayed (bullets) the airstrip. Our pilots were in contact with their base through the whole flight and were only ONE MINUTE on the ground in Yabus, to collect our 2 remaining SIM missionaries, before taking off again.
12:30 - a text back to our office in Nairobi to let our praying team mates there know that all were safe and headed their way, Praise the Lord.
**only a 1/2 hour later HUGE thunder heads rolled into the Doro/Yabus area and unloaded... which would have meant that plane would have been GROUNDED if the timing had been any different**
Another thing we are thankful for, is that, b/c of a bad infection I've had in my leg this past week, I've been here in Doro rather then in Gasmalla as I usually am. My being here today allowed me to be the one communicating with Nairobi, organizing things for our unexpected visitors, etc... allowing Vicki, our other base leadership member to carry on with her special ministry to our local 'Traditional Birth Attendants' that had been planned for today - and would have been delayed otherwise, with Vicki doing all of the above things that I was able to do in stead. Also, only just yesterday did we get more credit put on our Thuraya (Satelite phone) that we have on our base in order to communicate with Nairobi in case of emergencies... had Vicki not noticed we were out and had our office staff not acted quickly to get us more yesterday before our office closed, we would not have been able to communicate with Nairobi during this whole ordeal.
With all this being said, and the evidence of the Lord's Goodness to us and in our circumstances here, we still recognize that for so many of the Sudanese people living in Damazine, Kurmuk, and Yabus the situation feels very different... No airlift is coming for them, they are hiding in the bushes with no belongings and are worried about their children and what has become of their homes. Somehow, the Lord is NO LESS GOOD in their situations, yet it is different. Please join us in the 'prayer battle' for these countries and for the lives of the Sudanese, and South Sudanese in these areas. Please also pray for our friends who are thankful for their safely yet having to deal with the guilt of being safe while people they love are hiding in the bushes... I have no wisdom to give them, no way of understanding even... but I do know "The Lord of hosts is WITH US, the God of Jacob is our STRONGHOLD".