A road less traveled

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I can report that there is no improvement in the road to Bor. David mentioned today that there is more up and down motion while driving than there is forward motion and I would agree with that assessment. Any person contemplating coming here as a volunteer must have a healthy back that can take the ride. Today I have the distinct pleasure of introducing our “guest blogger” Shirlene. She will complete the day's entry and we shall see what is on her mind.

So it is me- the guest blogger. Somehow Paul convinced me that it would be a good idea. I will do my best but he is a tough act to follow!

As Paul said the ride to Bor yesterday was bumpy though bumpy is a very “kind” word for it. I really don't know how our vehicle stayed in one piece and got us back here. In addition to meeting with Pastor Stephen, Deng took us to the place where the first missionaries came to South Sudan in 1905 which is along the Nile River. We were able to take some pictures of some of us along the Nile. We were passing right by where Deng Jongkuch's mother and sister lived so we encouraged him to stop by and say hello to them. He found out that his sister had had a baby three weeks ago and this baby had died. In addition, her little boy who is about three had a large abscess on his jaw which needed to be treated so the two of them rode back to Werkok with us. Dr. Gai was able to drain it yet last night and today it already looks much better.

We arrived back on the compound about 5:30. It was an interesting but long, hot and tiring day for us who are trying to get used to the heat. Tom, Dave, and Paul went to the airfield to cut down more grass. It is going to take a lot of time and effort to get the airfield to where it needs to be for pilots to feel comfortable in landing. Gary spent time sharpening the tools to be used for cutting grass. It is hard enough to cut the grass so sharper tools might help a bit.

As I am writing today, our Sunday is already half over. We attended the Anglican Church here in Werkok this morning and had the wonderful opportunity to worship with our Dinka brothers and sisters. Though we could understand almost none of it, we were blessed to hear their singing, praying and reading the Scriptures. Many bring their own chairs to sit on or there are also several rows of earthen seats. Church was very full! We were made to feel very welcome by them. Our own David Bixel read from II Corinthians and made some remarks. Deng Jongkuch spoke to the congregation to ask for their help in clearing the airfield. He told them that we planned to be at the airstrip about 7 AM tomorrow morning and that he would like to see many come with their tools to help. He reminded them this is their airfield and if they want to see planes be able to land, it needed to be cleared.

Though there are so many things to be done yet and our time is quickly going by, we have decided that because this is Sunday we would make this a more restful day and do less work. We can also use a bit of rest I think! We spent some time in the afternoon discussing what we had accomplished and what we still hoped to accomplish.

Today is Monday and we all got up at the crack of dawn so we could be at the airstrip at 7. It was barely light when we loaded up all the grass cutting tools, rakes, and hoes that were on the compound along with water and headed out. At first it was our team and several of the MCH staff that began to work but gradually more and more began to come to help. It got hot very quickly but the people kept coming to work. When the work stopped around 10AM because of the heat, we had about 150 people that had come to help. It was so encouraging to us! It brought tears to my eyes to see so many of them and they just kept coming! In spite of the heat and hard physical labor they were laughing, having a good time with each other and singing songs in Dinka.