Monday, October 6, 2014

Another way to pray: Bringing peace for Sudan

This past week has had a sobering note in the evenings, where I usually am cuddling up with a good book for a few minutes to dissolve some of the day's tension, a mzungu-sized, steaming mug of tea in my hand. The book this time is still riveting, and it's more than insightful. I'm reading a book about the Sudanese civil war, which has a history extending (to my surprise) a lot longer than my life. Considering so many of my students are Sudanese, this story of the Lost Boys is harrowing, sobering. It's hard to believe humanity has endured this, and inflicted this, on each other. I now look at my students with a renewed, compassionate curiosity. How much of this story is theirs? What true stories compose their past?


This past Thursday concluded what's become one of my most encouraging times at the refugee center: During the lunch break between my two Bible classes, it's been incredibly meaningful to conduct a training in peacemaking for the teachers. They have had so much insight and valuable discussion. This material never fails to amaze me in its ability to penetrate to our hearts, to the realities of what our hearts hold dear.

In fact, it keeps changing me each time I teach it. It's transformed my home, too. Our kids are different because of the principles we understand from the Word about conflict. When we're resolving a fight and I ask, "What are your choices here?", even the youngest can tell me he can "talk it out, get help, or overlook"--and that most likely, he's chosen to "attack" instead. He knows that in an argument, he has the chance to "glorify God, love others, and become more like Jesus." This amazes me.

The teachers from the refugee center have been tremendously responsive and even vulnerable. Watching God do this in our midst, and change our hearts like this, still stuns me. Even as I write, I shake my head in amazement.

It's leading to some other opportunities too, like training the refugee youth within the next couple of months.

And...this weekend, I've been very graciously invited to offer the training for a few hours at a conference of Sudanese women in Kampala. The theme: Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation. I am humbled that, particularly as I am just coming to understand the gravity of conflict in their past, God would use this material to continue His seeds of true peace for the Sudanese people.

Now, keep in mind that as my friend Scott says, if a mzungu walks into a surgery theatre and asks for the scalpel, it will most likely be handed over! So I am under no delusions of some great gifting bringing this about. But I do feel strongly that these truths have great power to penetrate people's souls. I want so much for these people for which my affection is blooming, and whose past is scarred with more violence, unrest, and loss than anything my mind can grasp.

If peace is to thrive in Sudan, it has to take root in the hearts of the Sudanese. It means creating a culture of true forgiveness and peace in homes and families. And there's only one Person who can make that happen. I long for God to take these "loaves and fish" and feed far more than I can see. Will you pray for my words and their hearts this weekend?


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