South Sudan Journey

I’ve been in South Sudan now for almost a week & have had the honor to travel to many different places, most of which I’d not be able to pronounce nor find on a map – it has all been a very wonderful experience. I’ve met some really great moms & seen some very fabulous babies, looking with Saving Moses for babies who have urgent needs & where the care is least available. South Sudan is an interesting place – it will celebrate its 2nd birthday next week, so in many respects, it is a baby country & it feels fresh from getting to travel around over the last week.
I’ve met beautiful people & seen some difficult situations but I feel hope in my heart for this nation because the people are wonderful. They’re kind, friendly, helpful, beautiful, generous, hospitable & very warm. They are very intelligent & have a confidence & hardiness to them after decades of conflict with their northern neighbors. I love getting to be with them, learn some of their language, culture, values, hopes & dreams. This is a wonderful country & I say, “happy early birthday South Sudan!” May you continue to develop, be strong & be great!
The attached pic is a burned down home from a rebel group who was causing some serious problems in a rural area. We visited this village today & learned that more than 100 people died here at the beginning of the month from the rebels

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South Sudan Journey

I’ve been in South Sudan now for almost a week & have had the honor to travel to many different places, most of which I’d not be able to pronounce nor find on a map – it has all been a very wonderful experience. I’ve met some really great moms & seen some very fabulous babies, looking with Saving Moses for babies who have urgent needs & where the care is least available. South Sudan is an interesting place – it will celebrate its 2nd birthday next week, so in many respects, it is a baby country & it feels fresh from getting to travel around over the last week.
I’ve met beautiful people & seen some difficult situations but I feel hope in my heart for this nation because the people are wonderful. They’re kind, friendly, helpful, beautiful, generous, hospitable & very warm. They are very intelligent & have a confidence & hardiness to them after decades of conflict with their northern neighbors. I love getting to be with them, learn some of their language, culture, values, hopes & dreams. This is a wonderful country & I say, “happy early birthday South Sudan!” May you continue to develop, be strong & be great!

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Lets take a walk

I like to take walks no matter what the season is because they can help me relax & kind of think through some things. The destination for the walk isn’t as important to me as the experience of just walking & enjoying being outside. With that being said, it’s important in our thinking to be mindful of how we are thinking & the things on which we are focusing. If we focus on hardship & struggles, such things tend to get magnified. If we keep our thoughts & focus on Jesus, who is walking with us everyday, then the hardships stay small in light of our loving Savior 🙂

selective hearing

When I was growing up, I had a 2nd family with whom I was really close & I noticed after some time, that the husband / dad had some hearing difficulties.  When I started to watch him more closely, I noticed that he could overhear “quiet” conversations in the next room, but would be oblivious to some conversations within his immediate hearing.  I thought this was really strange until someone pointed out that he had a hearing condition called “wife deafness.”  I had never heard of this condition & they explained to me that sometimes husbands or wives develop this impairment after several years of marriage – I got it, it was a joke, kind of ,)

While it was kind of funny to learn some of the quirky dynamics of my 2nd family, there’s some really good application that I use with this observation on a regular basis:  there are some voices & conversations that don’t need my attention nor do they help me to grow closer to God.  So some selective hearing is a good thing – like Jesus said in John 10, “My sheep know my voice & the voice of a stranger they won’t follow.” 😀

Listen, learn, lean

Listening is an interesting exercise – it requires us to be attentive, engaged & present with the person to whom we listen. It’s also an interesting thought to consider that we learn the best when we listen & not just talk.
In all of this, my most important focus is to listen to God, learn from God & lean into God. For me, I find that I lean & trust in God best when I’m learning from & listening to God. It’s also the converse for me that when I’m not listening to or learning from God, I find it more difficult to lean & trust in God. So lets be great learners, listeners & “leaners” 🙂

correction

I’ve been on both sides of this correction topic – receiving correction (Sarah, your performance is sub-standard and you’ll need to make significant improvements if you plan to continue in this role) and giving correction.  Neither position is very pleasant, but correction is very important and here are a few pointers:

  • if you’re receiving correction, be mindful to listen and not argue, deflect, make excuses or blame others.  If you receive the correction well and in a constructive way (regardless of how the person presents it), you can grow, learn, get stronger and be a better person.  If you receive correction poorly, you’ll probably have to go through the cycle again & it might be a more painful experience the next time around :/
  • if you’re giving correction, be mindful to deal with the behavior that needs to change without attacking the person and use several concrete examples of the wrong behavior.  It’s also necessary to be clear and firm, explaining to the recipient the preferred outcome or method for their actions.  Finally, be constructive and affirming, believing that the person can change.

There are heaps and heaps of wisdom in the Bible that pertain to correction, so please consider reading about the life of Eli in 1 Samuel 1-4 and also Hebrews 12, as starting points.  Let’s allow correction to be constructive in our lives 🙂

I want to be close

I like to be around my kids in all kinds of ways. I like to cuddle in bed with them when they’re waking up. I like to cook w them in the kitchen. I like to watch them play sports & perform. I like sitting & reading or watching basketball w them. I just like being around my kids & think that this is even more true in how God likes to be around us.
Maybe a reason that God is omni-present is because He likes to be around us so much 🙂
So here’s an interesting challenge: to flip the truth that God is always w us, let’s endeavor to be w God throughout each day – not just on Sundays or at church, but in the entirety of each day & in every place that we go. Just to be close to God.